In-Plant

Better Order Estimates, Higher Margin: Improving Order Estimates with Avanti® Slingshot Print MIS

Duncan Ellis | July 13, 2022

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An airline pilot uses a checklist and a flight plan to make sure each flight operates safely and runs as intended. But what would happen if a pilot took off without a checklist? It’s possible that the pilot and crew might still get everything right and the plane arrives safely at its destination—but it’s far from guaranteed. Because accurate, relevant information and documentation is one crucial element of avoiding catastrophic loss.

In the print world, order estimating is remarkably similar (minus the life-or-death consequences). You can do it by the seat of your pants, and you may even be right some of the time. But without a defined checklist—a flight plan of sorts—you could face disaster, too.

Unlike flying, it is unlikely that such a mistake will crash the business, but in an industry with thin profit margins, any mistake in an estimate threatens your bottom line and will probably make you miss your deadline.

Today I’ll show you how implementing a checklist—with Avanti Slingshot Print MIS—leads to stronger, more accurate order estimates, which in turn increases precision and improves profit margins.

Avanti Slingshot Print MIS Gives You Better Data for Order Estimating

Avanti Slingshot provides visibility to everyone who needs it throughout your entire workflow: from purchasing and production to planning and operations. Our print MIS minimizes the number of manual touchpoints, which greatly reduces the possibility of manual errors at nearly every step of your workflow.

What does this have to do with order estimating? Any error in the customer’s quote ends up costing you, so, in a very real way, a healthy portion of your profit margins hinges upon accurate estimating.

To estimate effectively, you need a quality input from the customer, one that provides complete and accurate information for the print job. Anything less than a decent makeready file, and your estimate is at best a ballpark guess. It may not accurately reflect the job costs.

Avanti Slingshot (often along with your web-to-print (W2P) system) pulls in accurate, complete orders, giving you the information you need to create accurate, near-ironclad order estimates.

Benefits of Avanti Slingshot for Order Estimating

Let’s look at four specific ways Avanti Slingshot can transform your order estimating workflow.

Cost savings on manual interventions

First, using Avanti Slingshot will drastically reduce the number of manual interventions on the shop floor (and elsewhere else in the workflow), resulting in real cost savings.

An industry study found that every manual intervention carries a cost of ~$10-to-$15. Add them up over the course of a year, and an average-sized printer juggling roughly 30 orders at a time that hasn’t modernized its software and workflows could lose up to an astounding $75,000 per year on manual interventions and errors!

For many printers, envisioning this cost and the savings they could achieve is hard to do. Manual interventions are just a part of life, they say, baked into the process that they are used to using. Sure, they come at a cost, but they’re already accounted for. With margins as thin as they are, how does making such a sizable software investment make sense?

We understand that perspective—and we’ve helped numerous printers move past it.

Yes, Avanti® Slingshot comes at a cost. But compared to a potential of up to ~$75,000 printers could be losing every single year? How can you afford not to make the switch?

Time and resource savings on order inputs

Accurate estimating relies on accurate inputs.

In addition to the cost reduction, commercial printers save significant time and resources on order inputs.

The average commercial printer inputs 30 orders per workday. In a manual workflow, that likely means an entire full-time resource (if not more) devoted to nothing but order input.

What if instead, you could let your automated systems do absolutely all of that work? You’d reduce manual errors, speed up the intake process, and free up your people to work on more meaningful, profitable tasks.

Imagine a scenario where there is no guesswork in your estimation process and your estimates are pretty much ironclad. With better estimates and cleaner, automated inputs, your job processing time—which is currently around five days—drops to merely 30 minutes. Now you’re free to drastically increase throughput (and profit)!

Reordering becomes nearly automatic

By whatever means your customers are ordering—traditional, digital offset, or print-on-demand—Avanti Slingshot makes reordering nearly automatic. Your customers use your template the first time, and when they come back to reorder, all the fields are already filled.

Not only is this convenient for your customer (and your staff), it also creates “sticky ordering.” You make it easy for your customers to come back to you, and you’re adding an obstacle to them switching to a competitor.

Centralized system manages the entire process

Avanti® Slingshot becomes the central nervous system of your print operation. No more chasing down emails or printouts and losing information. Everything resides in the core. Avanti Slingshot unifies your print team, provides a single source of truth, and will even begin to shift your company culture to one of efficient collaboration. Such short-term adjustments will beget lasting positive change that will impact morale and productivity well into the future.

Avanti Slingshot Solves Order Estimating Challenges

Avanti Slingshot is the missing piece to your order automation workflow. It’s the ideal order estimating solution and it will transform numerous other elements of your workflow.

Reach out to our team for a free workflow evaluation. Let us show you how many manual touchpoints our systems will eliminate.