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Making the move to MIS – the Quote and Print way

Monday, 25 September 2006
By Print 21 Online Article

Making the move to providing internet communication with your customer base can be one of the most fundamental shifts in a company’s strategy. Dave Bell, founder of Quote and Print, canvasses some of the reasons why you should do it now.

I was having a discussion with one of our distributors last week and he posed the question, “What are some of the main business arguments for printers to provide internet services to their customers, such as QPONLINE – Quote & PrintÕs internet interface.”

We spent a few hours discussing whether it was more advantageous for a printer to install QPONLINE in order to meet existing customers’ growing needs and attract new customers or should he wait until his customers asked for it?

There is no easy answer to this question but what became apparent in the course of our discussion is that as an industry we need a better way of evaluating MIS software on a cost benefit basis. The same applies to any other software, for that matter, to see whether it should be purchased or not and if so what modules should be used.

Only then comes the question of which vendor to buy from – but that is another story.

In other industries the most common way to look at purchasing an asset is to gauge the economic benefit it will deliver and how long it takes to get your return on investment. Alternatively, what is the economic disadvantage if you don’t make the purchase?

The two main areas of consideration are:

  • Will my company save money by becoming more efficient?
  • Will the new product allow my company to increase sales?
  • Here is a simple formula that will help you arrive at a decision. First it is necessary to calculate the efficiency savings and the amount of sales you can reasonably expect from integrating the new asset into your production.

    Once you have got some figures to back up these two areas you can then calculate the cost savings per annum as well as the extra profit made from the increase in sales per annum. You then add the two together and multiply by two. If the resulting value is greater that the cost of the proposed asset then that is the green light to go ahead and purchase it.

    The problem is that while it is easy to quantify the cost savings if your company is a larger business e.g. if a product will save you two staff members for instance, what if you are running a small business. You know that the savings are there but you can’t realize them e.g. the saving might be half a member of staff!

    For small or medium size businesses there is another way of looking at this. What would be the benefit of the purchase on your quality of life. That saving of half a staff member probably represents the extra four hours you stay back each night. In this case the benefits might be:

  • Go home earlier
  • Less stress at work particularly at end of month time
  • Better control over your business
  • Happier employees.
  • Can you put a dollar value on these?

    For many small business owners there is an innate feeling for the opportunity to increase sales. Often the limiting factor is a lack of resources to generate more business from existing customers. What needs to be quantified here is how much more revenue can be generated by freeing up a member of staff to concentrate on contacting the customer base, rather than on internal procedures. If you had another salesperson for four hours a day, how would that impact?

    Giving your customers the ability to get in touch with you over the internet is the equivalent of having at least one extra sales person. This is what comes from having more control over your business. It gives you the room to move, to work on your business and not always in it.

    The decision to purchase an asset such as QPONLINE has very little downside. It is the element that will improve your business in terms of revenue and efficiency.

    To put it in perspective, the purchase price and maintenance charges of a MIS system like Quote & Print is roughly comparable to the cost of purchasing and running a new car. The big plus is that unlike a car you don’t have to replace your MIS software every three to five years – and it will make you money!

    This article was brought to you by Quote & Print

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