by Dienamic MIS Software Inc.

1-800-461-8114
www.dienamicmis.com/





Wednesday, January 31, 2018

ADVANTAGES OF ESTIMATING SYSTEMS - ADD UP THE NUMBERS

By Mark Porter
 
If you were questioning the speed of the quoting process in our industry, satisfying customers quoting needs and dealing with competitors that provide pricing that cannibalizes the industry.

In this blog we will deal with the time aspect of quoting.

We will save the concept that estimating and selling are 2 different functions for another issue.
 
Unless you are the guy that just gives prices off the top of his/her head we will all spend time quoting but how much time and how much benefit you provide your customers and yourself from that process can vary tremendously

Part of this problem is that 7 or 8 out of every 10 estimates we do we don't get. I am sure nobody would be complaining if every estimate turned into an order. So if we have to do this necessary evil why not minimize the time and maximize the benefit you receive while providing a solid, educated quote that maximizes your chance of getting the job and allows you to analyze your business.

The act of doing an estimate involves much more then just getting a number to the customer and should provide more benefit to your company then just getting a 20% job conversion.

You can maximize your estimating process by:

Having information at your fingertips speeds the estimating process by finding old quotes, past history etc. Software with built in logic and calculations allows you more time to find the best way to run the job rather than crunching numbers, therefore giving you a greater chance to win the job. Information from the estimate saves time when you win the job because the estimate can be turned into an order, packing slip, invoice and hours can be used for scheduling. Analyzing estimates allows you to track valuable quotes and to prioritize your estimating time by customer, job types etc.

The following our some suggestions:
 



Estimate Searching


- Finding Previous Estimates is much quicker using an Estimate History feature with many search capabilities
- You can attach the original diagram sent to you that you based the estimate on in the history and you can attach the letter sent to the customer into the estimate history so all documentation is at your finger tips
- dramatically reduces searching and telephone tag time
- Simply pick the customer it brings in contacts, address, telephone, fax information immediately no need to look up
- requoting a previous job - quickly access problem history to see if you need to adjust estimate from last time it ran or if you using job costing quickly access costs last time you ran the job



Estimate Options


- Estimating Software allows you to estimate the customers Options very quickly because you can be doing them all at once
If customer wants to compare 5,000 / 10,000 / 15,000 you can do this all at the same time or if he wants to compare 5,0000 / 10,000 on 8pt stock and 5,000 / 10,000 on 12 pt stock they call all be done in one estimate with the software doing it automatically


Eliminate Crunching Numbers Aspect


- Spend time looking at best ways to run the job to increase chances of getting the job rather than pounding on a calculator
- Build in common material so automatic calculations of things such as foil, laminate, uv, dies, mounting board and glue etc. are done as soon as you put in the specs
 


Not Just Crunching Numbers but also building in logic

- Software doesn't just crunch numbers it allows you to build your knowledge into the system. This not only saves time but also provides more consistency in your pricing which is beneficial to you and your customer
-This can allow you to download some of the simpler quotes to other people and frees time up for the serious and desirable quotes


Estimate Variations

- Finding Previous Estimates is much quicker using the Estimate History feature with many search capabilities
- Doing requotes is much quicker as the estimate is simply retrieved, changes made to existing estimate and resaved with an A,B,C variation
- Also be used for contract pricing
- Also if estimate comes from ABC Printer we know we will see it from DEF Printer and GHI Printer. Use original ABC Printer quote to quickly adjust for other printers doing the same job

Generate Additional Paperwork Automatically

- Automatically converts numbers of Estimate into a professional letter than can be printed/Faxed/Emailed directly to customer stating services and materials you are providing for the price quoted with your company terms and letterhead
- If Estimate becomes a job the software will convert the estimate into the format of the job ticket saving time there as well

Prioritize Customers

- Estimate History allows you to analyze customers as to won/loss ratios don't waste time doing a quote for a customer that uses you as a third price or at least do his quote after the good customers

Follow Up Estimates

- You spend so much time doing estimates make sure you follow up desirable estimates - Estimate History can track estimates of large quantities or high sales values so you don't lose them for a stupid reason like (customer doesn't think you provide a service in house or maybe your quote fell off his desk and your not even being considered)

Analyze Estimates with Estimate History
 

- Get benefit from the time you spend doing estimates by analyzing the data For example

- Won/Loss Ratios by Customer, Types of Work, Estimators ie track the customers and type of work you do best at or find out why your not getting certain work, identify potential new and desirable customers
- 80/20 Rule - 80% of revenue comes from 20% of customers track that their estimate level stays consistent or grows if there is a dip in their activity find out why and solve problem before it is too late

- Measure the number of estimates and type of estimates you do each day We all have a won/loss ratio if we are not doing the numbers and types of quotes that will keep business in the shop we have to adjust
- No recent estimates - that best source of new business is people you have dealt with in the past. Generate a report of any customer that has not done business with you in the last say 3 months

- Track and follow up desirable quotes as mentioned above

I hope this provides some help in saving time quoting and/or maximizing the benefit you can receive for the time you do spend quoting.
 





Thursday, October 26, 2017

DIE MGMT - LOCK UP BIG SAVINGS

By Mark Porter

A large number of companies in the Print Finishing, Trade Bindery Die Making, Packaging and Diecutting Industries use steel rule, foil and embossing dies.


Any user of dies can save a tremendous amount of money by simply managing those dies correctly.

Generally users of dies have a large inventory of dies in their plant but the ability to find these dies is often a time consuming if not time wasting exercise.

The result is remaking dies that already exist and that wastes thousands and thousands of dollars and cuts into profits.

By providing systems with extensive searching and sorting provisions we can find if you have a die that will meet the customers needs. These sorts are not just on the die specs but on the finished product specs as well.

Images of the die and the finished product will allow you to quickly identify that you have the correct die.

By using a bar coding system, a location finder and computerized take out and put back process we can ensure dies are located where we expect them.

Once we find dies we can record all specifications about the press run to ensure we can quickly get the die up to speed on the next run.

The condition of the die is monitored to ensure that we are aware of any retooling requirements. Automatic notification goes to the Die Shop foreman when a die needs attention.

We no longer have to lose valuable press time and risk late jobs because a die was not ready to be used at the beginning of a press run or a press run has to be stopped during production to retool a die.

This can save thousands of dollars in lost press time and / or overtime charges to keep jobs on schedule. Not to mention risking your relationship with the customer by delivering the job late.

A good system also tracks the disposal of dies and automatically notifies your customer and your own employees if I die is destroyed or returned to customer.

Die Management can also track the components ie type of rule, punches wood etc including costs that make up that die and track all employees that assemble or maintain the die.

This can be a very easy way for any user of dies to see substantial savings in their operations.

Thursday, September 28, 2017

JOB COSTING = VALUABLE BUSINESS INFORMATION

By Mark Porter


In any business knowing your costs is important. After all isn't Profit = Sales - Costs. If you don't know your costs how do you know your profits. Sure at the end of the year you can say I made money or I lost money but if you control your costs and use your cost data to make better business decisions you may not lose any money or be able to say I made more money.

Previous blogs discussed the importance and ways to collect your cost data. Now we can look at what we can do with that data once you have it.

Last months blog discussed the proper Job Closing routines and the type of reports you should generate when a job is complete.

The last in this series of Job Costing Blogs will deal with the value of the data you have collected. Information is a valuable asset and when you are collecting information on every minute spent by every employee and machine, every material used and every purchase made you have a great deal of information that can be analyzed to identify better, more efficient ways to run your company.

The type of reports you can generate with this type of information are:

1. Job Analysis


At the end of each job you get a complete break down of all costs labor, material, purchases and inventory that went against that job. You can compare the actual costs and hours to the estimated costs and hours to see how your plant performed. If there are costs that can be rebilled to the customer you can capture more revenue. If there are differences in the estimate and actual these difference can be analyzed as to whether they were one off differences or systematic changes that need to be addressed


2. Production Analysis


It is important that you ensure that makeready times and run speeds you achieve on the plant floor clearly reflect the data you use in your estimating process.

If you are estimating a piece of equipment at 5000 per hour but infact you are only achieving 4000 per hour on the shop floor you are losing money every time you win a job. Conversly if you are estimating at 4000 per hour and are actually achieving 5000 per hour on the shop floor you are losing jobs you could produce profitably.


3. Employee Analysis

Not all employees are equal and monitoring production results from an employee angle allow you to identify which employees may need more training.

4. Historical Information


Capturing all data about a job provides an excellent foundation for estimating and production in the event the job is re run in the future. This can provide your company with a competitive advantage as to where costs can be saved or allow you the knowledge to requote the job in a manner that will ensure you re coup all costs.

5. Time Analysis


By capturing every minute of time spent by each employee and each machine we can analyze that time to make decisions. For example examine how many hours each employee worked and what percentage of those hours were chargable time. If you have employees that work less then say 65% chargable time you may have to examine their role in the company.

A good job costing system will record the hours spent make-readying, running, cleaning up, repairing, maintaining or having no work for a machine. A machine with increasing repair and maintenance time may need to be replaced. A machine with large amounts of down time may be an asset that can be sold.

Job Costing not only allows you to analyze how a certain job ran at a specific time but also allows you to analyze all aspects of your business in a very historical way.


Tuesday, August 29, 2017

OPEN DOORS TO PROFIT WITH PROPER JOB CLOSING ROUTINES

After successfully implementing the Dienamic Estimating, MIS and Online Inquiry Software System in over 100 Finishers/Binderies/Diemakers Dienamic can bring your company results on how to

Increase Sales

Increase Quality

Increase Profitability

Increase Customer Loyalty

By Mark Porter


In any business knowing your costs is important. After all isn't Profit = Sales - Costs. If you don't know your costs how do you know your profits. Sure at the end of the year you can say I made money or I lost money but if you control your costs and use your cost data to make better business decisions you may not lose any money or be able to say I made more money.

In a previous blog we discussed the importance and ways to collect your cost data. Now we can look at what we can do with that data once you have it.

Lets start with your Job Closing routine. When you complete a job do you simply pass the job to invoicing and have them bill the customer based on your estimated amount. If so you are probably missing valuable information.

Closing a job in an automated system should generate several useful reports and functions.

1. Close the Job to Prevent Additional Charges

When you decide to make the invoice the last thing you want is to have employees still incurring costs against the job. Trying to get a customer to pay additional charges after you sent them the original invoice is at the very least embarassing.

Part of your closing procedure should prevent additional time, materials and purchases being placed against a job without a supervisor OK once the billing process starts.


2. Full Listing of all Costs Incurred


The Job Closing process should generate a report that lists all labor hours and cost, material costs and purchases that went into producing that job.  Ensure you are aware of all money that went into the job. Your closing report should offer you the option to view the data by dept, cost center, operation or transaction level.

Generally these reports are viewed at a cost center level. This means we would see a Total Hours and Total Dollars for each machine used on the job. If we see a cost center that looks unusually high or low we can drill down to an operation level to see if it was the makeready or run. If we identify the source we can drill down to a transaction level to see which employees worked on this job.

3. Actual vs Estimate Report

This report provides a comparison of the estimated hours and costs for all labor, material and purchases for the specific job to the actual costs.

This is a valuable report that can quickly identify actual costs that are not in line with your estimated costs. This could prove to be a one time exception that nothing could prevent or maybe it is a process that needs to be evaluated. If you are estimating a machine to run at 5000 / hr and it is actually running at 4000/hr you are losing money every time you win a quote. Conversely if it is running at 5000/hr and you are quoting 4000/hr you are losing jobs you should be winning.

4. Changes Report

When a job is complete you should be able to get a listing of all changes made to the job from the time you agreed to produce the job to the final product that was shipped to the customer. It is important to track these changes as you will need them to explain time and cost variances and also to help correct legitimate extra charges. Collecting extra charges can be a great source of additional revenue and by having a complete backup of information about the extra charge i.e. who, what where, why and when a change was made allows you to collect that extra charge without damaging the relationship with that customer.

5. Problem History

Provide your employees with a problem history system they can use to enter problems with jobs as they happen. When closing a job a list of its problems can be viewed. These problems may help explain some of the variations and issues on the job. This saves the time of office staff to track down employees and ask what happened 2-3 days ago.

Problem history is also very valuable when quoting or running this job in the future.

By following good closing procedures you can ensure that all costs are captured, all legitimate extra charges are recovered, all production variances are accounted for and all processes are running as efficiently as possible.

A good Job Closing Routine Opens Doors to Profits.

Thursday, July 27, 2017

BIOMETRICS - New Technology to Better Manage Your Biggest Cost - Labor

After successfully implementing the Dienamic Estimating, MIS and Online Inquiry Software System in over 100 Finishers/Binderies/Diemakers Dienamic can bring your company results on how to



Increase Sales

Increase Quality

Increase Profitability

Increase Customer Loyalty

By Mark Porter
Last months newsletter discussed achieving accountability on the shop floor to ensure you are aware of all costs you incur in the plant Shop Floor Data Collection ensures that people are accountable for every minute they are in the plant and every material that they use.
After all Profit = Sales - Costs
If you don't know your costs how do you know your profits
Technology can also allow you to better manage who is on the shop floor. To ensure a company is getting the maximum productivity out of their labor they have to ensure that employees are actually on the floor.

With simple punch card systems it is too easy for friends to clock each other in and out when in fact one person may not be on the premises.
This results not only in the wasted dollars of say paying someone for 2 hours @ $20 per hour but also results in the lost productivity on the press for 2 hours  that you are selling at $125 per hour.
Managing this type of activity gets much tougher once you start running 2nd and 3rd shifts.
Biometrics use an employee's fingerprint to activate the time card system for clocking in, starting lunch, finishing lunch and clocking out.
Requiring a person's finger to clock in ensures that you are paying employees for actually doing work for you and you are running at the efficiencies that you expect and base your cost structure on.
The Biometric Time clock can be used in conjunction with the data sharing as an employee cannot record time against a job if he has not clocked in for the day or as a standalone payroll system.
As a standalone payroll system it will stop buddy punching but it will also provide a log of everyone that punched in immediately after a shifts starts so you are immediately aware of staff shortages for the day and it can provide a direct link to payroll services such as Paychex Payroll Services to eliminate rekeying and calculating payroll.

Labor is by far the biggest cost our customers incur. By managing the employees attendance through Biometrics and demanding accountability of their time and materials while they are in the plant you can take control of your biggest cost. Even small percentage savings on labor can be substantial
5% on $2,000,000 is $100,000 savings

Thursday, June 29, 2017

Thursday June 29th, 2017

ACCOUNTABILITY ON SHOP FLOOR LEADS TO PROFITABILITY IN OFFICE


After successfully implementing the Dienamic Estimating, MIS and Online Inquiry Software System in over 100 Finishers/Binderies/Diemakers Dienamic can bring your company results on how to


Increase Sales

Increase Quality

Increase Profitability

Increase Customer Loyalty

  By Mark Porter
In any business knowing your costs is important. After all isn't Profit = Sales - Costs. If you don't know your costs how do you know your profits. Sure at the end of the year you can say I made money or I lost money but if you control your costs and use your cost data to make better business decisions you may not lose money and you may be able to say I made MORE money.


There are many benefits to a Job Costing System.

1. Capturing all costs incurred by a job for billing purposes
2. Analysis of Jobs to identify process or employee problems
3. Compare Estimate to Actual Values to ensure they are in sync
4. Production & Employee Analysis to ensure standards are met
5. Work In Process
6. Analyze time spent by all Employees and Machines
7. Payroll Benefits * New Finger Print Scanning and integration to Paychex

Last and certainly not least ACCOUNTABILITY - We will look at this aspect in our Blog


I don't think it matters if you are the person sweeping the plant floor or the president of the company - if you have to account for every minute of your day and every material you use you will become more productive and less wasteful.


This can add up to tremendous savings. Lets say we get even a modest 5% increase in productivity and 5% decrease in waste. Extend that to the money that flows through your plant each year. On $2,000,000 dollars that is a $100,000 savings.


There are several methods to record time and materials in the plant and each method has different levels of accountability.


1. Employees simply writing their time on the back of the Job Bag provides little value either in costing the job or in accountability. The employee can simply place the time and materials he thinks you want to see. You have no way of knowng if the time he wrote down reflects the true time spent.


2. Employees manually writing out time sheets is a step closer because at least the employee has to account for his time within the structure of his day. But again if he knows he took way too long on a process he can factor it in over the course of a day.


3. Real Time Tracking is the most accurate and therefore profitable method. The employee simply enters that he is starting or finishing a process. the system keeps track of start and stop times in real time. The employee knows he can be held accountable for every minute of the day.

Real time tracking means that you can see the location of a job, the activity of a machine or the process an employee is doing at any time from any pc. Not only is the employee accountable for his time - it can be viewed at any time. 

And accurate time collection leads to other benefits such as accurate analysis of employee and machine time. Job Costing provides many benefits, which we will look at in future articles, but accountability is a huge benefit that leads to greater profits which is good for you and the employees.


Thursday, May 25, 2017

PURCHASING ANOTHER PIECE OF THE PROFIT PUZZLE


After successfully implementing the Dienamic Estimating, MIS and Online Inquiry Software System in over 100 Finishers/Binderies/Diemakers Dienamic can bring your company results on how to

Increase Sales
Increase Quality

Increase Profitability
Increase Customer Loyalty

By Mark Porter

All companies have to purchase both materials and services in their day to day activities. The levels of those purchases can vary from industry to industry and from company to company. Certainly the industries of Print Finishing, Trade Binding and Diemaking are more labor based then material based but purchases must still be made.

These days anytime money leaves your company it is vital that you have accountability for that money and confirmation that you received the value you expected for the funds.

Purchase Orders should be generated for all purchases. This includes items for specific jobs, materials for inventory, any outside labor services and general office purchases such as supplies.

Issuing purchase orders whether written or verbal is the same as writing a check from your company to the vendor . Whether your company makes many purchases or only a few each one represents money leaving your company that should be controlled.

A Purchasing System should record every purchase order issued. This provides accountability of who is issuing purchase orders and where they are being sent to. By making people accountable for the purchase orders they issue you will ensure they are more careful with the purchases they make.

When goods or services are received they should be matched up to the original purchase order to ensure that you have received the full order, more than was ordered or if items are still to be received.

When the Vendor Invoice is received it should be matched up to the original purchase order to check that the prices on the invoice match the prices that were approved on the purchase order.

The Vendor Invoice should also be matched up to the receipt of goods to ensure that the vendor is not billing you for more goods than you actually received.

Our industries are so job based it is often a good idea to take a step back and view purchases by vendor and employees issuing POs.

By ensuring your company follows these procedures you can tighten your financial control of another aspect of your business to ensure you are maximizing the success of your company.