Intelligent estimating and scheduling – the key to greater productivity and profit in commercial print

For a competitive advantage in commercial print, you are always looking for new ways to adapt and improve estimating and scheduling – but in a complex industry, where do you begin?

Finding the most efficient way to run your print business isn’t easy. It’s a complex business made up of many variable parts and processes. Orders can come in all shapes and sizes, varying greatly in terms of size and intricacy. Making it difficult to charge jobs accurately and manages their estimating and scheduling into an effective print production process and deliver on time.

To transform estimating and scheduling into something beneficial. Therefore, you need an information-based digital software process. Once established, this digital information enables a more streamlined intake and management process for estimating and scheduling.

Ultimately, the end goal is automation software. A solution that optimises capacity, prioritises urgent tasks and maximises the jobs you get out on time. Subsequently giving you a clear view of what’s happening in your business at any time or stage in the production process.

The value of digital data

Data is a useful resource when evaluating any aspect of your commercial print business. But it’s especially critical in terms of productivity on your print line.

The challenge for many organisations is that their view is restricted to individual components of a disconnected, manual workflow that provides limited useful data. What you need is a clear end-to-end digital process. Providing a clear and deep data overview. One that helps you enhance your estimating and scheduling, but also visualises your entire business activity. Seeing every stage and process, enabling you to identify problems and implement quick solutions quickly.

The value of accurate data for estimating and scheduling

Once your commercial print organisation has obtained this information, you can easily see how long jobs are taking, where bottlenecks are occurring – perhaps urgent small jobs stuck behind a less-urgent large job. In turn, you can use this knowledge to improve production and gauge more accurately what you need to allow for estimating and scheduling.

This increased accuracy in estimating and scheduling is crucial to business success. Not only will you avoid underbidding and directly losing money, but you’ll also avoid overbidding and losing potential work to competitors.

It also means you can optimise your scheduling, getting the full value out of your capacity.

The value of automation

Following data, automation software is the next critical ambition for any successful commercial print business today. It takes time-intensive manual tasks, such as estimating and scheduling, out of your hands. Turning them into efficient processes that improve your business’ workflow. Therefore allowing your people to focus on more important and profitable jobs such as customer relations.

After all, you don’t want to spend longer manually estimating and scheduling smaller orders than it actually takes to run them. Or, worse still, longer than you can realistically charge for them.

The best solutions allow you to automate the workflow where possible. You can’t really automate everything Enabling a smarter business operation and the opportunity to continually hone and finesse your schedule to meet shifting deadlines and resources.

The value of Ricoh Print MIS

One of the best management information and automation solutions available today is Ricoh Print MIS. Our cloud-based solution boasts rich capabilities and has a strong reputation as a collaborative and personalised partner that works with you to meet your exact needs.

With a Ricoh MIS module, you can quickly create consistent quotes from established templates. The Estimating module includes:

  • Prepress and finishing estimation capabilities
  • Quotes for all types of printing including small format (offset, digital), direct mail, grand/large format, and fulfilment
  • Support for customer-specific pricing
  • Contract and price list pricing
  • Fast access to standard products and product kits

If manual estimating and scheduling is a concern – we can help you.

Take the first step towards transforming your commercial print business into a streamlined, automated operation today. If you would like to speak with a specialist, please feel free to get in touch.


Jason Naylor

Senior Software Sales Specialist at Ricoh UK