Knowing Your Worth: Understanding Costs

We all are used to living on very slim margins in the print industry. That’s the reality of doing what we do, and why we all need to do systematic checks to ensure we’re maximizing every percentage point.

How many of us really understand – and factor it into our estimates – our overall costs? Are you charging what you should or settling for less at the expense of your profit margin?

Total print costs go way beyond the substrate.

Print estimating is a complex process that gathers specific job information along with the cost of materials, labor and equipment required to complete each print job. Every job has a unique set of people and processes that affect the overall cost of the deliverable. The reliability and accuracy of each quote requires a system that understands the ins and outs of company’s operations, then providing the margins the company would like to achieve.

Any MIS can prepare a simple quote. That ability should be a given for any system you implement. However, traditional estimating software may not consider all the processes that are reflected in your overall costs, including:

  • Direct Materials:
    Inventory incorporated into the final product such as varieties of paper, parchment, textiles, plastic, corrugate, flexible packaging, bindery and finishing materials.
  • Indirect Materials:
    Materials not incorporated into the final product but consumed during the production process including the rags, light bulbs and chemicals typically found in a manufacturing factory.
  • Direct labor:
    Wages and benefits for full-time, part-time, and contracted employees involved in the finished product.
  • Indirect labor:
    The wages and benefits for those employees not directly involved in the production of the finished goods such as security guards, shift supervisors and quality assurance workers.
  • Other manufacturing costs:
    The cost of print factory utilities including electricity, water plus delivery charges including courier and shipping

At printIQ, simplified doesn’t mean basic. Our quoting process considers the entire end-to-end production process then adds a layer of control so that those with little or no experience can produce a detailed quote while ensuring that they can only quote what you can produce. The quote is then linked to the file upload, job bag and all production, inventory, and shipping details.

Estimating is the bedrock of your print business. If your quotes are wildly inaccurate, you risk burning through your already stretched resources and will lose money. As there is rarely one way to produce a job, being able to map out all possible alternatives for the job to be able to pass through the print factory in the most efficient manner that maximizes your resources and profitability is key.

If you’re looking for a comprehensive estimating tool that provides alternatives in a simplified offering, let’s talk.

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