Seven obstacles to fast, accurate estimates

seven-obstaclesAt Specialties, we understand how important it is for you to receive your estimate as quickly as possible. The following is a listing of frequent problems our estimators run into when estimating, which hinders our ability to produce fast and accurate quotes.

The most common reasons for delay or inaccuracy in bindery estimates are as follows:

7. Request for estimating doesn’t specify shipping information.

Problem: Should the estimator include shipping cost in the quote? If so, shipping to where? And by what method? If by a Specialties’ truck, does the destination have a loading dock? And so on…

Result: To get these questions answered will take call-backs, and, therefore, delays in completing the estimate.

6. Request for an estimate on foil stamping or embossing doesn’t specify the dimensions of the area(s) to be stamped or embossed.

Problem: The estimator can’t calculate the cost of the required die or, in the case of foil stamping, the amount of foil needed.

Result: A delayed estimate.

5. Customer requests an estimate on a job totaling 120 pages, and specifies six 16-page signatures and one eight-page signature.

Problem: This adds up to 104 pages. So which is it – 120 or 104?

Result: Either a delay while the specs are clarified, or an estimate that is either too high or too low.

4. Customer is furnishing folded signatures and specifies the final trim size. Unless otherwise instructed, we will assume that “normal” trims will be required in the finishing operation.

Problem: In fact, the job requires three inches of foot trim and two inches of face trim to make final size.

Out inline trimmers can’t handle this amount, so offline trimming is required.

Result: More delays to clarify the specs, or a job that can’t be done for the estimated price.

3. A faxed request for an estimate doesn’t provide complete folding specs.

Problem: The job can’t be accurately estimated.

Result: The customer – who was in enough of a hurry to fax the request for an estimate – won’t get the estimate until callbacks clarify the folding specs.

2. Request for an estimate on a mechanical binding job does not specify caliper of PPI (pages per inch) of paper.

Problem: Bulking thickness of the paper will affect both the cost of punching and the size of the wire, comb or coil needed. There are critical bulk ranges for various pitches of wire. If you say the book is about a half-inch, we’ll figure 5/8 inch wire, which is two to one pitch (two holes to each inch of spine length). The maximum machine speed of this size wire is, 1500 books per hour. If, in fact, the bulk is (or could be) reduced to 7/16 inches, then we could use 9/16 inch wire, three to one pitch, and the maximum machine speed would be 3000 per hour. So, bulk is very important, and telling us the accurate bulk will save us from guessing.

Result: By quoting the larger bulk, you lose a competitive edge.

1. Request for an estimate doesn’t specify which forms will be printed sheetwise or work-and-turn.

Problem: If it’s work-and-turn, the job can’t be folded, film laminated, foil stamped, UV coated, etc. without being cut first.

Result: If the estimator assumed work-and-turn, and it is in fact sheetwise, our quoted price will be higher than necessary.