In this modern era, data is king. The more you know about a process, the more you can analyse, the greater efficiency you achieve, and the more successful the growth of your business.
The production of your printed content is no different. Gone are the days when it was enough to have an order arrive at a single location on time. In this increasingly global world, the logistics of how your content is distributed, reported upon and managed is vital.
Top businesses are now prioritising cost reduction above increasing cash flow and organic expansion, as shown by a recent study, demonstrating that the key to growth lies in lowering costs from improved logistics.
For businesses managing their own printing supply chain, coordinating a successful logistics strategy is costly and time-consuming. Outsourcing this to a print management company allows you to benefit from existing plans, to ensure you can track the impact of your content for a minimal cost.
Our experts explain how.
Define Your Needs at the Point Of Order
To allow you to benefit from logistics in print management, it is important to plan ahead. When putting together your order you need a clear goal in mind for your content, so your print management company can put together a strategy for tracking and achieving it. This may be as simple as ensuring your content reaches a specific market, but by thinking about it at the point of order, you can plan for and take advantage of the tailored distribution schedules on offer.
Another consideration should be how often you wish to produce this content. Is it a one-off, as part of a marketing campaign, or a form that needs to be produced regularly? If it is the latter, then print management companies can ensure they stock the raw materials year-round, allowing future orders to be produced quicker.
All this can be planned for as part of your tailored Service-Level Agreement, allowing you to design a logistics strategy quickly and efficiently, and have a clear budget. This is vital in ensuring there are no surprise costs further down the line and avoiding that much-used phrase in procurement –“do we really spend that much?".
Have a Centralised Storage Site
You can have the best-printed material in the world, but it’s no good if you can’t easily locate it or track the stock levels. For companies with multiple offices around the country, this is especially important, as you don’t want to be wasting your time ringing around and trying to find which storeroom has the information pack you really need.
By having a centralised storage site, you can easily keep track of the type and quantity of content you have available, which means no more last minute surprises about low stock. This will also simplify and reduce cost when it comes to distribution.
Print management companies can offer this space and manage your stock, providing regular reports to your business through digitalised software. This will help you identify the popularity of your printed materials and enable you to prioritise content for future orders.
Create a Responsive Distribution System
Using a centralised storage site will allow you report on how popular a type of content it is, but how do you identify what areas of the country it is best used in? To do this, you need a responsive distribution system that can provide different quantities of different content to different locations, all for a competitive price.
This is vital for making sure you are resourcing different offices or locations correctly. Send too much stock to an area and it will likely be wasted, don’t send enough though and you miss out on potential customers. Striking a balance between the two is one of the hardest elements of your logistics strategy, and it’s especially difficult if you are managing your own distribution through a number of suppliers. Creating your own responsive system will demand greater time and cost.
Print management centralises this process, providing a network of distributors through a single contact. This not only allows you to distribute smartly, but it also helps you to reduce your carbon footprint by making sure your content travels fewer miles in lorries that are fully stocked.
Analyse and Report
So, you have your new logistics strategy and thanks to it you’ve begun to receive all that precious data. Now what? Well, obviously the next step is to analyse it regularly, identify trends, and evolve your process to become more cost-efficient. For businesses with multiple products resourcing various locations though, this can be a complex and time-consuming task, and if you haven’t yet implemented a central storage site and responsive distribution system it is practically impossible.
In an ideal world, it would be those in charge of managing the warehouses and deliveries that would provide this analysis, as they are closest to it. That is exactly what print management offers, with print management companies utilising the latest digital technology to provide clear reports on stock and usage. This technology is hugely important for ensuring your logistics strategy will be sustainable, with a recent study showing that 84% of organisations believe digital technology will change the way procurement services are delivered in the next 3-5 years.
If you think a comprehensive logistics plan could help your business take its next step and you want to find out more about print management, download our free eBook, Print Management: How to Reduce Costs, Save Time, and Improve Quality.