Eliminating costly errors - 2.

PrintSmith Deep No. 10. Eliminating costly errors - 2.

Another way of reducing the incidence of production errors is to instruct your staff to always construct an estimate as if they were writing a job ticket. To make this easier, you can include job charges automatically by attaching them to press and copier definitions, and attaching numbering, for example, to NCR stocks.

Using PrintSmith site is a way of channeling your customers orders directly onto your workflow. The latest version is much more user friendly than previous versions. A small investment is required, to but it remains competitively priced compared to other on-line ordering systems, and it is the only one that integrates directly into PrintSmith.

If you have a digital colour production machine, you may already be using an EFI Fiery controller that will accept JDF digital job tickets from PrintSmith. Ask me for more information on this if it interests you.
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Eliminating costly errors - 1.

PrintSmith Deep No. 9. Eliminating costly errors - 1.

How can you reduce production errors by automating more of the process without making a large investment in new equipment?

Any print MIS system should have the facility to create job templates. PrintSmith, for example, will save any estimate or invoice as an invoice template, or any job as a job template. Using job templates in PrintSmith will enable you to incorporate all the required charges and job notes into the template whilst leaving you the freedom to edit any aspect of the job. This will help to drive consistency through the workflow, thereby reducing mistakes and omissions. Older versions of PrintSmith required you to manually copy any template created to all the other workstations. The current version (8.1.x) is able to save any template to the shared templates folder on the PS master. I have noticed that very few centres use templates effectively, but those that do, derive significant benefit from them.

Whatever MIS system you are using, It’s only as good as the information it contains. Time spent to ensure that your stock prices, press, copier and charge definitions are correct and up to date is never wasted, invariably seems to be a low priority. The traditional lull in business in the summer holiday season is a great time to do this.

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The significance of the cost of the jobs you produce

PrintSmith Deep No. 8. The significance of the cost of the jobs you produce.

It’s not difficult to find and report fairly precise job costings in PrintSmith, as long as it is correctly set up and maintained.

PrintSmith uses four main pricing methods. They are:
  1. Internal cost plus mark-up, used for (litho) Press Definitions.
  2. External cost plus mark-up, used for outside services.
  3. Internal cost v. matrix price, used for digital prices.
  4. Internal/external cost v. set price, used for charge definitions.

The internal cost plus mark-up method, as used for Press Definitions depends upon setting an hourly cost labour rate the use of which is governed by speed and waste tables. So not only does the labour rate need to be as accurate as possible but the waste and especially the speed table need to reproduce the actual production situation. Press labour rates should really be recalculated on an annual basis. I am not aware of any work having been done with speed tables since PrintSmith was originally installed. Information on press speed tables is available from press manufacturers and the BPIF, but recording your own press speed data over, perhaps two months, will give better quality data.
The external cost plus mark-up definitions include external full colour, external print, external digital and merchandise. These are extremely straightforward as they are always based on a quoted price from a supplier, plus mark-up.

The internal cost v. matrix price method, as used for Copier Definitions is considerably easier to set up and control as unlike a cost plus mark-up definition (where altering the cost labour rate will alter the price) cost and prices are entered separately on to the system. Prices are entered via a matrix, which is independent of the costing calculation. Digital costing data becomes important when starting to use the “Work in Progress” report for production management. Costs are entered via a series of fields, which include the number of hours the machine is available for production, it’s speed, monthly payment, monthly burden rate (overhead), percentage of available time in use and individual costs per copy. From these figures the Copier Definition then calculates the ‘Machine cost per copy’, which includes an amortisation of the overheads if they are included.

Internal cost v. set price, as used in charge definitions. Charge definitions in PrintSmith include all Pre-press and Finishing charges. If Charge definitions have not had costs attributed to them, it will cause profitability analysis in PrintSmith to malfunction. Reviewing and attributing costs to Charge definitions takes about one working day (providing that the costs are known). It is better to have an estimated cost in a Charge Definition than if there is no cost at all, which will cause PrintSmith to display either 0% or 100% profit.

PrintSmith’s ability to produce profitability reports by customer, business type, or sales rep, can crucially inform your business decisions. More importantly, this will form a foundation for new and future developments in PrintSmith, such as job scheduling, by providing accurate and consistent cost and time calculations. Addressing your costing issues now will assist in improving the ROI in PrintSmith. Please contact me if you require any further information. I would be more than happy to demonstrate how costing in PrintSmith works.

Please contact me on 0121 288 5355
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