The print category is a very unique category within the marketing space. The broad range of specification details and production requirements combined with the fluctuating market conditions results in a tremendously complex category to manage. Our experience within the print material space has lead us to understand the nuances and develop a systematic approach to identifying the optimal solutions that meet and exceed your organization's various print needs. Our approach effectively manages the print material sourcing process and involves:

1.       Understanding the current state of the category
·       Collect the specification details relating to the category and discuss the print profile, frequency, and sizes.
·       Take the time to listen to both the stakeholder and supplier team members, and understand the challenges, behavior drivers, and future plans.
·       Assess relationships with existing incumbent print suppliers by understanding how the supplier relationships came to be and how the relationship has evolved over time. Identify what capabilities are being utilized and what offerings remain untouched.

2.       Developing a scope of work
·       Gather all specifications and technical details regarding the print materials including job volumes and expected turnaround times. Truly understand the value-adds that cannot be quantified.

3.       Identifying opportunities
·       Print what you need when you need it and save on warehousing and bulk printing costs by switching to print on demand services to eliminate overages.

4.       Decoupling the paper portion of the scope and leverage a paper brokerage
·       Paper may constitute 50% of your total invoice. Take the time to understand the components of print material and limit time spent negotiating with individual vendors.
·       Eliminate unnecessary costs by leveraging volume for preferred pricing and combined shipping services.

5.       Identifying potential supplier alternates who are able to support the scope of work
·       Ensure potential solutions address the evolving needs of the marketing category within the stakeholder organization and are able to provide high-quality services and value-adds.

6.       Establishing RFX documents and supplier bid packages
·       Leverage the scope of work to describe the print job or jobs to ensure accuracy. Incomplete print specifications lead to not only misunderstanding and uncertainty but ultimately inaccurate bids and false savings.
·       The Request for Proposal documents should include scope details based on historical and/or forecasted job volumes, in addition to capability and capacity requirements involving the print management supply chain and qualitative expectations.

7.       Gathering participant proposals and analyze responses
·       Assess bids based on the breakdown of pricing details to ensure all cost components are captured.
·       Scorecard participants qualitative and quantitative responses based on predetermined selection criteria to identify supplier finalists and total opportunity.

8.       Negotiating pricing with Print suppliers
·       Leverage the RFP responses to ensure you're getting the very best prices for the print services and materials.

9.       Establishing supplier agreement
·       Include contract best practices and provisions to effectively measure performance (including Service Levels), as ongoing performance drives the success of a relationship.

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Gabriella Bittner

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