The average company pays 20%-40% more than they should on their print jobs simply because their specs are inefficient. In most cases, specs are loosely created based on an initial requirement, but over time become written in stone, or inherited from previous runs. Many media buyers don’t realize the impact a tiny tweak in specifications can have on the overall cost of a project, in addition to improving quality and turnaround in many cases. The trick is producing print jobs on the ideal equipment and using the best configuration.
How False Assumptions Lead to False Printing Quotes
Many clients falsely assume that their vendors are automatically thinking about optimizing the way their print jobs should be produced. Others believe that they have already found the best print solution based on their bidding efforts with a few printing vendors over the years. But, the biggest obstacle lies in the client’s mindset that specs are “written in stone” and therefore can never be changed. Therefore, clients rarely initiate ways to optimize their print jobs.
The Printing Industry is Complex… Really Complex
Vendors are not overenthusiastic about finding efficiencies for their clients, but are hardly to blame. There are hundreds of printing and bindery processes available in the market, which presents a challenge for most vendors who don’t have the best grip on all available solutions. The overwhelming concern for a typical print vendor is to fill capacity for the production machines that are on their floor, and therefore they are mostly familiar with these particular processes.
Furthermore, print vendors usually do not proactively look for efficiency options, and certainly not based on all the processes that are available in the printing market. They often take their client’s specs as “written in stone” or are simply not willing to go through such an extensive exercise, especially at the quoting stage where buyers can use this information and share it with other print vendors. It is simply not worth it!
Tips and Suggestions to Improve Printing Efficiency
Given the challenges on both sides, we recommend some effective strategies to achieve cost savings without compromising the quality and effectiveness of your projects. It is the media buyer who is in the best position to initiate such a process – after all, you are the client.
The following are some effective printing strategies that can help maximize efficiencies for your print jobs:
Be Flexible When Requesting a Printing Quote
One of the most common things that I have heard from media buyers over my career is that we need to quote the exact specifications because there is no flexibility. Furthermore, they are often not even open to suggestions. The main reason for this is to keep the various vendor bids consistent so that they can be compared “apples to apples”, although this stifles productivity and usually leads to paying more for print services.
Your best bet is to ask vendors to quote exact specs, but to also provide alternative print efficiency options separately. You will be surprised how quickly a 26% savings will have an effect on your stakeholders, especially when it is based on a very minor modification. This will also allow you to differentiate between a good vendor and a great vendor.
Loyalty is Key to Top Quality Printing Services
In all fairness, you cannot expect print vendors to commit extra time and resources if they don’t think it is worth their efforts. To be fair, it is best to not share one vendor’s suggestion with another vendor. You may even want to explicitly mention this to your vendors when you request a quote. The vendor with the best printing solution should ultimately win!
Take Charge of Your Print Jobs
Clients have become accustomed to relying on their vendors to find the best solution for their projects since they are perceived to be the print experts, but as we’ve learned, this is usually not the case. Your best option to ensure that your projects are being produced most efficiently is to tell your vendors how to produce them (isn’t that a switch!). There are a couple of options that allows you to take charge without having to learn everything about printing equipment.
Seek Independent Advice
You can hire an independent print consultant such as Procurity Group with no strings attached, although this is better suited for larger projects, minimum $5000+. You simply pay a set fee (a drop in the bucket compared to the savings you can achieve) with the peace of mind that the consultant’s only interest is to save you money, given that they are often paid a percentage of the savings that they help you achieve. They can also recommend the best print vendors for your print jobs based on the ideal equipment solution.
Consider Print Automation
Another option available is at the vendor level. Enfigo offers a Free Spec. Analysis for clients –that intend to work with them on a particular project (usually known after an initial quote is submitted). This is done through automation, leveraging their unique Production Optimization Application, which instantly considers all print processes available in the market, and chooses the most efficient solution. This can be done on your own if you know the lingo, or though one of their print experts, which is your best bet given their extensive production knowledge. The result is a summary report outlining all significant saving opportunities, in as little as 2 hours.
Money is Money; Don’t Throw Away Print Savings!
Print spend is a relatively small cost center compared to other indirect costs for most companies, so it typically flies under the radar. A company with a $5 million print spend can have multi-billion dollar revenues, so executives tend to see it as a drop in the bucket. You can hardly blame them – although if they knew they could save 40% by simply tweaking the specifications for their print jobs, they may think it through again. After all, $2 million is still significant, even for a multi-billion-dollar enterprise. You are much better off donating this money to a charity, as opposed to draining it on inefficiencies.
Try Enfigo’s Print Project Analysis to find the ideal printing solution for your print job. Our technology compares over 80 different processes, ensuring we find the most efficient one for your specific requirements.