Clarity Professional: modular quotation software for print businesses. Print

There are more price estimating software programs than there is time to even think about evaluating them. It is much easier to simply find one of the best and make it an international standard. Clarity quotation software from TouchSystems is a good example of a useful product.

Otherwise you have PrintQuote Pro, QuoteWerks, Power-Quote, Quote Organizer (PrimaSoft PC), Prosm Win, SmartQuotes, Quote & Print, Cyrious, Cibercat, DMC, etc.

The advantage of Clarity is that, without being boxed in only one industry, it is implied that the software is suitable especially for print businesses, as you can take on account factors like printing and cutting time, mounting costs, etc.

As you will see further on, this application helps you automate your quotation tasks keeping a better control of the related information throughout the production process.

One of the important aspects in the architecture of this software is that Clarity was designed as a modular system. This means that a business is not tied up with the whole package (as is usual with most software packages), instead, you can buy only the modules that best suit the needs and characteristics of your business while having the option to incorporate new modules as you grow.

FLAAR is offering personalized consulting at each trade show. You can walk-the-floor with the Senior Editor of FLAAR and get his comments on any and all printers, inks, RIP software, color management, substrates, applications, etc.

So if you wish to learn about the difference between combo, hybrid, and dedicated UV printers, how latex ink compares, about textile printers, etc. contact FLAAR to obtain consulting.

You can also get consulting before ISA or FESPA anywhere in the world: Dubai, India, Saudi Arabia, Singapore, China, Korea, London and more.

Contact Management

With this module you build a database of customers, suppliers and other people involved in your business. You can store and search contacts by name, location, company and other criteria.

Activities

This component helps you keep a diary of tasks and link tasks with Contacts and Jobs. You can also add notes and reminders for yourself and the rest of the team.

Quotes, Jobs and Estimating

This tool speeds the quoting by pricing automatically from price lists. It also helps you file professional and consistent documentation of the jobs and estimates. You can generate information documents ready to send by email, while keeping your existing quotation number format.

Marketing

This section helps you evaluate the success of campaigns that you create in Clarity, and have a better understanding of where new orders are coming from.

Price Lists

You can import your existing price lists straight into Clarity, and it helps you keep track of cost prices and selling prices. You can also specify and have a better control of margins and possible discounts for each print job.

Invoices

This module helps you collect and quickly find the invoices from past jobs. You can create frequent invoices easily. This tool helps you create partial or whole delivery notes, invoices and credit notes.

Reports

This tool helps you gather information of every area of the business to generate a report with sales, marketing, order processing and financial information. You can filter data so that your final report contains only the information you need.

The other optional modules are:

  • Purchase Order Processing
  • Goods Handling
  • Production Scheduling
  • Shop-Floor Data Collection
  • Cost Analysis
  • Remote User
  • Network Integration
  • Accounts Integration
  • Premium Calc Wizards

You can create any other wizard for any specific step of your workflow that implies a cost, for example, the cost setting up your photographic equipment.

Robert Farfort, Data Image (sign shop in the UK ) owner says about Clarity: “Our whole company pivots around this application. Without this program, nothing happens.” Later on Robert commented that the interface of Clarity is quite simple, especially compared to the interfaces of other quotation software programs mentioned earlier.

The value of a software like this is not only in the time you make a quotation or price-related documents, but also, the control of your profit margins. If you know exactly the production cost, you can vary your sales costs to compete with other businesses without losing. In this aspect, you can also set limits. For example you define that all print jobs have a gross margin (difference between production costs and sales costs) of at least 30%. If for any reason, your sales costs are less than 30%, the software gives you a warning.

Another aspect covered by Clarity is media usage. Some times the cost of media wasted in a print job equals the sales cost itself. Clarity tells you exactly the quantity of media you need for certain print job so as to minimize waste. In this respect, Clarity does a nesting calculation, as Onyx software does, but this is a feature that could be improved, especially considering that Esko SignUp software does a more efficient nesting by rotating the images to take the most advantage of blank spaces.

Clarity has been around for 12 years. What is worth noting is that TouchSystems has developed Clarity based on first-hand experience and needs of Data Image. In other words, the software has been developed around the needs of sign shops in the real world, instead of sign shops having to adequate processes to certain software.

The price is £500 (around US$810 (Dec. 2009)). You can download a lite version from internet, but if you really want a customized software, you can make the investment and have a person come to your business. At the moment Clarity is only sold in the UK , and nowhere else, according to the policies of TouchSystems. This is something difficult to understand in terms of business.

 

First posted January 2010.