by Dienamic MIS Software Inc.


Sunday, November 27, 2011


By Mark Porter
Samples are a necesary evil in the businesses of Print Finishing, Trade Binding and Die Making. Due to the three dimensional nature of the products these industries produce and peoples general inability to visualize the need for samples is large.

But do you collect revenue for these samples or do you know how much the production of Samples can cost you in any given year. It is vital that a business either collects revenues for all the goods and services it produces or at least is aware of costs that it should build into the overheads to ensure they are captured indirectly.

Our experience with members of these industries is that are neither collecting revenues for this service either directly by rebilling or indirectly by building these costs into overhead. Therefore samples is a direct drain on your profits.

You should open a job for each sample this will allow you to do several things.

1. You can have a unique numbering system for Sample Jobs as opposed to regular jobs so employees no they are working on a non rebillable job and will be more aware.

2. You can have information on the Job Ticket that is specific to a Sample. The information is not mixed in with other "regular" job information. Employees do not have to risk confussion or waste time hunting for sample information.

3. The information on the Job Ticket is specific to Samples and therefore jobs can be found and managed based on on that information. You can for example is how many times the file was resubmitted etc.

4. Track costs associated with the sample. Even if you are not going to rebill the customer it is important that you know how much each sample cost you to produce and more importantly how much sample making as a whole costs you each month and each year.

5. If you do rebill sample costs you can then track this through profitability because you have your costs from Job Costing and your Sales from Invoicing. Profit = Sales - Cost.

6. Track costs by customers. Track progress of Sample through Production.

7. Based on costs either work with customers that are incurring large portions of the expense or build your sample costs into your overheads to ensure you are recovering Sample making costs and not just watching your money go down the drain.
As we look for more and more ways to watch expenses and capture more sources of revenues - Samples can be an excellent place to start.

Thursday, October 27, 2011


By Mark Porter
We are seeing more and more software companies offering their products on a monthly basis as opposed to a purchase/license basis.
One of the reasons for this is that software systems can be a large investment. There is the cost of the software and sometimes hardware purchases as well. In todays economic environment coming up with a large outlay or borrowing of cash can be difficult and most companies in our industries have a very production equipment first oriented attitude.
By commiting to software on a monthly basis you can get the many benefits software can bring to your company without the large initial outlay of cash that may take away from other parts of your business.
By commiting on a monthly basis you get benefits that can contribute to a better managed and therefore more profitable business immediately rather than waiting until you can afford to make an outright purchase.
The money saved doesn't have to go to an information system now the money saved can go to other production enhancing investments
Some of the benefits you can realize immediately are:
1. Information that allows you to make better and faster decisions
2. Identify trends and patterns sooner so you can react more timely
3. Increased efficiencies so that more work can be done by less people and done in a more accurate method.
4. Better Communication between office, plant and customers. Better communications reduces errors, improves quality and increases production efficencies
5. Improved Customer Service because data is at your finger tips
6. More convenience for customers with features such as On line Inquiries that provide 24/7 access to their data. Strengthen the bond with your best customers
Paying monthly also allows you to see more immediate return on your investment. If you are paying say $400 per month for software you can very quickly justify that expense as opposed to $10-$15,000 upfront investment.
The downside is that over time you will pay more for your software but if the software continues to deliver the desired benefits then it doesn't really matter. If the software does not bring the benefits you were expecting it is easier to remove that software and try another.
Whether you pay monthly or make the purchase/license decision it is vital that your company gain the benefits that software can bring to it.

Thursday, September 29, 2011


By Mark Porter

As companies continue to look for ways to cut costs and become leaner it is more important than ever to have information at your finger tips.

With less staff to do the things that need to be done - any search for information or dcuments can take away from important production tasks and may result in costly mistakes or missed delivery dates.

If you can reduce the amount of time you spend answering the same questions for customers each day your productivity and savings would dramatically increase.

Having information at your finger tips is great but sometimes the customers questions require access to the original documents and paper work. At that point you must get up and find the actual job bag and hope the documents have been correctly filed.

With scanners today it can be quick and affordable to store original documents in your computers for future access.

Ideas of documents you may want in your system are

Quote Sent to the Customer

It is great to know the price you sent the customer but if the customer calls with questions you will want to be looking at the same document he is looking at when you answer his questions.

Customer Fax You Based Estimate On

We all get the hand written drawing faxed or emailed to us which we base our estimate on so it would be great if the drawing was electronically attached to the estimate file so it could be referenced easily when questions arise about the quote

Original Customer PO

Questions arise regarding the customers original specifications or requirements that can only be answered by the Purchase Order supplied to you by the customer. Allowing access to the original purchase order on the screen without having to find the physical job bag can save time and avoid mistakes

Signed Packing Slip

Customers always want to know when and how their job was shipped but often they need to know who signed for the job. When your driver returns from his deliveries the signed packing slips can be entered into the system for easy reference later on.

Other Images

As they say a picture is worth a 1000 words and therefore it can be very beneficial to include images of other parts of the Production Process.

Other images and files that you should consider for quick access are die images, finished product images and video documentation of problems and training material.

Access images from your CAD/CAM system or scanning images of the die into the system gives all employees access to the specific information they need to produce the job correctly.

Images of the finished product can help in the production of job.

Video of problems encountered in the past and video of ways to preventing the same mistakes can reduce costs and keep schedules on track.

Making Videos of difficult job setups or less used features of equipment immediately available to employees can save vital production time.

Therefore we can see that technology that allows us to add or scan images into our computers and allows employees to quickly find those images can help companies save time and money.

Tuesday, September 13, 2011


By Mark Porter

Well the summer is over and the fall is always a time to get re-energized. With the current news we are hearing it looks like there are more challanges waiting for businesses in the coming months.

Companies in the Print Finishing, Trade Binding and Die Making industries must continue to find ways to save money and increase revenue.

I think it is safe to say that software and computers are here to stay and they are an excellent way to achieve these goals.

Companies can get caught up in thinking they have to purchase a full MIS/ERP type system to see any benefits. Although full MIS/ERP systems can bring tremendous savings invidiual modules and programs can also provide tremendous benefit in reducing costs and/or increasing revenues.

Software such as gotomypc can give you access to your office computer 24/7 from any location you have access to the internet. The cost is approximately $20/month. How many trips do you have to save to the office each month to get a return on your initial investment.

Email blast software can allow you to reach your customers and potential customers very quickly. Software like this is often $20 or $30 per month. It does not have to generate many sales to provide an excellent ROI.

There are many Software APPs that can automate processes you require each day. Many apps are free or very low cost.

Individual Modules from full MIS/ERP systems can provide tremendous savings even if not fully integrated with the rest of the MIS/ERP system.

Customer Profile modules that captures the specific information for how each customer requires their jobs to be produced. Whether those jobs are Finishing, Binding or Die Making. The more informed your employees are the fewer mistakes they will make and that saves money.

Customer Profile $995 how many mistakes need to be avoided to return your investment.

Estimate History Programs can analyze estimates to see what type of work you are getting and losing. Track big desirable jobs to ensure you don't lose them for a stupid reason. 80% of revenue comes rom 20% of customers make sure your good customers aren't starting to look elsewhere.

Estimate History $995. How many large jobs do you need to win to return your investment

Order Entry programs can track changes to job after the job has been openned and can dat/time/employee and reason stamp the change to greatly increse your chances of collection legitimate extra charges.

Order Entry $1995. How many chargable extras do you need to collect to return your investment.

Purchasing modules can track POs, Receipts and Vendor Invoices. This provides and excellent cross check to ensure you only pay for what you have received and what you were quoted. How many wrongly billed items does it take to payback a purchasing system.

Purchasing $995. How many mistakes in Vendor Invoices do you have to catch to return your investment.

Receiving module for Customers dropping off Printed Goods. Emails notify you and your customer as soon as goods are delivered to your Shipping Dock.

Receiving Module $995. How many hours of lost production time because you were unaware goods were in your plant to you need to save to return your investment

Shipping programs that require a supervisor passwords to release the packing slip if the customer is on credit hold. Shipping Programs that allow you to put the Printers logo on your shipping documents that allow you to meet a tight deadline

Shipping $995. How many Jobs do you need to hold to return your investment

 Die Mgmt modules allow users who have a large inventory of dies in their plant the ability to find these dies is often a time consuming if not time wasting exercise.

The result is remaking dies that already exist and that wastes thousands and thousands of dollars and cuts into profits.

The condition of the die is monitored to ensure that we are aware of any retooling requirements. Automatic notification goes to the Die Shop foreman when a die needs attention.

We no longer have to lose valuable press time and risk late jobs because a die was not ready to be used at the beginning of a press run or a press......

Die Mgmt $995. How many dies do you need to avoid remaking and how much press down time do you need to save to return your investment.

Data Sharing allows you to account for every minute of every day and every material used in your plant. Accountability leads to greater productivity and less waste. Even a small 5% savings on $2,000,000 dollars of labor and material going through your plant results in a $100,000 savings. You also get productivity tracking, Chargable and Non Chargable hours and much more.

Data Sharing starts at $4995. How long will it tak you to return your investment

BHR modules calculate the true costs of your business. Now more then ever it is important to know your true costs. After all Profit = Sales - Cost. If you don't know your costs how do you know your profits.

BHR $1295. Knowing profitability on every job rather than year end can quickly return your investment.

When thinking software you don't have to think a full system to get tremendous benefits. Sometimes small investments bring Big Returns

Thursday, July 28, 2011


By Mark Porter

A large number of companies in the Print Finishing, Trade Bindery Die Making, Packaging and Diecutting Industries use steel rule, foil and embossing dies.

Any user of dies can save a tremendous amount of money by simply managing those dies correctly.

Generally users of dies have a large inventory of dies in their plant but the ability to find these dies is often a time consuming if not time wasting exercise.

The result is remaking dies that already exist and that wastes thousands and thousands of dollars and cuts into profits.

By providing systems with extensive searching and sorting provisions we can find if you have a die that will meet the customers needs. These sorts are not just on the die specs but on the finished product specs as well.

Images of the die and the finished product will allow you to quickly identify that you have the correct die.

By using a bar coding system, a location finder and computerized take out and put back process we can ensure dies are located where we expect them.

Once we find dies we can record all specifications about the press run to ensure we can quickly get the die up to speed on the next run.

The condition of the die is monitored to ensure that we are aware of any retooling requirements. Automatic notification goes to the Die Shop foreman when a die needs attention.

We no longer have to lose valuable press time and risk late jobs because a die was not ready to be used at the beginning of a press run or a press run has to be stopped during production to retool a die.

This can save thousands of dollars in lost press time and / or overtime charges to keep jobs on schedule. Not to mention risking your relationship with the customer by delivering the job late.

A good system also tracks the disposal of dies and automatically notifies your customer and your own employees if I die is destroyed or returned to customer.

Die Management can also track the components ie type of rule, punches wood etc including costs that make up that die and track all employees that assemble or maintain the die.

This can be a very easy way for any user of dies to see substantial savings in their operations.

Wednesday, June 29, 2011


By Mark Porter

In any business knowing your costs is important. After all isn't Profit = Sales - Costs. If you don't know your costs how do you know your profits. Sure at the end of the year you can say I made money or I lost money but if you control your costs and use your cost data to make better business decisions you may not lose any money or be able to say I made more money.

March's blog discussed the importance and ways to collect your cost data. Now we can look at what we can do with that data once you have it.

May's blog discussed the proper Job Closing routines and the type of reports you should generate when a job is complete.

The last in this series of Job Costing Blogs will deal with the value of the data you have collected. Information is a valuable asset and when you are collecting information on every minute spent by every employee and machine, every material used and every purchase made you have a great deal of information that can be analyzed to identify better, more efficient ways to run your company.

The type of reports you can generate with this type of information are:

1. Production Analysis

It is important that you ensure that makeready times and run speeds you achieve on the plant floor clearly reflect the data you use in your estimating process.

If you are estimating a piece of equipment at 5000 per hour but infact you are only achieving 4000 per hour on the shop floor you are losing money every time you win a job. Conversly if you are estimating at 4000 per hour and are actually achieving 5000 per hour on the shop floor you are losing jobs you could produce profitably.

2. Employee Analysis

Not all employees are equal and monitoring production results from an employee angle allow you to identify which employees may need more training.

3. Historical Information

Capturing all data about a job provides an excellent foundation for estimating and production in the event the job is re run in the future. This can provide your company with a competitive advantage as to where costs can be saved or allow you the knowledge to requote the job in a manner that will ensure you re coup all costs.

4. Time Analysis

By capturing every minute of time spent by each employee and each machine we can analyze that time to make decisions. For example examine how many hours each employee worked and what percentage of those hours were chargable time. If you have employees that work less then say 65% chargable time you may have to examine their role in the company.

A good job costing system will record the hours spent make-readying, running, cleaning up, repairing, maintaining or having no work for a machine. A machine with increasing repair and maintenance time may need to be replaced. A machine with large amounts of down time may be an asset that can be sold.

Job Costing not only allows you to analyze how a certain job ran at a specific time but also allows you to analyze all aspects of your business in a very historical way.

Tuesday, May 31, 2011


By Mark Porter

In any business knowing your costs is important. After all isn't Profit = Sales - Costs. If you don't know your costs how do you know your profits. Sure at the end of the year you can say I made money or I lost money but if you control your costs and use your cost data to make better business decisions you may not lose any money or be able to say I made more money.

March's blog discussed the importance and ways to collect your cost data. Now we can look at what we can do with that data once you have it.

Lets start with your Job Closing routine. When you complete a job do you simply pass the job to invoicing and have them bill the customer based on your estimated amount. If so you are probably missing valuable information.

Closing a job in an automated system should generate several useful reports and functions.

1. Close the Job to Prevent Additional Charges

When you decide to make the invoice the last thing you want is to have employees still incurring costs against the job. Trying to get a customer to pay additional charges after you sent them the original invoice is at the very least embarassing.

Part of your closing procedure should prevent additional time, materials and purchases being placed against a job without a supervisor OK once the billing process starts.

2. Full Listing of all Costs Incurred

The Job Closing process should generate a report that lists all labor hours and cost, material costs and purchases that went into producing that job.  Ensure you are aware of all money that went into the job. Your closing report should offer you the option to view the data by dept, cost center, operation or transaction level.

Generally these reports are viewed at a cost center level. This means we would see a Total Hours and Total Dollars for each machine used on the job. If we see a cost center that looks unusually high or low we can drill down to an operation level to see if it was the makeready or run. If we identify the source we can drill down to a transaction level to see which employees worked on this job.

3. Actual vs Estimate Report

This report provides a comparison of the estimated hours and costs for all labor, material and purchases for the specific job to the actual costs.

This is a valuable report that can quickly identify actual costs that are not in line with your estimated costs. This could prove to be a one time exception that nothing could prevent or maybe it is a process that needs to be evaluated. If you are estimating a machine to run at 5000 / hr and it is actually running at 4000/hr you are losing money every time you win a quote. Conversely if it is running at 5000/hr and you are quoting 4000/hr you are losing jobs you should be winning.

4. Changes Report

When a job is complete you should be able to get a listing of all changes made to the job from the time you agreed to produce the job to the final product that was shipped to the customer. It is important to track these changes as you will need them to explain time and cost variances and also to help correct legitimate extra charges. Collecting extra charges can be a great source of additional revenue and by having a complete backup of information about the extra charge i.e. who, what where, why and when a change was made allows you to collect that extra charge without damaging the relationship with that customer.

5. Problem History

Provide your employees with a problem history system they can use to enter problems with jobs as they happen. When closing a job a list of its problems can be viewed. These problems may help explain some of the variations and issues on the job. This saves the time of office staff to track down employees and ask what happened 2-3 days ago.

Problem history is also very valuable when quoting or running this job in the future.

By following good closing procedures you can ensure that all costs are captured, all legitimate extra charges are recovered, all production variances are accounted for and all processes are running as efficiently as possible.

A good Job Closing Routine Opens Doors to Profits.

Tuesday, April 26, 2011


By Mark Porter

This issue will take a break from Information Technology and Management Concepts and will promote a busy month for Trade Shows and Conferences directed at our specific industries of Print Finishing, Binderies, Diemakers and Diecutters.

Trade Shows are always a great way to get out and see what is new in equipment and technology as well as attend seminars and network with fellow industry members.


In May we have the IADD/FSEA Odyssey show in Nashville, TN from May 4th-6th. This is a trade show format with plenty of industry specific vendors demonstrating the latest products. Plus there are seminars and a Tech Shop portion of the show to see live demonstrations of equipment.

Dienamic will be participating at this event in booth 801 and would look forward to meeting members of the Print Finishing, Diemaking and Diecutting Industries to discuss any of the topics we have covered in our blog over the last couple of years or demonstrate any of our software products such as our Industry specific Estimating System, MIS/ERP System, On-line Customer Inquiry System or our Software Tools such as Die Mgmt and BHR programs or our new Foil Calc App.

If you would like more information on this event please contact Dienamic or the IADD or FSEA

BIA - Mid Management Conference

At the end of May the Binding Industries Association (BIA) will be hosting its Mid Management Conference in Orlando FL from May 23rd to 25th. The format of this event is a conference with different speakers covering a wide range of Industry Specific topics. The BIA also provides table top displays for vendors to display and provide information on new products and services available to the Bindery Industry in a much more casual atmosphere.

Dienamic will have a table top display and would be happy to discuss any of the topics covered in our blog or our industry specific software solutions. For more information contact Dienamic or BIA

Which ever show you attend Dienamic would be happy to demonstrate the importance of the concepts we have discussed such as

 Estimating and Selling are different functions

Profit = Sales - Cost if you don't know your costs how do you know your profits

Accountability on the Shop Floor can result in Big Profits

Customer profiling leads to Company profits

Doing more with Less

Focus leads to Greater Profitability

Profitability begins with quote

80% of Revenue comes from 20% of customers - lock those good customers in

Thursday, March 31, 2011


by Mark Porter

In any business knowing your costs is important. After all isn't Profit = Sales - Costs. If you don't know your costs how do you know your profits. Sure at the end of the year you can say I made money or I lost money but if you control your costs and use your cost data to make better business decisions you may not lose money and you may be able to say I made MORE money.

There are many benefits to a Job Costing System.

1. Capturing all costs incurred by a job for billing purposes
2. Analysis of Jobs to identify process or employee problems
3. Compare Estimate to Actual Values to ensure they are in sync
4. Production & Employee Analysis to ensure standards are met
5. Work In Process
6. Analyze time spent by all Employees and Machines
7. Payroll Benefits

Last and certainly not least ACCOUNTABILITY

I don't think it matters if you are the person sweeping the plant floors or the president of the company - if you have to account for every minute of your day and every material you use you will become more productive and less wasteful.

This can add up to tremendous savings. Lets say we get even a modest 5% increase in productivity and 5% decrease in waste. Extend that to the money that flows through your plant each year. On $2,000,000 dollars that is a $100,000 savings.

There are several methods to record time and materials in the plant and each method has different levels of accountability.

1. Employees simply writing their time on the back of the Job Bag provides little value either in costing the job or in accountability. The employee can simply place the time and materials he thinks you want to see. You have no way of knowng if the time he wrote down reflects the true time spent.

2. Employees manually writing out time sheets is a step closer because at least the employee has to account for his time within the structure of his day. But again if he knows he took way too long on a process he can factor it in over the course of a day.

3. Real Time Tracking is the most accurate and therefore profitable method. The employee simply enters that he is starting or finishing a process. the system keeps track of start and stop times in real time. The employee knows he can be held accountable for every minute of the day.
Real time tracking means that you can see the location of a job, the activity of a machine or the process an employee is doing at any time from any pc. Not only is the employee accountable for his time - it can be viewed at any time. 

And accurate time collection leads to other benefits such as accurate analysis of employee and machine time. Job Costing provides many benefits, which we will look at in future articles, but accountability is a huge benefit that leads to greater profits which good for you and the employees.

Monday, February 28, 2011


By Mark Porter

All companies have to purchase both materials and services in their day to day activities. The levels of those purchases can vary from industry to industry and from company to company. Certainly the industries of Print Finishing, Trade Binding and Diemaking are more labor based then material based but purchases must still be made.

These days anytime money leaves your company it is vital that you have accountability for that money and confirmation that you received the value you expected for the funds.

Purchase Orders should be generated for all purchases. This includes items for specific jobs, materials for inventory, any outside labor services and general office purchases such as supplies.

Issuing purchase orders whether written or verbal is the same as writing a check from your company to the vendor . Whether your company makes many purchases or only a few each one represents money leaving your company that should be controled.

A Purchasing System should record every purchase order issued. This provides accountability of who is issuing purchase orders and where they are being sent to. By making people accountable for the purchase orders they issue you will ensure they are more careful with the purchases they make.

When goods or services are received they should be matched up to the original purchase order to ensure that you have received the full order, more than was ordered or if items are still to be received.

When the Vendor Invoice is received it should be matched up to the original purchase order to check that the prices on the invoice match the prices that were approved on the purchase order.

The Vendor Invoice should also be matched up to the receipt of goods to ensure that the vendor is not billing you for more goods than you actually received.

Our industries are so job based it is often a good idea to take a step back and view purchases by vendor and employees issuing POs.

By ensuring your company follows these procedures you can tighten your financial control of another aspect of your business to ensure you are maximizing the success of your company.

Monday, January 24, 2011


By Mark Porter

Your business generates a great deal of information but often there are key pieces of information that you use to monitor the pulse of the company.

The Dashboard of a car is a great analogy. There are many things going on in the operation of the car but the main pieces of information Gas, Speed, Oil Pressure and Temperature can be monitored and adjusted to ensure you get to your planned destination.

Different members of your staff will have different information needs. The President may be concerned with one set of data while the Plant Manager may need to focus on different data to ensure that he can perform his tasks to maximum efficiency.

Information Technology Dashboards save you tremendous time by automatically compiling and displaying key information from different modules on one screen and refreshing that information in a timely manner.

You eliminate the need to consult with multiple people to get data or to have to access and combine information fromseveral reports.

Information is always upto date and your access to it is never dependant on the availability of other people.

Data can be accessed from anywhere via gotomypc or your smartphone.

Now at any momement you may see a breakdown of estimates that have been done by Job Type. This can predict how busy you will be in the near future. If all the estimates you have done are for work we typically don't get then we must generate more business.

Listing of Jobs Opened. If we have opened 10 jobs but they are all Perfect Bound jobs we may be in to a overload situation that must be dealt with.

Hours booked against key pieces of equipment like the Perfect Binder or Bobst press.

Jobs Invoiced and their profitability.

Each Manager is different in their information needs but the information they need to make the best business decisions should be at their finger tips.