Print Estimating: Resisting the Race to the Bottom

Paul Bromley, head of sales EMEA, printIQ
Tuesday, June 1, 2021

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

printIQ is offering a leaner and more dynamic cloud-based approach to managing print
printIQ is offering a leaner and more dynamic cloud-based approach to managing print

To be able to fulfill each job to the customer’s satisfaction and to do it profitably is the cornerstone of your business, yet the print estimating or quoting process often remains a struggle.

Margins are notoriously low, and the competitive landscape can be difficult to navigate as things evolve so quickly. In order to secure more business, printers may feel the urge to ‘just say yes’ and under-price their work with the thought that they will make it up in volume. This is risky, and rarely yields a good outcome.

Simply because by not fairly or adequately pricing your work, you risk becoming an unwilling participant in damaging the already fragile margins all printers are working with.

Offset and hybrid is still a big force in the market, but as the world continues to adopt the ever-evolving digital transformation, the ability to estimate accurately is more important than ever. Runs are shorter, print-on-demand is a reality, and the job turnaround times are tighter.

Leaving the most important part of your business profitability to chance or hope is not a legitimate strategy, especially when there are tools that will aggregate the information you need and provide the visibility required in order to correctly quote your jobs, with a built-in understanding of where exactly your break-even point is.

A Management Workflow System (MWS) is one of those key tools.

Before any print job goes into production, a full review of the end-to-end project should be done, from onboarding to fulfillment, in order to understand what is required to deliver. Your capabilities, inventory and capacity planning all factor into the equation.

The printIQ core – Quote Intelligence module takes a different approach than the traditional print estimating software offered, by understanding and respecting the end-to-end production process. The result is a simplified pricing tool that everyone can use.

At printIQ simplified doesn’t mean basic

The printIQ estimating process integrates all the business rules within the pricing logic engine, along with all the pricing rules based on your component inputs: labour, machines and materials, then provides a map of all alternative outcomes of each job. The completed quote is linked to the file upload, job bag and all production, inventory, and shipping details.

An extra layer of control is added so that even those with little to no experience can produce a detailed customer quote on what you are able to deliver with an eye on profitability and capability.

As a cloud based MWS, printIQ has taken this ability to quote efficiently to the point where sales staff or even customers can complete their own quotes online.

Estimating is the bedrock of your print business. There is rarely just one way to produce a job, so being able to map out all possible alternatives for the job to pass through the factory, in the most efficient manner that maximizes your resources and profitability, is key.

The printIQ core allows a job to be estimated across every press and sheet size combination.


printIQ Core works at the centre of a automated workflow ecosystem

Jobs can be priced based on input (labour, machine and materials), a catalogue, or using specified contract pricing per customer. The occasional loss-leader is inevitable, but it’s absolutely critical to know why and when you’re doing them. With printIQ you always know how profitable your work is.

In closing, the current Covid-19 economic environment has pushed the boundaries between traditional and digital print businesses. The ability to use market driven pricing for your sell price, while still maintaining actual costs, has become critical.

Our advice on how to quote your work fairly and correctly, without racing to the bottom of your profitability, is to investigate the role of your current MIS in producing accurate cost-effective estimations. Then make sure that you’re catering for the entire workflow, from start to finish. Make sure that you can manage the order, from the first quote, through production, to shipping, tracking, and the final invoice.

Discover how to streamline estimation in your printing business with a management workflow system designed by printing industry experts for the printing industry, download our quick-read brochures: printIQ core, printIQ next level, Why printIQ.

And then let’s talk.

printIQ – Far more than just an MIS!

For more information contact: Paul Bromley, head of sales EMEA paulb@printiq.com

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