"Product" part of a Quote
Posted: 01 Feb 2006 04:11 pm
Simple question (and hopefully not a stupid one): what is the Product part of a quote? There is a section for Paper, Printing, Ink Colors, Prepress, Postpress and Packaging so I don't understand what the cost is that's associated with the "Product". Thanks for your help!
. . . . . Patti
Joined: 02 Nov 2005 Posts: 3
Simple question, yes, but far from stupid, and because Products are at the heart of the Morning Flight architecture, deserving of a clear answer. To clear up some confusion going into this: the "Printing" section on the Quote Window describes how a job is printed (1/1, 4/1, 2/0, etc.).
In Morning Flight, a Product is a container that holds all the run properties of a print job. Here is where you specify the finished size, press sheet size, type of plate used, amount of ink coverage, time to make ready, time to print, and type of packaging. Product costs, in Morning Flight terms, are all the costs associated with actually printing a job. Take a black and white Data Sheet. No Ink Colors, no Prepress, no Postpress. The price of that Data Sheet would be made up of Paper Costs (including spoilage and markup), and Product Costs (film, plate, makeready, run cost, and packaging).
To get a better feel for how Morning Flight breaks the total cost of a print job into its component parts, work up a Quote for a 2-color Catalog Sheet with Prepress (composition, scans, proofs) and Postpress (folding), but don't save it. Now click on each of the left panels when the cursor changes to a camera. That will show you not only how the prices are arrived at, but also what's included in each component.
For instance, you'll note that the Ink Color price is made up of washup and mixing costs. Those remain static regardless of quantity. There is another ink charge that's part of the Product: the cost of the amount of ink used. That cost, by necessity, varies not only with the quantity, but also with ink coverage, a property of the Product.
Another charge that may show up as part of the Product is Finishing. If you print a Catalog Sheet 2-up, the customer would probably question it if you charged for cutting. That type of cutting charge could be considered an inherent part of the Product, so it's included there.
What each Product controls indirectly, if at all, is what press the job will be run on. That's primarily based on ink configuration (1-, 2-, or 4-colors). Only when the press sheet size is too large for one press will Morning Flight choose another. In the end, a Product is merely a convenient way to tell Morning Flight how to deal with the job on the press.
. . . . . Hal Heindel
Thanks for responding so quickly Hal! Wow, Morning Flight is so much more complex, and all-inclusive, than initially meets the eye! Really impressive!
I have been involved in the print industry for about 20 years, but only a year or so of that time has been in estimating/pricing. I recently accepted a position as General Manager of a start-up copy/print business. Seeing so many new businesses like this go belly up due to prices that are too high, or too low, I know pricing is a key part to the success of the business. (However, it is my believe, from experience, that great customer service is an even bigger factor.)
I like that your program is set up with national averages. That, in conjunction with checking out local pricing, gets me off to a great start in setting prices for our company. Thank you for Morning Flight AND your super customer service!
. . . . . Patti
Thank you, Patti, for those high marks! You're right, there is more to Morning Flight than meets the eye. Just how much more will become apparent when printers can post a Morning Flight "Electric Price List" on their web site. Not just a data base of pre-calculated prices with interpolation for intermediate quantities, but a wizard-driven, price-it-yourself mini version of Morning Flight designed specifically for printing buyers.
Most of the 260,000+ lines of code that drive Morning Flight are devoted to automation. Maybe the easiest way to explain our design philosophy is to use an analogy, by what happens inside a digital camera. Not much to see or do on the outside, but a ton of complex circuitry inside. As George Eastman, founder of Kodak and one of Rochester's better known natives, used to tell his customers: "You press the button, we do the rest."
It's when that button is clicked that the computer inside the camera does the heavy lifting by going through literally thousands of calculations to give the user the best picture (based on how much light there is, where that light is coming from, its color temperature, the distance of the main subject to the camera, how steady the camera is being held and whether the image itself is static, and myriad other factors).
I fully agree with you that of the four primary factors that drive printing sales (price, advertising, service, quality), price usually ranks lowest. I say usually because for commodities such as copies and purchases done via the internet, price is often what clinches the order. But even on the internet, superior customer service can make the difference. That's why our Electric Price List will do far more than just enable printing buyers to price jobs 24/7.
By balancing MF pricing with what your local market will bear you're using the program exactly as it was intended. Best of luck in your new position.
. . . . . Hal Heindel