Time is arguably the most precious commodity we have, so why do we waste so much of it? Technological advancements afford us the great opportunity to save lots of time, but there are still some areas both in our personal and professional lives, where wasting time runs rampant. One area for most print buyers is the procurement and management of custom printing jobs.

The process for buying commercial printing has not really improved over the past few decades. The biggest change has been the advent of email to help speed the lines of communication, although clearly not enough, and it also presents some challenges of its own.

It typically takes 4-6 hours to source and manage each commercial printing project, when it should take less than one hour. This is simply unacceptable, especially given the added responsibilities and workload for today’s average print buyer. Another huge challenge is having to meet virtually impossible timelines.

There are two main time components for every commercial printing project. The first is the amount of time that a print buyer spends to source, procure, manage, and oversee a printing project, the second is the amount of time it takes for a vendor to complete a printing project.

Here are a few key print buying tips to help save time on both ends.

Printing Software

There are a few really good commercial printing software applications in the marketplace that save a tremendous amount of time. Of course, there are costs associated with the more sophisticated ones, but they are well worth it for print buyers with larger budgets. There are also some free printing applications available that streamline the print buying experience, and they are better geared towards print buyers that handle smaller volumes. These applications do much more than just save time. They also save money, improve visibility and accountability, and offer great reporting options.

Clean up those Custom Printing Specs

One of the most common yet simplest challenges to overcome is to ensure you send your vendors clean and complete specs. If you don’t, you are likely to lose hours or even days going back and forth with your print vendors trying to clarify what you are looking to produce. If you are unsure whether you have good printing specs, it’s probably best to call one of your trusted print vendors and discuss your project. The ultimate goal is to send out specs, and get printing quotes back without questions.

A Due Date for your Print Quotes

You should always include a submission due date when you send out a print request, even if your projects are not time sensitive. This will allow you to review all print quotes at the same time, as opposed to reviewing them as they come in. It also ensures that you receive your print quotes in a timely fashion, and when you need them. Always try to provide enough time, and make sure you stick to your due date, or it won’t be respected in the future.

Invite 3 to 5 Vendors to Quote your Print Projects

It’s important to get a few quotes to help ensure you are getting a fair price for your print projects; just make sure you don’t over do it. If you request too many quotes, it will take you more time to review and manage them, plus, you will discourage good vendors from quoting given the low percentage of orders that they are likely to receive. The key is to invite a few good print vendors to quote on your print projects, and distribute the work as equally as possible.

Ask for turnaround time at the print quoting stage

A great way to improve the turnaround time for your print projects, is to ask for an estimated turnaround time at the quoting stage. If you are really tight on time, ask them for their best turnaround time if they were to receive the files by a certain date. This will help you choose the best vendor for the job, based on budget and timelines; usually the two most important factors. It’s best not to reveal to print vendors when you actually need a project delivered; ask them to provide a date instead, in order to get a more honest answer.

Use a single email trail

In the absence of printing software, you should strive to communicate by email as much as possible to help with accountability through an electronic “paper” trail. Just make sure to stick to one email thread whenever possible, so you don’t have to go hunting for some important piece of information. It’s also very helpful if you use the name of your printing project in the subject line.

Enfigo strives to streamline the print buying process, which ultimately saves time, and improves turnaround. Contact us if you need help with any time saving techniques, or get an Instant Print Quote to start saving time today.