Workflows may be automated, but getting quotes on jobs can take so long that new and even existing customers may take their work elsewhere to meet their tight deadlines. Print service providers are interested in fast turnaround on customer quotations with the ability to easily handle any iterations with the client while the job specifications are being finalized. Printers are also looking for an “agile” approach to estimating and order entry that deploys Business Development (“hunters”) and project managers versus the labour-intensive model of sales (“farmer”), CSR’s, estimators and planners. Also, estimating systems should also be optimized for two specific types of quotations: standard job estimates, and more complex ones.
Regarding the latter, estimating systems should be expandable to accommodate workflow barriers associated with complex print jobs that include multiple components. Improvements in the request, management and integration of third-party estimates that are included in the quotation process is ultimately the key, said the study. Far too much time continues to be consumed with administrative tasks. In fact, print service providers averaged 2 hours and 10 minutes per order on administrative tasks associated with job planning!
These are just some of the major findings in a new report on estimating systems, released by the Rochester Institute of Technology (RIT) School of Media Sciences. Gannett Distinguished Professor Chris Bondy and Media Arts and Technology student Wesley Odell identified and reviewed a variety of estimating systems, and interviewed print service provider participants representing various positions in their respective companies. Positions ranged from estimating and operations, to company leadership. For a complete copy of the research report, please go to http://printinthemix.com – the RIT Cross-Media Innovation Center Industry Portal.