Data Communications are the life stream of all businesses. Purchase orders, sales orders, invoices, cheques--the list is endless. In our business of selling business forms, our basic goal is to help customers reduce the cost of doing business.

Business forms can reduce the cost of doing business. When we look closely at the real cost of business forms, we can see that there are three categories that we can define.

1. Processing Costs - This is the cost to use the form:

Labour to hand write, type, or print the form
Retrieve the information from the form
Burst and decollate the forms
Route the parts

2. File Maintenance Costs - This includes the labour costs used to maintain files and the actual cost of the storage itself including the cabinets or other methods of storage.

3. Printing Costs - This is the actual invoice amount that customers pay to have the forms printed and delivered.

An independent research team found the breakdown of the three costs are as follows.

1.Processing 85%

2.File Maintenance 11%

3.Printing 4%

The paper and ink itself represents less than 5% of the total costs. It makes sense then, that you should not only look at the printing costs, when you sell a form, but you should also look closely at how the form will be used in the end customers business.

To illustrate, consider a standard multiple part form that is poorly designed and has no punching when it requires filing in a “Shannon file”. If it wastes several minutes of a $15,000 file clerks time, the cost goes up over $150.00 per thousand forms. If the actual printing cost was only $50.00 per thousand, this increases the total cost to over $200.00 per thousand. Suddenly, that $50.00 per thousand is not such a bargain.

The next time you’re asked to quote on a form, ask the following questions to try and get at some of the hidden costs of the form.

Can this form be combined with another one?
What is its purpose?
How is it prepared?
How many copies are needed?
What are the copies named?
What is done with each copy?
Where does it go?
Can one copy do the work of two?
Is numbering required?
Is punching required?
Is the form mailed?
Are subsequent entries required?
Is image important?
How is the data arranged?
There is no way we could list every question you might ask your customer. Each situation is different, however, these provide a starting point from which to begin.

Nick Pizzitelli


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