The outsourcing of non-core business activities continues to be a popular decision made for several reasons. This means that for some companies, print buying has now being handed over to a Print Outsource specialist – a Print Management Company.
There can be many explanations as to why a company may choose not outsource their print, but broadly speaking, they fall into one of the following areas:
- Large departmental spread – Print is required by several departments including marketing, finance, manufacturing, human resources etc.
- Lack of business understanding – This may be due to the variation of internal demands, sourced by employees with different skill sets, experience and knowledge.
- Complex print buying requiring several processes – during the product development and graphic design stages, there will be several senior management figures involved. These ‘touch points’ bring individual constraints and issues that are easier to manage within the company’s resources.
- A desire to be in control of the buying process – fears that compromises will be made on branding, print quality and/or print consistency.
All of these reasons are valid, and whilst on the surface it may seem that a print management process does not suit everybody, this is not strictly true. An experienced team of industry experts can put together a solution that is tailored and structured to suit your business needs. This will not only compliment your internal processes, but also yield a quick and meaningful return.
Putting Management back in your Print
Remember, whatever your print requirements, in order to be efficient and effective, it must be well managed to accrue benefit for the business. This is where a good Print Management team can step in.
The Print Management team will work in tandem with your existing setup. They will spend time examining your buying habits and needs. This thorough analysis will look at areas such as:
- Buying systems – from procurement, technical specification of the order, service placement, receipting of goods, stock handling, logistics and even obsolescence. The reason for this evaluation is to identify and map out the systems you currently have in place. It will highlight the strengths, and help identify areas where beneficial improvements can be implemented.
- Buying method – looks into the technical aspects used for each type of print. This includes the print process itself, brand and quality compromises, raw materials, finishing, print response times, digital collateral, and consistency of print across various digital and print communications.
- Efficiency – price comparisons, economical buying quantities, storage system and distribution costs, product obsolescence and cost of disposal, checking or re-working due to poor specifications or supervision, reporting system health analysis, management assessment and review, supplier invoices and any issues involving settlement dates etc.
- Human aspect – the size of the current print buying team, associated skill sets, knowledge and experience in print buying, departments that require print assistance, staff members, and decision making processes for new, existing or repeat work.
An investigation of this magnitude requires dedicated skill, as it consumes a considerable amount of time and patience. Yet the role of the Print Management team is vital. Based on this detailed evaluation and their considerable experience, they will provide an unbiased, eagle-eyed view of the entire process, and suggest improvements in some of the following areas:
- Procurement streamlining – clearer specifications, accountable order procedures, reduced and easier handling of orders, usage history analysis, optimum order recommendations to reduce wastage and obsolescence and plan distribution.
- Product and Production – re-assessing print requirements, product re-engineering, centralised and managed artwork systems
- Management – print buying strategy, simplify and improve purchasing history based on detailed reports, regular assessments, extract meaningful and timely information to aid future decision making, and suggest best practice and price benchmarking.
A difficult task for any business manager is to oversee their print management in-house, or to make the decision to outsource to a team of independent and experienced specialists.
A good Print Management team will always provide the best solution as they understand the commercial environment. They will take time to understand the requirements of the business, talk directly with decision makers, find target synergy, understand staff strengths and chalk out internal processes that deliver print.
In addition to this, they will maintain a thorough knowledge of the latest technologies that drive printing processes today, as they already have a bank of experienced and trusted suppliers to hand. A print management team are also able to identify and build relationships with other providers who may be the best fit for your print needs. They understand the market conditions within your specific industry, and how to utilise the strengths of the current print industry to your advantage. They possess the knowledge and expertise to work in your environment and even more importantly, they work for you.
Evolution Print & Design, are a Print Management team of 6 dedicated professionals, each of whom can rely on almost four decades of print experience. Whether it is managing, admin, sales, design, print finishing – there isn’t a single function they haven’t handled personally.