Navigating the Hidden Costs of Buying Print

First off, let’s get this straight— buying print is not a great deal different from other buying processes. In fact, even simpler, in most cases, what is different however are the smaller nuances in the practice of each business. What is alarming and disturbing is that there are a number of hidden costs of buying print which easily slip through often unnoticed.

The main reason for this is that these costs are represented in cost centres that are not directly related to print buying. In my experience, these costs can be substantial, usually remain unchallenged. They can be put right, however, that requires a significant shift in approach, thinking and involvement of an independent and experienced print management team.

This Blog article will help you understand the source of these hidden costs as you navigate through your printing order.  It is only by taking strong constructive action will it help reduce these ‘hidden costs of buying print’ significantly.

Assess your Printing Requirement

Print collaterals lose their useful shelf life long before they are allowed to retire. Most organisations are guilty of continuing the practice of buying their print almost on auto-mode. A periodic assessment needs to be made to understand the CONTRIBUTION and VALUE your print provides to your objectives. You may well be surprised with the results.

Nearly all activities, processes and routines can be significantly improved and in some cases even eliminated. A regular examination of these, related to print usage has to be initiated, The number of times something is handled attracts costs. The importance of the tightening the processes and routines frequently cannot be undermined.  It will not only help eliminate the hidden costs of buying print but will make a valuable, significant and instant contribution to the profitability and cash flow.

Take Advantage of the Tech Advancements

The Print industry has seen a remarkable pace at which technology has affected its manufacturing and distribution extensions. One commonly hears of digital downloads of brochure or documents, whereas previously a printed copy was required and posted. These changing dynamics has had an impact on the demand for print.

Marketers also talk about putting your communications above the rest in a pile. Where this was only possible at a large scale now is made possible due to recent developments. It does require an experienced team to make it not only possible but to make it cost effective.

Technological developments have also increased how the printed result can be achieved with completely different cost drivers. When there is an array of processes, material and finishes available the chances of mistakes being made is increased somewhat.  Also, with changes at exceptional speed, staying up to date with the latest developments becomes daunting and time-consuming. This, however, is absolutely necessary if hidden costs of print buying are to be kept to a minimum.

When faced with constraints it is easier to go to your usual vendor to arrange the printing, In certain circumstances, it may seem the best way forward, but in many cases, it may not be the most appropriate. The status quo has to be challenged regularly in order to achieve optimum results.

In some businesses print requirements are unplanned, also necessary when something needs to get out there quickly. However Unplanned and reactive printing has higher financial consequences.  In some cases, it is not possible to avoid this; however, a much controlled and thought through the process will invariably help keep the costs in check.

Anticipate to tackle the Logistics involved

Storage and distribution costs are perhaps the biggest black hole associated with print buying.  When some print is required by a particular place and time, costs often take a backseat.  Equally, the cost of space, handling and any movement all contribute towards the cost of print.

Businesses must play this smartly. While placing Print orders, there must be a conscious effort to ensure the logistics post printing is organised effectively. The order quantities must be worked out giving careful historical information as well as looking at most economical order quantity to reduce the hidden costs of buying print.

Understand the Hidden Costs of Buying Print

It is of utmost importance that upon completing a print order, organisations must run an assessment, to evaluate the effectiveness of the entire process – right from the initial requisition to the final disposal. Obviously for each repeat print a lot of this is taken for granted, however, a formal process of going through the motions will highlight areas where extra costs could be easily avoided. It will be an ongoing learning process.

An important fact to understand when doing business in the Printing industry is that the cost of print is significantly more than what you pay your printer. The hidden costs of buying print are very rarely assessed or at best clearly understood. It is everything around the need, the procurement process and systems, the management time, the finance function, quality control, storage, distribution and disposal which all play a role in building up the cost.

A good independent assessor like Evolution Print Management with their 6 highly knowledgeable experienced team can help question the validity of the print and run through an exhaustive examination of its role in setting printing objectives, help optimise the process and reduce significantly, if not eliminate, the duplication and waste. Savings that will contribute towards the bottom line.


We can help businesses understand and reduce the costs of buying print. Simply fill in the form below and we will be in touch at the first opportunity.

1 + 3 =