Improving the Systems behind Arrowhead Printers Ltd

I am going to base my project around a company called Arrowhead printers. Arrowhead, based in Alton’s industrial estate is a printing company, printing general commercial lithos. Their jobs can range from printing posters for WWF to printing brochures for Berkeley Homes. The company has two B2 presses, one having a four colour press and the other having two. For delivery the company has two vans and two drivers. The problem that I am basing my project around is the quoting system. At the moment the system is still manual and therefore vulnerable to mistakes.

I am therefore going to revolve my project around the quoting side of the company. Clare normally controls this area of the company. The quoting side of the company has to take into consideration several variables, like: The Paper – I will take into account the size, weight, finish and quality of the paper. This is because the company can print on different sorts of paper each having their own different variables. For instance the paper could be, 90GSM, B2 Gloss and low quality. This kind of paper would be used to create cheap manuals for schools etcetera.

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The size of the paper can vary from a number of sizes, being B2 (520 X 720mm), B3 (360 X 520mm), SRA2 (450 X 640mm and SRA3 (320 X450). The different sizes of paper usually coincide with the type of job. The thicker the paper usually means the more expensive the paper is to buy in thus meaning that the paper is of higher quality. Thicker, better quality paper is usually used for deluxe jobs and the cheaper, thinner paper is usually used for mass jobs. I will be providing examples in my project of different weights of papers and also providing example of jobs that use the different thicknesses of paper.

There are also different finishes of paper. For instance: glossed, matt and silk. The different types of paper all attribute to different costs. For example, glossed will be more expensive than matt. The matt finish is usually used when large amounts are being printed for example, leaflets. The quality of paper is therefore usually determined by these factors, but poor quality gloss can also be bought in. The higher quality the paper is then the more expensive the paper is to buy in. That means that a note of the quality of paper that the customer wants needs to be taken down.

The number of plates and the quantity and number of inks used for the job is also a variable factor. At Arrowhead there are two different printers – one being a two-colour printer the other a four-colour printer. The majority of major jobs completed at Arrowhead are four colour, so they are usually completed on the four colour press. If the job is two colour, the price of the job is obviously going to be cheaper. This is because there is less amounts of inks used. Different jobs require different amounts of print outs.

A big job could need as many as 45,000 copies of the work. Alternatively the smaller jobs may only use one 1,000 prints. So a record of how many prints are needed needs to be accounted for. Also on top of this charge the company issues a minimum charge cost – for machine get ready time. This sum would be a bout i?? 200 per 7,000 sheets. Background of the Company Arrowhead printers was founded in the year of 1974. The company was basically set up as a printing and publishing company. They then ceased to trade in the year 1985.

The company was then registered solely as a printers after the publishing side of the company was closed down. The company was based in Kingsely near Bordon until 1997 when the factory was completely gutted by a fire. This devastated the company and cost them thousands of pounds as the company at the time was underinsured. This did not stop Arrowhead from ceasing to print as they found a new location. in August of 1997, in the industrial estate in Alton. The company is currently doing very well as recent competitors have gone bankrupt.

Though a printers called Colourgraphics still challenge Arrowhead for printing deals. The advantage with Colourgraphics is that they have their own fully-fledged finishing department, which Arrowhead sometimes uses. Currently the company employs 19 members of staff all doing different jobs in the company in different departments. The departments at Arrowhead are: – Finishing Department – this department is capable of basic folding, trimming and stitching. They have 4 members in the finishing department. These members are Mark, Brian, Anne and Sue

Repro Department – this department produces the film for plate making. There is one person in this part of the company, called Alan. Machine room – This is where the main printing is conducted there are two B2 presses, one four colour and the other a two colour press. There are 4 printers, Barry, Tony, Sam and George. Delivery Department – The company also courier the work to their contacts, there are two vans and two drivers. The drivers are Trevor and Paul. The production, accounts, reception and sales department is located on the first floor of the company.

There are eight people conducting this side of the business, including secretaries, reps, accountants and quoters. Arrowhead basically print general commercial litho and do not specify in any particular type of printing. Statement of the Problem The system of recording the data is very antiquated and is in dire need of being updated. Data is transferred from three different books, leaving room for human error. The handwriting can often become illegible and pages can be damages and lost, leaving empty or ruined records.

The system is prone to many mistakes and whole records can be lost if there if, for example, a fire occured. If the system was automated onto computer then constant saving on to multiple disks can eliminate this risk. Posting the quote form is also a problem, and I feel this can be rectified if the use of E-mail is adopted, after all, the company has a suitable E-mail address. The calculations for the quote have frailties, things like the cost of inks, plates and prices for quantity of paper have to be calculated.

This can be strenuous and calculations can be miscalculated. Maybe costing the company money or making the company look unprofessional. The problem with automating the current system is that none of the staff really have any training on the use of Excel. This means(? ) Recent objections to modifications to the old system. The reason for this somewhat belated automation of a very antiquated system is because of many different reasons. The company have recently looked into early modifications of their system, but have seen the price of this automation to be very expensive.

They have indeed had quotes prior to my proposition to install an electronic quote system. The expense of the system quoted though has made the company uninterested. Also the company operators are creatures of habit making it easier to turn down a proposition. The workers are quite content using the old system which they say “seems to work reasonably well, though may need some updating soon”. Many of the workers at Arrowhead are not completely computer literate. This means if a new computer package is to be brought in then training of the staff will need to be done.