For businesses considering investing in a print management company, the first questions are always – will it save me time and money?
While this question is undoubtedly a major priority, cost and time savings are just one key criterion you should consider when choosing a print management company. So, from relationship building to the environment, we have put together our top five essential criteria – in addition to time and cost – that businesses need to take into account when choosing their print management supplier.
1. Do They Value Communication and Service?
When your business relies on the skills and expertise of an outside organisation it is vital that you can develop a strong, strategic relationship with your supplier. Print management is no different – strong communication channels and an excellent rapport are must-haves.
The importance of building this relationship is regularly overlooked. A recent study showed that procurement professionals value increasing competition over restructuring existing supplier relationships, demonstrating a trend in using multiple suppliers as opposed to building a strong rapport with a selected few. For businesses producing large, varying quantities of print content though, a strong relationship is vital to negotiating great prices and high-quality every time.
When trying to decide whether you can build a strong, lasting relationship with a print management company, there are some telltale signs. Look at how a company has worked with clients in the past by sourcing case studies on their website. If a company doesn’t have any case studies, it may be a warning sign. It’s also worth seeing if a company has won or been nominated for any awards. The best companies will have a glowing reputation, both in the eyes of their clients and the press.
2. Are They Up-To-Date With Technology?
Technology isn’t just about having the latest printing equipment; it influences every part of the printing strategy, from design to distribution. The best print management companies will offer a centralised system that allows you to track stock and usage, but the detail, quality and ease of use will depend on how much they are investing in new technologies.
When choosing your print management company, pick one that can offer you a digital platform with options to monitor the progress of your orders, view stock levels, and coordinate your content. The role of technology in the procurement process is becoming an essential function with 65% of CPOs agreeing that analytics technology will have the most impact on procurement in the next two years.
So with this in mind, pay attention to how technology is used by print management companies in every part of their print process and ensure the company has a plan for investing in future innovations. Systems such as storage have come a long way; the introduction of state-of-the-art stock management software can help you improve the efficiency of how your content is used, so don’t be tempted to settle for just an empty warehouse.
3. How Sustainable Are They?
A business’s sustainability and carbon footprint are a constant consideration when monitoring the health of your supply chain. On average, indirect supply chain emissions stand at four times the amount of direct operational emissions, so working with suppliers that do not share your aspiration to create a greener industry pose a risk to both the environment and your brand’s reputation.
Since print management companies combine the services of multiple suppliers themselves, it is important to choose a company that is proven to be environmentally friendly. One way to check is to find out if they have achieved the ISO14001 accreditation – an international standard for reducing environmental impact.
By working with a print management company that cares as much about the environment as you, your business can not only meet its green impact goals, but can also benefit from expert advice on ways to improve sustainability even further.
4. Can They Adapt Quickly and Effectively?
The mark of a good print management company is its ability to adapt quickly and effectively to a business’s demand. Central to this is understanding the client’s needs and providing a clear strategy to meet them.
To do this, the best print management companies manage storage, logistics and planning. In the traditional supplier-led model your business would have to coordinate a series of suppliers, to not only create your print but also to store and deliver increasing time, cost and emissions.
Print management offers a centralised approach that encompasses all of those suppliers, allowing a more efficient print process.
5. Can They Manufacture Your Print?
By choosing a print management company that can also manufacture print, rather than just sourcing and managing print on your behalf, you will ensure that you are receiving your print in the most cost effective way. As such it is important to identify the maximum production capacity of the print management company you are considering.
Can they actually manage the quantities of print you need in the required timeframe? If so, how close are you to reaching that maximum capacity? Print management will improve the cost-efficiency of your print, helping your business to grow, so it is imperative to know your chosen print management company has the ability to take on further print work.
If your print management company does manufacture also, take a moment to learn their own plans for future investment and growth. By doing so, you can decide whether the ambitions of your print management company match your own and begin to build your relationship from there.
Service, technology sustainability, adaptability and capacity can only be born out of industry experience. If your current suppliers do not offer all of these features, or they do not have extensive experience, it may be time to consider print management.
Our free eBook, Print Management: How to Reduce Costs, Save Time, and Improve Quality, explores how outsourcing your printing can help you save time and money while improving quality. Download your copy to find out more.