PrintSmith featured at Sign and Digital UK

The Display and wide format market has been operating in a digital environment for longer than other parts of the digital print industry yet still has not shaken the notion of craft in the bulk of the market. As they migrate from other technologies, the cut sheet digital users have embraced new opportunities to streamline their business, a business that now has huge volumes of short run jobs with much complexity in finishing. These Software solutions are available to the wider digital industry and the crossover is easily possible.
 
Once a wide format user has added some complexity such as staff or an additional print device it is no longer viable to look at the bank account at the end of the month to see if the company is viable. Profitability and efficiency has to be transparent on a company wide level and not on a job by job basis. This is where MIS is invaluable, if not essential, in assisting to increase profitability, improve productivity and optimise your competitive capabilities. In your business, you need to make every moment, staff member and machine count. PrintSmith can help you achieve these goals through a complete set of money-saving, time-saving features that cover every aspect of managing your business, including the most flexible cost-plus pricing system on the market. Simple to use and sophisticated enough to handle all types of printed products and estimate history with win/loss ratio so you know which clients offer the best profit potential.
 
With PrintSmith, an MIS system specifically designed for the print industry and the system more printers rely on than any other print MIS in the world, comes a scalable and complete solution to replace manual and paper-based processes, capture and view key business information and manage business processes for wide format and display print companies with on-demand and digital environments.
Companies running PrintSmith find they are able to:
  • Attain greater visibility into business performance
  • Improve customer service
  • Increase billing accuracy and cash flow
  • Make informed decisions that improve their organisation’s profitability
Although several versions are available, from a Lite and Copy-shop version the Full System can automate your entire print shop, saving your company time and money on day-to-day management of business operations. The flexible, pricing/estimating tool gives you the power to create fast and accurate quotes for all printing services, products and merchandise. It’s fully integrated functionality also ensures that invoicing can be done accurately and quickly.
PrintSmith comes equipped with accounts receivable, customer lists, work-in-progress reports, automatic stock order functions, account history and ageing, point of sale management (including support for the optional cash drawer and receipt printer), valuable up-to-the-minute sales analysis, sales summaries, statements, management reports, mailing labels and mail merge.
Additional tools are also available to extend the reach with Modules are also available for offsite estimating for sales. PrintSmith Portable enables your outside sales force to take PrintSmith Estimator on the road. The complete solution operates as stand-alone estimating system or as a live workstation on a PrintSmith network. With PrintSmith Site, a high powered, low cost entry level web 2 print tool, your customers can also order when they want to, and where they want – from home, the office or on the road. Because of the powerful integration between PrintSmith and PrintSmith Site, it no longer matters whether the customer walks in, phones in, or orders via the Web, your familiar PrintSmith interface remains your environment for processing orders and jobs.

 
Since its introduction to the Graphic Arts industry in 1987, PrintSmith has continued to change the face of automated print shop management. Today, it remains the industry standard print shop management software due to its data integrity and superior quality. It is also one of the most flexible and easy-to-use business management programs available.
 
With a new Distributor for the UK, EFI will be exhibiting PrintSmith at Sign and Digital UK on the i-Sub Digital Solutions Stand (J12). Go along and see full demonstration and how it will help drive profit though your organisation along with a special introductory offer.
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Effective costing data from your MIS?

Pricing and profitability in PrintSmith

There are a number of things to consider when reviewing pricing and costing in PrintSmith (or any MIS). 

In order to begin costing jobs in PrintSmith you will need the following basic information:

  1. All paper costs (including LF rolls). Its advisable to delete any obsolete or unwanted stock before you start.
  2. Cost of Litho plates, inks, chemicals, toner/click charges and any other materials.
  3. A figure for the general overhead (cost of premises, power, non production staff costs, insurance, finance etc.).
  4. Individual production staff costs for each sales category.
  5. Lease or finance costs for production machinery, RIP or software charges.
That's the important information that you will need before you begin costing in PrintSmith. The notes below outline, as concisely as possible, the ways in which PrintSmith calculates prices and profitability. The length of the explanation makes it look a bit more complicated than it really is.

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. 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 results. 

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, profitability analysis in PrintSmith will malfunction. Reviewing and attributing costs to Charge definitions takes less time than you might imagine (providing that the costs are known). It is better to have an estimated cost in a Charge Definition than no cost at all, which will show as either 0% or 100% profit in PrintSmith.

Comparing the profitability of Litho against Digital in PrintSmith will only be possible if costing is consistent between the two. For consistent costing it is important that general overhead costs are apportioned correctly across the various production departments. PrintSmith’s ability to produce profitability reports by customer, business type, or sales rep is also affected by this. More importantly, correct costing is vital for the more advanced functions of PrintSmith, such as job scheduling, as they rely on accurate and consistent cost and time calculations. Addressing these 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.
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