IMS has decided to show you behind the scenes showcasing of its employees who are specialized in key positions within the company. Every month you can read about a new employee and the description of his or her position in Star employee!


Employee name: Lucie
Position: Estimator
Years of experience: 20


Briefly explain your work as an estimator at IMS.

Lucie: In general, it’s about estimating production costs, but mostly the feasibility of a project in terms of quantity of materials, tools and required resources.

So it’s not only about determining the cost of a project.

Lucie: Oh no, it’s much more than that! First you have to decide if it’s possible to take on the project. For example, if the production team doesn’t have the equipment they need, then we have to order the missing parts: dies, cylinders, etc. If the press operator cannot do his/her job, we won’t be able to respect our clients’ deadlines, and that is unacceptable. Each stage of the process must be accounted for in advance.

That must require a lot of knowledge.

Lucie: Yes, it’s important if things are to be done well. With IMS, the position requires sufficient knowledge of printing and flexography, as well as a good understanding of the presses, colours, and also new products and procedures. I’m constantly learning. I love that!

What are the qualities of a good estimator?

Lucie: It’s important to pay attention to details and not to get discouraged easily, because some projects can be complicated to manage. But that’s part of the job. It’s important to enjoy working in a team and to be customer-service oriented.

What do you particularly like about being an estimator?

Lucie: It’s never the same. The new jobs are always different from the previous ones, which is why attention to detail is very important. Each client has his/her own specific characteristics and requests. I’ll never forget when I was hired and my boss at the time told me, “If there’s a mistake on paper, the job may not be done correctly and we’ll have to start all over.” It costs the company a lot of money when you have to start from scratch.

That must be very stressful!

Lucie: Yes, it’s stressful, but I find it motivating. In May I’ll have been an estimator at IMS for 20 years!

Because the printing estimator profession is not officially represented by an association or a professional group, it’s difficult to discuss advancing within the profession. On the other hand, there are many challenges. For example, because each order is different, automating the processes becomes almost impossible. Besides, and as the production and labour costs are high, the job of an estimator is necessary to guarantee the survival of a company in an increasingly competitive market.

Companies provide less on-the-job training than before. The technology is more complex and the presses require more specialized knowledge. There is a preference for trained and experienced employees due to the economic situation. For those who are attracted to this profession…

… and who are looking to obtain a diploma, we suggest the following programs:
Project management in graphic communications (Ahuntsic College, cégep Beauce-Appalaches) OR
Printing techniques (Ahuntsic College)

… and who have experience in project management but not in printing, we suggest:
Improvement training programs such as those offered at the Quebec Institute of Graphic Communications (in French only), namely:
­- Packaging 101: Introduction to flexography (2 days)
­- Technical improvement in flexography (3 days)
– Quality control in flexography (2 days)

… and who have experience in printing but not in project management, we suggest:
The seminar “The estimator and the project manager” (2 days at the Quebec Institute of Graphic Communications, in French only) OR
Any course or continuing education program in project management