A new Rochester Institute of Technology study reveals the primary and costly limitations that are dramatically hampering estimating cycle times for many of today’s print service provider businesses and identifies the desired features of modern estimating systems.
Despite the industry consolidation that has taken place over the last decade, the RIT study revealed that there remain a wide variety of commercial and “home grown” estimating systems available for print service providers to use, Bondy observed. Additionally, while vendors involved in print production focused on automation and made distinct advancements in mobility and compatibility with standards, estimating systems did not receive the same industry attention, according to Bondy.
Print service providers participating in the study, for example, spent an average of two hours and 10 minutes in administration of estimates, including job planning, on every order, Bondy reported.
“Taking too long to provide a quote defeats the purpose of streamlining the rest of the workflow,” he said. “It also jeopardizes the business itself because a service provider that can quote faster will likely win the job.”
“Estimating systems that are designed to support a more streamlined workforce will be the most effective,” Bondy wrote in the study’s executive summary. “Service providers are looking for an ‘agile’ approach to estimating and order entry that deploys Business Development (“hunters”) and Project Managers versus the labor intensive model of Sales (“farmer”), CSRs, Estimators, and Planners.”