Morning Flight Experimental


New MyWay Pricing


Posted: 17 May 2010

With the coding of user-defined presses nearly complete, here is a glimpse of the next project to roll out of the Morning Flight hangar: An entirely new press-based pricing model that will complement the product-centric approach of our standard pricing engine.

In a nutshell, where in the current product-based automatic mode you start with a product that then controls makeready, press speeds, and the type of paper you can use, in the new press-based manual mode you start by selecting the press, then enter specific amounts for imposition and RIP, press makeready and press speed. Those amounts can be entered with sliders or via direct entry fields.

The only restrictions on stock are that flat sheet jobs get printed on flat sheets, and envelopes on envelopes. Once the press parameters have been set, paper, inks, prepress, and postpress are entered the old-fashioned way.



I like the way you put all the press info together. The imposition and slider on the same page along with all the other info. Nice touch ... I always like the manual features.

. . . . .  jerryjfm

Wow! That user interface doesn't look like anything else in Morning Flight! I assume it's going to be either/or (product-based or press-based)? I can't imagine being able to do both at the same time.

. . . . .  Keith

Both pricing models will actually co-reside, Keith. Note the new "MyWay" button on the main menu. The window on the previous post comes up in place of the usual product pick list when you click the F2 button. Naturally, there's no Ctrl-F2 Custom Product button - in manual mode, everything is custom.

You will be able to mix product and press-based quotes and orders on estimates and invoices, the same way you can now mix printing quotes and merchandise.

One caveat: The new manual pricing mode won't be safe to use by Cousin Mel, even with far more liberal data validation turned on!

Using a digital SLR metaphor, when the camera is set on auto you can be sure to get a usable picture, often a very good picture, but it limits your creativity. Set on manual, the sky is the limit but the responsibility is all yours. The resulting image could be anything from two Dobermans in a coal cellar at midnight to a view of the Rochester skyline during a white-out.

. . . . .  Hal Heindel




Hal, your programs' awesomeness knows no bounds. As you know, Cousin Mel is not a problem at my shop, but if you don't tell him about the MyWay button, you should be OK. Unless maybe you got something cool up your sleeve like a lock-out when Mel signs in to MF?

. . . . .  Keith

Thanks, Keith. As for Cousin Mel, not to worry. Manual mode pricing will be restricted airspace for sure.

. . . . .  Hal Heindel

Hi Hal, can't wait for that download! Just a quick question. Since you are ripping things apart, is there a way MF could tell me my costs to produce the job? I don't know maybe this isn't what I want? I am in the process of preparing for an outside sales person. I hear a lot about sliding commission based on the mark-up on the job. In other words, if you make a 60% mark-up your commission is 8%. How would I get this kind of information out of MF, or is this even the best way to go about it?

Being a small business owner is so much fun, the hours and pay and lack of responsibilities are awesome!

. . . . .  Craig

Ain't that the truth, Craig. And you don't have to wait years to discover all the nice perks that come with being a print shop owner.

Basing your sales rep's commission on a mix of sales volume and profitability is absolutely the right approach - if you can pull it off. Your biggest challenge will be to convince the rep to try to close every sale on merit. Most will treat printing as a commodity where all that matters is the lowest price. If commissions are tied strictly to volume, that battle is lost before the first shot is fired. The irony is that every time the rep shaves the price to land an order, profitability for the shop suffers dramatically, while creating only a small dent in what the rep takes home in commissions.

Nearly as difficult as the behavioral aspect is determining how profitable each job was, after it's been accepted by the customer. That means finding out how much paper was wasted, whether it took longer to set up and run than what was budgeted, does part or all of the job have to be rerun, and so on.

Clearly, any analysis of profitability can only come after the fact (actually, after the job is paid for!). If you could count on everything always going according to plan, and your hourly rates are realistic, you could tell how much profit to expect even before each job is run. We all know it doesn't work that way. Not even for General Motors. Come to think of it, especially not for General Motors.

With merchandise and outsourced work, finding out how much money you made is simple: subtract the sales rep's compensation (along with other SAE and a proportionate share of overhead) from the difference between what you paid and what you sold it for.

Getting a profit picture for jobs done in-house isn't a whole lot more difficult, but takes more work. To some extend, the Morning Flight Engineer can help you with that. Namely, by keeping track of the paper used and the hours spent on production, then comparing it with what was budgeted. To be sure, the Engineer is a work in progress, but that's what's available today.

Hope you don't have big vacation plans for this summer! I know I don't.

. . . . .  Hal Heindel