Spectrum Press--Seamless Expansion
"I went through the Programmed Solutions training program, then returned to Spectrum Press and trained the staff," explains Jeff, noting that the system was up and running in three months, despite the fact that no one in the company had ever prepared a computer estimate previously. "We were skeptical enough that we did both hand estimates and computer estimates for some time. But, after seeing that the two estimates matched day after day, everyone in the company realized just how accurate the system is."
Vital Data Collection
Data collection is seen as vital at Spectrum Press. By carefully accumulating information, the company assigns an actual cost to each job. "Knowing our costs is vital to confirming that our productivity expectations are accurate," explains Matt. "Everything is fed back into the estimating department, so that future estimates can be made even more accurately. Even if we find it necessary to price to the market to get a job, it is important to know our costs."
Although the most vital areas of computerization at Spectrum Press are estimating and data collection, according to Jeff, "Spectrum Press is advancing on the computer front as quickly as in presses. The computer belongs to everyone in the company. Sales personnel are now being equipped with laptops and can gain access to systems data at their desks or in the field. The next step is to let customers access the system directly, so they can see the progress of their work."
The capacity of the Programmed Solutions system was realized in late 1998 by the fact that, despite its recent strong growth, Spectrum Press was still operating with the original 20 computers that comprised the system in 1994.
The company is now upgrading its system to include a good number of Pentium-class machines to support Programmed Solutions' Version 10 software. Older 486 machines will be moved to the shop floor to serve as data collection points. In the process, Spectrum Press will move to full Microsoft NT and will install e-mail throughout the company.