The Accura Job Costing module allows you to analyse actual job costs, profitability, shop floor efficiency, accuracy of your estimates, control final invoicing prices, and provides real-time job tracking.
Why use Job Costing?
Without an effective Job Costing system most companies rely on their monthly accounts to indicate if they are making profits.
Unfortunately accounts software rarely indicates where the profit or loss was made. On which jobs? In what department? By which operators? It cannot highlight potential production problems. In short – it gives you too little, too late!
The Estimating module gives you an estimate of your profits based on the costs you have told the system to charge. But how do you know this is correct?
To accurately monitor job costs, production time, material costs and outwork prices need to be entered into the system. Material and outwork costs can be entered manually for accuracy, or automatically created by the system when Purchase Orders are raised to save time.
Production time can either be input from paper-based timesheets or collected in real time using our optional Remote Data Capture (RDC) software. Using this software not only saves you time inputting the data, but provides live job tracking information as to where the job is in the production cycle at any time.
The Invoice Approval wizard is a step by step management reviewing tool to analyse the costs accrued for the job, compare actual with estimated figures, control additional charges to appear on the invoice, and finally, fix the invoicing price for the order. Production problems with each job are instantly highlighted.
User-definable analysis cost centres can be created from any or all elements of the Accura tables: materials, labour, outwork, machines and even staff members.
Reporting and Analysis
Job Costing provides a wealth of reporting and analyses features, including:
Work in progress
Detailed cost analysis of each job
Value added by client, rep, or type of work
Profit summary by client, rep, or type of work
Estimate to actual costs variances
User-definable cost centre analysis
Cost analysis of individual staff members or departments
Labour, materials and outwork analysis by job, staff member or supplier
The Accura Purchase Ordering module enables you to raise purchase orders for materials, outwork, or sundries, which you can print, fax or email direct to your suppliers.
Accura Purchase Ordering integrates fully with Job Costing to update outwork costs of jobs as orders or invoices are entered, and with Stock Control to record materials as they are received.
Why Bother with Purchase Orders?
Some companies do not raise purchase orders at all - probably because this is tedious to do manually. In these cases you rely on verbal agreement, most of the time this can work fine!
In today’s fast-moving environment with short lead times, ‘just-in-time’ ordering, and profits being squeezed - getting the right goods, delivered on time, at the agreed price is paramount.
Inevitably without a formal purchase ordering system, errors, discrepancies, omissions, damaged goods, or pricing disputes creep in. And it always happens when you need the goods in a hurry for that rush job!
You can also record your supplier Purchase Invoices against your purchase orders. Any discrepancies will be visually ‘flagged’ so you can spot if you have been overcharged! This information can then be exported to a compatible accounts package such as Sage Line 50 or Pegasus Opera to save data re-entry.
History and Reports
Fully searchable purchase order and invoice histories indicate the status of each order, e.g. Pending, Delivered, Invoiced etc. Purchase order histories can also be viewed directly from Supplier and Order windows. Reporting facilities allow you to analyse purchase orders by job, supplier or status.
What does this module provide?
Create unlimited resources
Use different working hours by resource
Shows gantt, day, week or month views
Visually see each process as a “time-block”
“Auto-plan” job processes for rough lay-down
Print daily, weekly or work-to-list reports
Updates in real-time from data-capture points
Now you can plan each stage of the workflow by resource-type individually, see where conflicts might occur, measure where there is capacity available.
Gantt-view (shown above) provides the best way to see time-blocks to-scale against a timeline, thus conflicts and spare capacity is easier to spot.
In Gantt view you can zoom-in or out to change the scale of the timeline from 15 minutes up to several hours.
Day-view shows planned events for the currently selected date only. It is like the view you would typically see in electronic diaries such as Microsoft Outlook.
In this view resources are across the top of the calendar, and times down the side.
The orders list below is used to select an order, and processes to be planned. These can be dragged onto the schedule into a spare time- slot.
In working-week view (Monday-to-Friday) this is similar to day view, but this time lists a 5-day week for each resource.
This provides more of a “helicopter view” (zoomed out), so that you can see an overview of your capacity and commitments.
The “auto-plan” feature will automatically scan the estimated processes within the order, and using the order delivery date provide a rough “lay-down” of the events to meet this date; taking account of conflicts and working hours as it goes.
The lay-down can then be modified manually by the production planner.
The auto-plan can work forwards (from a commencement date), or backwards (from the latest completion date) depending on the job requirements.
If the auto-plan is unsuccessful or only partially successful a warning is displayed and you have the option to cancel the plan and rollback, or continue part-planned with the operator planning the rest and manipulating the schedule manually.
Resource filtering is accessed from the side toolbox. This enables you to toggle on/off specific resources that will appear on the schedule. It is useful when you only want to view one or more departments (or resources) and not the whole schedule.
If you have a large number of resources the screen can become crowded, this provides an easy way to focus on just what you need and works best in Day and Working-week views.
The scheduler provides a set of three different report-styles.
These includes a Daily planner (like you would find in Outlook or another PIM).
A weekly planner - which looks very much like the on-screen working-week view.
A Work-to-report - which typically lists by resource and/or operator and list of scheduled events in date/time order.
Resources & sets
You can create an unlimited number of resources for each department.
For each resource you assign the processes that you wish to schedule. Once this is setup Accura will determine which orders require scheduling and which don’t based on the estimated labour tasks.
You can also create “resource sets” - this is where you don;t wish each individual task to be separated by instead want them grouped together as one.
For example: You might create a resource set for a press make ready, print-run, and wash up - so that in the schedule they are represented as one time-block not three.
Each resource is assigned to a default “shift-pattern”, which sets out the working hours for that resource. You can deviate from the shift pattern if you wish at scheduling time.
The theme-selector let’s you choose from a range of styles, which then “skins” the scheduler for you to suit your taste.
What are the benefits to my business?
The scheduling module allows more finite planning of the entire job cycle.
Enables you to answer (with confidence) the question: “Can I have my job by xxxx?”
Maximizes utilisation of resources
Gives a visual planning board to replace manual “T-card” systems
Shows real-time tracking & delays (updated instantly)
Improves customer service
Works seamlessly with Remote-Data-Capture module.
Scheduling is available as an add-on module, which is then unlocked for all Core module user license holders. It is also available in read-only mode for RDC operators.
The Accura Production module is the basis of the Accura workflow. Once you have created an order, you can generate deliveries, proofs, acknowledgements and invoices from this order, and you can control and monitor the order at each stage of its production. Orders also provide the basis for the optional modules including: Purchase Ordering, Job Costing and Stock Control.
The basic workflow in Accura is as follows. All stages are optional except for raising orders:
Raising an estimate
Raising an order
Printing the job bag & works instructions
Sending an Acknowledgement letter to the client
Raising a proof for the order
Acting on the client’s response to your proof
Delivering the order to the client
Sending a sales invoice to your client
Exporting your sales invoice data to your accounts package
Orders can be raised from estimates, from previous orders (e.g. reprint work) or manually. If an order is raised from a previous order or an estimate, then no re-keying of data is necessary. Orders have additional areas where you can enter works-specific instructions, delivery information and client reference numbers.
Manual orders use the same tables as estimates, so you can build up all the labour, materials and outwork required directly in the order and Accura will calculate the selling price. This is ideal for simple orders such as stock and stationary issues, repro or finishing only etc, where an estimate is overkill or is not required.
Several documents can be produced directly from the order: the job bag lists works instructions, printing information and outwork information. The work sheet lists every item of labour, materials and outwork on the job, and the order acknowledgement prints, faxes or emails a letter to send to the client accepting their order. T-card labels can be printed for use with manual scheduling boards.
Full proofing facilities generate proof notes from orders within a few mouse clicks, which can be printed, faxed or emailed to the customer along with a PDF or similar image file. Orders are placed ‘on hold’ until the proof has been accepted by the customer. The studio manager (who may not use Accura) can be emailed automatically by the system with the customers’ responses and instructions relating to each proof.
Completion and Delivery
Orders can be marked as completed, or delivery notes and parcel labels raised. Multiple deliveries can be handled for multiple addresses.
Sales invoices are generated quickly and easily from orders and printed, faxed or emailed. An invoice can consist of one or more jobs, and sundry information. Itemised invoices can be produced listing every element of work carried out on the order. Additional chargeable costs can be recorded to the job as they happen, which pull through automatically to the sales invoice, avoiding missing those vital extras
Invoice data can be exported to a range of accounting packages including Sage Line 50, Pegasus Opera, Access, MYOB, HSBC Factoring, Intuit QuickBooks and Softline Pastel.
Histories of orders, deliveries, proof and invoices are maintained in quick and easy to navigate lists, offering full searching and filtering facilities. Orders are colour coded to show which stage in the workflow they are at: Active, Completed, Invoiced etc. In a few mouse clicks, history lists can be exported or emailed in Microsoft Word, Microsoft Excel, HTML, PDF or CSV format. Histories of sales invoices, proofs, additional costs, job costing data and purchase orders can be viewed directly from each order
The built-in production reports help to keep track of active orders, pending proofs and invoices, required materials, press job allocations, delivery response times, sales turnovers and much more. Sales and order histories can be broken down by client, type of work or sales rep to calculate rep commission figures or perform detailed analysis of orders.
The Accura Stock Control module extends the Accura system to provide automated control and monitoring of both Raw Materials and Finished Goods stock movements from initial purchase through to final costing and delivery.
Why use Stock Control?
How often have you processed an order only to find that there is insufficient material to print the job when it gets to the press? Or worse, you have forgotten to order the paper! Do you ever order material for a job then find that you already have it in stock? Do you find manual stock checking laborious and inaccurate? Do you hold finished goods in stock for your customers?
The Accura Stock Control module provides a solution to these and many other problems
Automated Stock Movements
Accura Stock Control integrates seamlessly with the Production, Purchasing and Job Costing modules. Each action within these modules will automatically update related stock levels, keeping stock figures accurate and up to date without the need for manual data entry
Raising an order in the Accura production module automatically ‘allocates’ the material required in stock control, raising a purchase order notifies stock that the material is ‘on order’, and recording the materials used through job costing or Remote Data Capture removes it from stock.
Finished Goods Stock Control provides an alternative rapid order entry feature in the Production module specifically for finished goods orders. Build up the required stock directly in the order window, then issue the stock and send stock issue notes to the client via printout, fax, or email
Finished Goods orders can be delivered and invoiced in multiple stages and to multiple addresses. Fully searchable histories of finished goods orders are available showing the delivery status of each stock on every order.
Information and Reporting
Accura Stock Control brings vital stock information to your finger tips: on-hand levels, on-order levels, available and projected levels, stock allocations, low level warnings and re-orders
Built-in reports include stock listings, current valuations, movement history and finished goods analysis by client or delivery location.
Customer Relationship Management
The Accura CRM (Customer Relationship Management) module is one of the few truly integrated Print MIS CRM systems available. It adds a unique set of ‘front-end’ Sales and Customer Service functions for your business, directly replacing commercially available CRM packages such as Microsoft CRM, Salesforce, Maximizer, Act! or GoldMine.
Why Do I Need It?
Simply remembering to do things in a busy company is a major problem! When you DON’T, your customers notice. Accura CRM allows you to see every aspect of contact with your customers, so you understand them better, and respond quicker and more efficiently. Your customers are your easiest sell - improving your customer service helps you retain your clients.
Finding new business in the current business climate is increasingly hard and price motivated. By analysing and managing sales campaigns effectively, you know what brings in the most business at the least cost and you maintain your competitive edge.
Everything in One Place
Juggling between spreadsheets, database programs, external CRM packages and Accura is time consuming and ineffective. One department cannot see what the other department is doing. Sales staff may not be aware of production or accounting issues when they make their calls. Put everything in one place and it all gets easier.
Activities, Tasks and Appointments
Record all customer-facing activities: telephone calls, appointments, reminders, quotes, follow-ups, orders, disputes and SEE all this information in one place.
Your daily To Do Schedule by gives you a list of incomplete activities each day. As you complete each activity it prompts you to create a follow-on activity for a specified date in the future, thus keeping a dialog going with the prospect.
Accura CRM provides a built-in Appointment Diary planner. All entries are displayed in visual time blocks, so it is easy to see what free time is left. Appointments can be rescheduled using a drag-and-drop interface.
Integration with Microsoft Outlook is built-in so that you can keep a copy of your tasks and diary in Outlook and take it ‘offline’ using a laptop or PDA.
Groundbreaking Communication Technology
All forms of communication: Telephone autodialling, Email, Fax, Letter, SMS or VOIP calls are just a mouse-click away throughout Accura CRM.
Voice Over IP (VOIP) calling uses any standard VOIP package such as Skype or VoipBuster to make phone calls across an internet connection for a fraction of the cost of normal calls, or even free if you use the right VOIP software
SMS text messages can be sent to clients, prospects and staff members, for example to notify a client of their order progress, or notify sales staff of a change in appointments whilst they are on the road
Visibility and Traceability
With Accura CRM, everything is traceable. CRM integrates with the Core Accura Modules to ensure that activities carried out by Accura users are visible in Accura CRM, such as quotes, orders, or ‘on-stop’ alerts. Even users without Accura CRM can log activities such as letters, emails, phone calls and faxes to give you total traceability of all business activities
The Activity Profile window gives you a complete ‘snapshot’ of the business in one window. From here you can view activities, appointments, opportunities, quotes and orders. Icons give you visual queues to activity status
Mapping and Route Planning
Accura CRM has a unique internet-based integrated mapping and route planning interface. Select the prospect you wish to visit and your starting point, and the system will plot a route complete with driving directions, landmarks, distances, and travelling times.
Sales and Marketing Management
Accura CRM ensures your marketing energy is targeted in the most cost-effective and successful areas.
Plan and track all activities and costs relating to each marketing campaign. Analyse the cost and numbers of responses, quotes and orders generated from each campaign, all displayed graphically with the software.
Each potential sale can be tracked and costed using Opportunities. Sales Forecasting reports list your expected revenue per month based on the current opportunities in the system.
Mailing, Fax and Email Broadcasting
All your direct mail marketing requirements are handled with ease within Accura CRM. Our advanced query wizard technology helps you identify the prospects you wish to target - for example using keywords, interests, turnover, location, job description etc.
Mailshots are produced from standard Microsoft Word letter templates, automatically customising each letter from the information in the database. Automated Faxshots and Emailshots can be produced, taking the time and pain out of campaign marketing.
The estimate is arguably the most important stage in the job lifecycle. It is also the area most printers find hardest to “let go”, as methods of estimating and pricing structures have evolved and been handed down over many years. Accura standardises how estimates are produced using the BPIF recommended ‘Cost-Plus’ system - whereby all materials, labour and outwork are calculated at cost, then a markup is applied.
Benefits of using Accura to Estimate
Know the profit in a job BEFORE you take it on
Calculate up to 5 quantities simultaneously
Estimate more accurately
Be more consistent (two estimators would arrive at the same answer)
Save template ‘library’ quotes to re-use later
Project a more professional image (no more hand-written quotes)
Respond quicker (e.g. using email or automated fax)
All printing methods in one system (digital, screen, litho)
Compare print permutations (e.g. sheet work vs work & turn, digital vs litho)
Automate repetitive calculations (e.g. no. out of sheet, overs, ink)
Searchable quote history archive
‘Cost Plus’: Know Your True Profit
Accura is based around a set of costing tables which store your rates for labour, materials and outwork. These are entered at cost, and hourly rates are calculated to fully recover your business overheads (our Cost-rate Calculator will assist you in this). Using the BPIF-recommended ‘Cost-plus’ system has many advantages, not least of which is that you always know the true cost and profit in any job BEFORE you accept the order.
Quick, Accurate & Consistent Estimating
One of the many aids Accura provides is the Phrase Library - a set of customisable ‘text blocks’ that can save you typing by using a drag-and-drop toolbox to paste complete job descriptions into your quote letter, ensuring all quotes look and feel the same regardless of who produced them. Markup profiles are used to ensure pricing consistency, whereby estimates are assigned markups based on the client and/or job-type.
Estimate ‘Template’ Library
Our unique estimate library enables you to store common ‘formats’ of estimate into a archive area categorised into ‘volumes’ ( e.g. Stationery, Leaflets, NCR, Folders etc). Once saved in the library any template quote can be retrieved in seconds and converted into a new estimate for a given client. This can even be used by relatively inexperienced staff, enabling them to produce complete and accurate estimates for simple jobs with ease. This feature is also useful for generating ‘price-list’ style reports.
Support for Multiple Quantities & Printing Technologies
Accura Estimating supports up to 5 quantities per estimate, and a run-on quantity - making it easy to show your customer cost savings for ordering more. All of the standard printing methods are supported including: litho, digital, copier, screen, label, and large format.
Intelligent, Automated Calculations
Many calculations are automated such as: Best fit from raw material, Pre-trimming, Overs, Ink usage, Film/plates, Number-up on press, Make-readies and Washups - speeding up the estimating process dramatically. As the job quantity increases your press speeds are automatically adjusted using a speed-curve in your tables.
Labour, material & outwork items can all be stored in tables, retrieved on demand, and calculated using an almost limitless range of methods including: Fixed, Variable, Stepped, Weight, Impressions and so on. You even link together material with labour items so that when you choose (for example) one plate, the time for plate-making is automatically included also.
The powerful press optimisation feature scans your press parameters calculating the speed, cost and time for each machine, using each printing method (sheet work, work & turn etc). This allows you to see and compare each press before making your final choice. You can even compare multiple printing technologies (such as litho with digital), to see which technology works out the fastest or cheapest.
Pricing Markup and Graphical Profit Analysis
Accura Estimating uses easily configurable templates for marking up your final sell prices, completely reviewable for each estimate and customisable by client. Your profit margins, departmental breakdowns, value added, contribution, and unit costs are displayed graphically at the end of each estimate.
Powerful Quote History
Your history of quotes is maintained in a quick and easy to navigate list, offering full searching and filtering facilities. Estimates are iconized to show you which ones were converted to orders, which were lost, which are outstanding etc. In a few mouse clicks, history lists can be exported or emailed in Microsoft Word, Microsoft Excel, HTML, PDF or CSV format.
Customer Documentation and Reporting
Accura Estimating will automatically distribute estimate letters according to how your clients like to receive them - printed, faxed, emailed as a PDF file or output to Microsoft Word documents. The built-in estimating reports help you to follow-up quotes, analyse profit information, view quote to order conversions and more. Reports can be broken down by sales rep, client, type of work etc for detailed analysis of estimates.