Tharstern Estimate PRO

What does the software do?

Estimate PRO is Tharstern’s new-generation intelligent print estimating tool. It will be used as a platform for Tharstern’s new estimating and CRM mobile app, planned for early this year.

When was it launched and what market is it aimed at?

Launched in November, the software is initially being targeted at printers with litho, digital and large-format kit, as well as printers who offer fulfilment and other non-traditional services. But Tharstern has plans to extend it to other users.

“The back-end is set up in a way that lends itself to flatsheet, commercial litho and digital people, and wide-format printers at this stage, and then we’ve got plans to roll it out to the roll-label and multi-web boys,” says Tharstern new project manager Paul Cook.

How does it work?

Using the software’s ‘Product Configurator’, estimators run through a user-defined checklist of options for a chosen product, typically inputting information such as materials, pages, quantities and sizes. The system then works out the most efficient equipment and imposition for that product. It provides cost, sales margin and sell price comparisons for every possible imposition on each suitable press. It warns the user if the entered details are actually outside of the print shop’s capabilities, to avoid surprises downstream in production.

What is its unique selling point?

Estimate PRO is intended to simplify the estimating process and take the guesswork out of producing the best quote, says Cook. “With this software, there’s no need to remember to manually include activities and materials, or tweak run speeds and passes for non-standard work. We have taken the science out of it.

“Being much more self-aware of JDF processes and print shop capabilities, PRO intelligently creates what we call the ‘method of manufacture’ and, for example, will automatically use a cheaper stock to make the press ready on. It also allows you to use a step-and-repeat method to rotate the product on the sheet to give the most efficient number up.”

How does it differ from previous versions?

Estimate PRO is an enhanced version of Tharstern’s predecessor, which is now referred to as Estimate Classic, says Cook.

“We have removed the margin of error and significantly reduced the skills required to put an estimate together,” says Cook. “But PRO doesn’t supersede Classic. We will continue to develop Classic as that offers support for gravure and roll label printers. We’ll need to maintain that until we can build the functionality into PRO.”

How easy is it to use?

“The answer is, ‘very’,” says Cook. “We’ve found that modern print businesses aren’t just teams of estimators and salespeople anymore. Early on in the design process, we knew we wanted to aim it at people working in customer service rather than traditional print estimators.

“We’ve hidden a lot of the noise away on the screen — the sorts of things you only amend as a real exception, like job trim and bleed,” says Cook. “We wanted to create something anybody could use, but that would also make quoting quicker.”

What training, service and support is on offer?

Depending on the size of the site, Tharstern supplies a minimum of two days’ training including installation, reports Cook. “Every customer is assigned a consultant who will be their original trainer and then their go-to man,” says Cook. “But then we have a hotline support team who can generally help with service support calls in the first instance.”

How much does it cost?

Pricing starts at $500 per concurrent user, which means the software can be installed on many computers at a company, but if the company has purchased five concurrent user licences, only five staff members will be able to use the program at any one time.

How many installations have there been and what are the sales targets?

PRO has been beta-tested by five customers in the UK prior to release in Australia and New Zealand.

 


 

Specifications

Server SQL Server 2005 or above

Database SQL Server

Client Windows 7 or above

Price From $500 per concurrent user

Contact Tharstern, +64 27 292 5440, www.tharstern.co.nz

 


 

The alternatives

Quote & Print

Quote & Print estimating covers all sectors of the industry — offset, digital, labels, continuous, price list items, envelope printers, web and even newspapers. This means that printers who do a cross-section of work can generate estimates for all types in a single module.

Client Windows XP or above

Contact Quote & Print, (02) 9646 3466, www.quoteandprint.com.au

 

Optimus

Two products are relevant: Estimating Pro Plus and Dash Enquiry & Quote Manager. Estimating Pro Plus uses a rules-based approach that ensures powerful templates and logic can create estimates and full production jobs in seconds. Dash Enquiry & Quote Manager is favoured by mixed houses of litho, digital and specialist print environments. 

Server Windows Server 2003 sp2, 2008R2 sp2, Linux Redhat Enterprise 5

Database MySQL 5.1

Contact Optimus, 0422 210 876, www.optimus2020.com

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