Could Your MIS Estimating Tool Save You Money? Yes, Here’s How

Kevin Shaw | December 9, 2021

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Estimating a print job is tricky business. Not only must you have a firm grasp of the materials, equipment and staffing the project will require, but you need to predict what price will satisfy the customer and still make you a bit of profit. It’s both an art and a science.

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Fortunately, the print MIS has made estimating far less of a gamble by providing tools and templates that guide estimators through the process. The best MIS estimating modules even map out solutions that can save you – and your customer – money. Here are three of our favorites found in the Avanti Slingshot® print MIS:

  1. Ganging feature – The more items you fit on a sheet, the less paper you must use. That can be a fairly quick calculation if all the jobs are the same size, but what if they differ? Slingshot offers a ganging feature that makes that calculation for you in a matter of minutes. Simply input the sizes of the jobs and quantities of each and the system figures out the most efficient way to pack the items to maximize efficiency and minimize waste. It will then distribute costs accordingly on the estimate. 

Ganging in Slingshot is possible whether you use litho, large format sheets or large format rolls. This same functionality can work for production ganging as well, packing jobs for multiple clients onto one sheet. But ganging during the estimate stage allows you to work those cost savings into the estimate to provide a more competitive price for your customer.

  1. Partial sheets – This feature of Slingshot, which was enhanced in 2021, enables estimators to determine costs on grand format printing based on partial sheets rather than defaulting to full sheets. The user enters a desired sheet utilization percentage and the system automatically calculates whether the job will exceed the threshold or fall beneath it. Anything beneath the threshold counts as a partial sheet. Charging for partial sheets allows the estimator to offer a lower, more competitive bid and, potentially, save your shop money if you can use the unused portion of the sheet for another job. That’s helpful for paper printing, but even more so if your substrate is an expensive material, such as aluminum.
  1. Outsourcing assistance – Not every shop has the same capabilities or strengths. That means sometimes it makes sense to outsource a portion of a project to meet timelines or budget restrictions. For instance, you might purchase envelopes from a vendor instead of creating them in-house. Or you may decide to handle the printing but outsource the binding and fulfillment. 

Slingshot’s estimating tool helps you manage outsourcing tasks with ease and quickly collect the information you need to add those costs to the estimate. With only a few clicks, you can email the vendor right from the estimating dashboard and then view and save the response as an attachment in the system, without it being visible to the customer. As soon as the customer accepts the estimate, the system automatically creates and deploys a purchase order to the vendor to get the job moving expediently.

With a powerful and agile estimating tool like the one in Avanti Slingshot, you’ll have access to numerous functions like these that help you maximize efficiencies in every area of the shop. Find out more helpful applications of a modern MIS estimating module in our ebook, “Estimating’s Special Sauce: How the right estimating tool can enhance every area of your workflow – and your bottom line.” 

You can also determine how well your current MIS is meeting your needs through a free workflow evaluation. Reach out to schedule one today.