Tag Archives: outsourcing

print management

5 benefits of print management companies

Continuing my theme on outsourcing I thought I’d delve into why organisations can really come out on top when they choose to work with a print management company. print management

What is print management?

And, what can a print management company do for you?

In essence they manage the purchasing of any print, mail and marketing item you generate.

Print management companies can help you save time and money on all print related activities.

Outsourcing your print and mailing such as invoicing, statements, cheques or corporate stationery items will ensure continuity of brand management, cost reduction and give you unlimited access to expertise.

What are the 5 benefits of working with a print management company?

It’s not expensive

Print management does cost money because there will be set up costs at the outset of the contract or project but what you need to remember is that a print management company will be managing many procurement activities for different organisations and companies this gives them leverage because they are purchasing on volume which in turn is passed down to you the customer in cost savings.

These savings would not be be achieved if the buying is done by many different departments and is managed locally rather than centrally.

Outsourcing will increase efficiencies and eliminate random iStock_000013524456Smallpurchasing.

Guaranteed cost savings

Organisations with in-house sourcing will never achieve the level of savings a print manager can offer, the function is not core to their business and there is likely to be a lack of print knowledge making sourcing the right product at the best price difficult.

Investment in print management software

Print management companies take advantage of the latest print management software solutions.

Print procurement technology enhances the business process by streamlining quoting, improving the print job process and using digital asset management as a central repository for marketing assets and documents.

Organisations do not have the budget nor the infrastructure to implement a print management procurement program but print management companies specifically aim to improve and invest in the technology to ensure customers can place orders online and all print jobs are managed accurately and delivered on time.

Accountability

Outsourcing to a print manager ensures that they are accountable print managementby being able to show cost savings through metrics and reports that include KPI’s and SLA’s  to demonstrate effectiveness.

Innovation

All organisations want to make sure that their printed communications and marketing collateral is at the forefront of their competition. print management

Print management companies provide innovation and creativity because of their expertise in design and print and because of their knowledge of the market place.

They keep up to date with advancements in the print industry and pass these developments on to you the customer.

Above all else, a print management company is impartial they are not tied to anyone manufacturer or supplier.

They will have cultivated an extensive network of supplier relationships developed over many years, based on trust, excellence and expertise, which cannot be achieved in-house.

The next time you are reviewing your print strategy and want to know how your company can make savings think print management! 

outsourcing

Dispelling the myths of outsourcing

Digital Print Management has been a long term advocate of outsourcing.outsourcing

But, surprisingly very few companies experience the real benefits of outsourcing because of failure in communication.

All too often relationships along with the contracts fail to meet the expectations of the customer.

Digital Print Management have often succeeded in winning contract work because of failure by the last incumbent.

Great for us but not a good advertisement for the industry in general.

What do I mean?

The three main reasons outsourcing fails are:-

  1. The company wanting to outsource has no process for specifying the work to be done.
  2. Poor project management from the provider and the company outsourcing
  3. No metrics or KPI’s for measuring success

outsource Unless you can specify and understand what you want as the party wanting to outsource how can you possibly expect the supplier to deliver your expectations?

You don’t need a detailed document that reads like War and Peace to make outsourcing successful but you do need to know what you expect to receive from the outsourcing process.

The worse scenario is the company decides to outsource a process and hires consultants to do the work for them assuming they know better than the organisation what is required and wasting money in the process.

Tell us what you need.

outsourceWe can do anything, just tell us what you need.

I’ve sat in many meetings talking with clients understanding what they are looking and hoping for when they are considering outsourcing.

Start with a blank sheet of paper, if you could have anything you wanted what would it be?

Eh voila, there it is, all the information you need to put together a specification.

The responsibility is on the shoulders of the company looking to outsource the business process.

But, the most important and missing piece is how do YOU want your customers to feel when they experience the process you’ve outsourced.

In other words it is your customer or the end user who will have the real benefit, experience or engagement with the business process you’ve outsourced not solely the organisation.

Outsourcing fails because the agreement is not properly structured, doesn’t take advantage of the outsource providers best practices, creativity and innovation.

It does not define the scope and service levels that meet your needs and there is no communication.

When it is well planned, outsourcing relationships provide and deliver substantial benefits to an organisation and not solely cost savings.

Why would I want to outsource my payroll or HR department?

outsourcing payroll

Outsourcing doesn’t have to result in a whole department being outsourced.

Although I’ve discussed payroll outsourcing before emphasis has been on the physical process of outsourcing the complete department and not some of the components of payroll and HR.

There is a genuine misconception that outsourcing a part of the overall process won’t be cost effective or indeed that outsourcing yields little or no return on investment.

Two questions that need to be asked by organisations prior to considering outsourcing and way before costs are considered are:-

How could outsourcing work for us? Do we need to outsource?

Here is an alternative that can work and delivers results that are measurable.

Why not consider automating a process rather than outsourcing a whole department?

What do I mean?

Organisations can decide to outsource a department to a third party company de-congesting them of non core business activities but what if an organisation wants to maintain control of the payroll department but only outsource some of the more time consuming tasks?

For many small to medium sized organisations payroll and HR come under the same umbrella with payroll and HR engaging in tasks that might otherwise be department specific in larger organisations.

One of the primary reasons companies outsource their payroll function is to eliminate non core business tasks that don’t add any tangible benefit to a company’s bottom line.

In-house administration of payroll and HR requires on-going compliance and staff resources. Outsourcing can provide a continuum of expertise and knowledge in HR and Payroll as part of the outsource process, administering this in-house can be costly.

HR departments can be bureaucratic, obstructive and often stuck in the comfort zone of form filling and being seen to support the strategic process of an organisations objectives but not always aligned with the company’s goals.

The other side of the coin is that HR provides senior management with employee information in relation to business development, staffing resources needed for business mergers, acquisitions or restructuring of the business.

HR departments are under increasing pressure to ensure that the service they deliver is efficient and cost effective. There are many manual functions that are fulfilled by HR department’s – employee contracts, appraisals, health and safety, pension documents, new employee inductions, absence reporting documentation, employee communications and document knowledge management.

Whilst the relationship between HR and its employees is a core business function and important for on-going employee relations, the payroll, tax and pension administration and HR compliance are not. iStock_000019367513Small

What part should I outsource?

Payslip printing, e-payslips and multi-channel distribution automation without outsourcing the whole department

Payroll departments who want to maintain control of their main core functions but wish to outsource their payslip printing, e-payslips and distribution can certainly benefit from relinquishing themselves from this process.

Outsourcing the print and distribution of payslips can save from 3-5 days of processing internally reducing the time it takes to handle this task enabling payroll managers to better redistribute their resources to handle employee queries rather than stacking the printer with paper, folding and inserting.

When managing this process internally how do you ensure confidentiality? How do you make sure employees don’t see each other’s pay information?

Outsourcing a payroll departments printing makes it easier to manage.

Processing and distributing payslips and p60s is one of the easier more straightforward aspects that lends itself to outsourcing. Confidentiality is maintained and security is foremost making payroll managers jobs easier.

payroll outsourcingHR automation without outsourcing the whole department

HR Managers are either driving staff recruitment or managing a decrease in staffing levels and temporary contracts. HR teams deal with many documents most of which are in paper format that are required to be filed, archived and stored.

Automation of some of the HR departments tasks not only adds value to the company’s bottom line but ensures the HR process is streamlined and efficient.

By automating accessibility to key employee documents reduces storage and paper usage and by providing secure access to these documents ensures that documents are managed to conform to compliance needs. Your HR system doesn’t need to be replaced but it can be enhanced by using an electronic filing cabinet and automating some of the more mundane processes associated with HR departments such as:-

Applications

Applications for jobs can be submitted in any media from email, web and post and CVs along with covering letters can be entered into the system making review easier and more streamlined. Approved applications are stored and tagged for appropriate skills and then routed to the line manager.

Interview processing

Predefined and digitally stored letters can be populated and produced for interview invitations. Feedback from the interview is stored in one location making it easier for managers to review.

Offer or rejection

Workflows send acceptance or rejection notifications to the HR department which in turn generates the contracts with the predefined terms such as salary, offer or rejection letters are automatically generated and sent to the applicants.

Inductions

Once a candidate has accepted an offer, departments can be notified of a new starter ensuring that all employment documentation and related tasks are completed prior to the commencement date.

Employee

Training, employee development, performance review, grievance logging and holiday booking forms can be saved electronically in one centralised location.

Leavers

Automated management of the leaving process ensures that employment records are automatically archived, company equipment is returned and retention policies ensure destruction of employee documentation at the appropriate time.

In both payroll printing and HR automation:

  • The productivity curve is improved and shortened
  • Workload reduced in both departments
  • Expertise in payslip printing and HR automation
  • Flexibility
  • Processing costs reduced
  • Establish consistent repeatable processes
  • Duplication errors reduced

For more information click here

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How to outsource your employee P60 printing but you don't know where to start?

p60 and payslip printing

Outsourcing your payslip and P60 printing is an effective way of reducing the headaches in your payroll department.

Why should you use an outsourcing service and are there any tangible benefits?

Outsourcing payslip printing and p60s will save time and reduce the hassle of keeping on top of one of the most complex and daunting tasks for any business, it will also ensure your staff are paid accurately, on time, every time and free them up to concentrate on business related tasks.

To make sure your supplier achieves this you need a reliable partner who can demonstrate they can deliver for you.

With p60s omnipresent I’ve put together some of the most frequently asked questions by customers during the investigation phase to help you along your payslip and p60 printing  journey.

But first here is a quick recap to the benefits of outsourcing:-

  • Experience in delivering the services you need.
  • Expertise in the area or areas in which you operate.
  • Support to help you with any queries you may have during the implementation process and beyond.
  • Technology that can deliver the job now and in the future as efficiently as possible.
  • The flexibility to meet your changing business needs over time.
  • Concise and accurate pricing giving you get the best value for money ensuring you pay for what you need when you need it.

I want to outsource our employee p60 and payslip printing but I don’t know how to start?p60 and payslip printing

It’s not a complicated process if you follow the steps below.

A good provider will discuss and understand your internal processes, how the data files are generated, what system(s) you use and if you already have an existing layout of the p60s, to timescales and deliverables and agree an implementation brief and specification so all parties are working from the same document.

Before you embark on the process of outsourcing your payslips and p60s you need to have a clearly defined set of objectives and a specification that can be presented to the incumbent suppliers during the selection process.

It doesn’t have to be a long winded document on the life and times of the organisation but should include a simple overview of the payroll department as follows:-

  • How many employees work in the company?
  • Are they located centrally or in branch offices?
  • How many p60s are you likely to process and want posted or delivered back to your organisation?
  • What timescales are you looking at? Consider starting with the end in mind for example if your p60s historically get despatched mid April then work back from that date and establish when the data files are prepared ready for printing.
  • Are there likely to be any changes from the HMRC which could slow down the process or require you to make amendments to the current p60 slip?

I only want to outsource our company p60s is that possible?

Yes. Many companies process and print their payslips and ancillary documents in-house but p60s are a time driven task often tieing up payroll departments unnecessarily at a peak time during the year. Simply outsourcing this task can reduce the burden on your payroll department and free up time for staff to concentrate on dealing with everyday payroll queries. Because p60s happen once a year it makes sense to consider removing this task from payroll and as long as you follow the steps above it is a straight-forward process.

payslip and p60 printingI’m worried about the timing, how will I know that my p60s will go out on time?

Firstly make sure you have a clear and planned outline of when they are required to be printed and despatched. It is also a good idea to have what I call a fall back date in other words date 1 is the ideal date you are working toward getting your p60s out the door, date 2 is the very latest date you fall back on should there be any problems with you generating the information you need for the p60s or you have some technical issue which means your despatch window becomes smaller.

The p60 deadline for 2014 is 31st May by which time every company employee should have received a p60.

Agreeing with the supplier the dates and deliverables ensures that all parties are working toward those dates. It is no good agreeing dates and then forwarding a test file two weeks after the agreed date and then expecting a live file to be processed on time.

In my experience companies need to be aware of the impact of missing deadlines. Suppliers can accommodate your wishes but it is a big ask and usually invokes a best endeavour approach.

You have to be realistic and set expectations that your supplier can work to, moving and changing timescales when you are well into the implementation phase makes it very difficult for your objectives to be achieved so bear that in mind.

If you believe you will miss the deadlines due to internal issues then advise your supplier at the earliest so they can re-schedule and work with you.

How do I find the right supplier? payslip printing checklist

There are many companies that can provide outsourcing payroll services. A google search for ‘payslip printing services’ or ‘p60 printing’ will give you a number of options.

The key is to research the services on offer, read what is on their website, look at any relevant articles and evaluate the services, do they meet your key criteria?

When you have a minimum of three potential suppliers contact them via telephone or website and request a call back with more information and details. Using the questions above will tailor the information you get during the conversation. Set up either a site visit to the production facility or request that a consultant visits you to talk through your brief. The next stage will be to get indicative pricing; either you will make a decision solely on price which is unwise or you’ll agree internally on a process of elimination and end up with 2 potential suppliers that you are keen to have further exploratory discussions with.

At this stage you must be absolutely clear what your criteria of selection is for determining which supplier you intend to work with.

We’ve never outsourced before and I’m worried about data security, what compliancy should I be looking for?

I would advise that you work with an ISO27001 accredited production facility where files sent via SFTP, a secure mode of transmission can be accepted. After all, you are outsourcing your employees payroll information. Ensuring that payslips and p60s will be processed accurately, securely and confidentially should be key to your selection process.

What else can I do to ensure the supplier can deliver the service we asked for?

Ask questions, no matter how trivial they might sound they are important and relevant to you. The surest way is to visit the production facility and follow the process through from start to finish if you are happy that the supplier can show you a comprehensive, secure facility and can demonstrate work they do for other companies along with case studies and references then your evaluation is complete.

How do we go about implementing the project?

The right supplier will effectively manage the project from start to finish for you. Reminding you of key dates and deadlines thus justifying their service pricing and reducing the headaches for you. In turn you must be prepared to respond quickly to any queries and make sure the supplier has every bit of information they need to ensure the successful implementation of your project.

We only want a short-term payroll solution?

Although p60s come but once a year companies often need help with fluctuating peak times in payroll where there is a requirement for part-time or casual employees such as christmas time.

Outsourcing your payslip printing for 3- 6 months makes outsourcing an ideal choice for organisations. There is a long held belief that outsourcing involves a long drawn out contractual process and a minimum requirement of three years applicable to I.T outsourcing or payroll function but for print and mail requirements outsourcing can provide a great cost effective short-term solution.

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The best of 2013. How to outsource all in one place

The penultimate day of 2013 sitting at my office desk reflecting on the year that has been. iStock_000025583727Small

How quickly we seem to slip from one year to the next.

A time to be melancholic or a time to be reflective?

Looking back on this time last year and my final blog for 2012, I can recall putting it together and what I was thinking at the time.

Shame that the short-term memory isn’t quite as good as the long term one!

Philosophical yes.

The economy is shifting marginally and there is some optimism but we still have some way to go.

iStock_000014895105XSmallIrrespective of how good or bad the year has been it’s always a good thing to look forward with optimism.

It’s a time to plan. I don’t do new year’s resolutions I think they are waste of time I prefer setting some goals broken down into personal – family and health goals, business and company goals, family and friends and finally house goals – what I want to get sorted in the house for 2013.

That way I can attribute dates with a realistic time line and do my best to achieve them.

For my final blog, the best of 2013 I wanted to continue the theme I started at the end of 2012 with a summary of the various articles written throughout 2013.

This year’s articles have been focussed on helping companies get the best from outsourcing whether it is print and mailing services , hybrid mail solutions, cheque printing and payroll processing and printing.

In May, I introduced you to 3D printing, used extensively in motor manufacturing and F1 Motor Racing R & D, it has some way to go before it becomes mainstream.

It will become increasingly useful to organisations over the next 3-5 years. The difficulty for organisations will be understanding how and what applications 3D printing can be used for.

The benefits will be unprecedented. Being able to print 1 of anything or a prototype of a new product, think direct mail applications, mailings to your customers demonstrating a new product.

Remember when digital print first hit the mainstream? Then apply the same thought process to 3D printing!

Cross media marketing and print

Cross media marketing what is it and where does it fit in with social media and print?

The growing phenomenon of cross media marketing personalisation is having a positive impact on print. It has been mainstream for some 2-3 years but companies are uncertain how to implement it alongside a marketing plan.

Paper is becoming the first touch point of engagement with the customer before taking them on to a digital or social platform.

Marketing personalisation and social media will become increasingly important to a companies’ marketing and strategic planning process when it comes to personalised engagement with it’s targeted audience.

If you click on the link you can read why it will be important to you:

What is marketing personalisation & what does it have to do with social media?

Mailing out a direct mail piece to your customers with no thought or personalisation will be ineffective in seeking customer engagement.

The cross media marketing mix has to be strategic, personalised on a level the audience can relate to and be part of your social media activity. If you hit the button below I discuss it in more detail:

Please click here to read more

I’ve extolled the virtues of multi-channel distribution – using both paper and electronic means of delivering an item to your customer.

The paperless office?

I think we still have some way to go to get there and I cannot be an advocate of a paperless office, paper has an intrinsic value in our everyday lives and you can read my opinion here:

Why print has longevity

It is foolhardy to perpetuate the myth that electronic delivery methods save organisations time and money – it does not.

The important thing is to develop and understand the reasons for moving to electronic means of delivering messages to your customers.

A well thought out plan and strategy will see that paper and electronic are essential to maintaining good relations with your customers.

You can read why here:

Print, digital and the cross media marketing mix

Social media communication concept

If there is one thing I try to convey to customers and readers alike is to make sure you research and evaluate suppliers.

Your relationship should be a marriage and not a relationship based on convenience.

Adopting a “get the cheapest supplier” attitude is doomed to failure so why bother with the headache.

This article sums it up:

Top tips for choosing the right print supplier

So that’s it. I hope you’ve enjoyed reading the best of the rest.

Thank you for visiting Digital Print Management’s blog and for reading and sharing the content through Linkedin, twitter, facebook and Google+, for taking the time to add your comments.

I hope that 2014 will be a successful year and may you continue to prosper financially and spiritually.

My final note for the year:

“A pessimist sees the difficulty in every opportunity, an optimist sees the opportunity in every difficulty” Winston Churchill

A good mantra to adopt for 2014, don’t you think?

Happy New Year.

Happy New Year.

 

 

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Top tips for choosing the right printing company

 

outsource print

How do you choose the right printing company?

Confronted with so many potential suppliers how do you decide which printing company to choose for your print requirements or how do you outsource your payslip printing?

How do you find the right service provider when there are so many to choose from?

Which one do you select and what selection criteria do you employ?

Until recently, companies did not pay much attention to the way they reviewed their print strategies and requirements. Little or no consideration for cost was given to the various print devices, paper, supplies, general print and consumables being ordered on a daily basis.

All that changed with the onset of the financial crisis.

Companies are more aware of the need to review their print requirements.

The biggest problem is that company executives or department heads have no idea how much it is really costing them to process, print and mail out a plethora of items each week.

They have no idea of the overall cost of their print bill, the quantity of supplies they get through in a week, the number of suppliers they are using and the time spent resolving hardware problems.

Money is wasted by the continued use of unnecessary devices, obsolete hardware, staff spending time on print and I.T issues resulting in hours being lost to dealing with different vendors and suppliers.

Many companies are now appreciating the benefit of an outsourced print service reducing the complexity of managing various suppliers and spiralling in-house costs and managing print and distribution in-house.

Outsourcing print whether to a print management services company see here or by adopting a managed print service here requires knowledge and understanding of what your organisation is trying to achieve.

Too often buyers focus on one thing only and that is PRICE.

Unfortunately choosing on price alone results in the customer being dissatisfied with the quality, service or the end product.

print outsourcing business documemts

Price should not be the only consideration when evaluating suppliers and/or vendors.

“We are buying on price only” or “we want the cheapest solution” are typical of the current climate.

The buyer can not expect a great quality product or service if he/she is buying on price alone.

To then add value to a service or product so the customer benefits becomes an impossible task.

Most companies don’t want the hassle of sourcing suppliers to manage their print, payroll or billing few know where to start looking or what considerations need to be taken into account when outsourcing.

Print is the end product – from printed payslips and invoices, cheques, direct mail to the use of MFPD’s multi-functional print devices managed in-house, all deliver paper in some shape or format and not many companies are equipped to research and employ print services that will save them money.

What is happening in the market place?

It is a print buyers haven, assuming they have the knowledge to purchase print or skills to outsource the required business function.

Print management companies, print suppliers/consumables, vendors and manufacturers are desperate to win work at any cost and the buyer can get what they want at a price they are prepared to pay.

Companies seeking these services are going to market lacking the skills required to source the right partner to work with.

Print checklist20 point checklist of tips to think about before choosing your print supplier

Before you even consider the following list you need to think about the services you require?

Have an approval criteria or list of what you are looking for notably:-

Are you wanting to outsource all your corporate print from letter-headings to billing and payslip printing? (Print Management)

Are you looking to reduce the number of print devices and print in-house (Managed Print Services)

Are you looking to reduce the cost of one specific area of print such as your billing or cheque and payment processing?

Once you know what it is you are trying to achieve then the following list will provide a useful guideline, it is by no means complete or exhaustive.

1. Choose a company that can offer innovative solutions capable of adapting to your business environment.

2. That can/will provide ongoing support, consultation and recommendations that take into account your evolving business needs.

3. That has a complete solution for your requirements i.e if you are outsourcing your payslip printing you might want to adopt multi-channel distribution that includes printing and sending them electronically.

4. Offers best in class service and delivery, experienced personnel, good operational processes and protocols particularly if you are outsourcing cheque printing. 

5. Check the quality of the work – what do they do, what is their niche and how will they deliver the service to you.

6. Technically competent – will the incumbent supplier be able to deliver what they say they can?

7. Is the proposed supplier financially stable?

8. Is the supplier reliable – will they fulfil/deliver the product/service in a timely manner?

9. Are they enthusiastic – can they demonstrate the extent of their knowledge of the product or service they are proposing?

10. Does the structure of the company indicate reliability and longevity in other words they aren’t going to disappear in 6 months time.print checklist

11. Do they have experienced personnel capable of advising beyond printing for example print management companies do more than just manage your print they are multi-channel partners they can provide expertise on direct marketing, SMS, data management, social media and promotional gift items.

12. Do ask for case studies and testimonials from current customers to authenticate the suppliers statements.

13. Don’t make your decision solely on price – cheap prices mean inferior quality and service.

14. Ask as many questions as possible no matter how trivial to ensure you are confident in the future service.

15. Establish what other services the supplier can provide this is useful for any future business/company developments you might have. For example they might provide direct marketing print and design capability or can advise you on your social media marketing strategy.

16. Visit the site or manufacturing premises – is it secure if printing cheques and payslips? If it’s a managed print solution ask to visit a managed site to establish how it works or request a reference site to discuss how the company are benefiting from MPS (managed print service)

17. Check the reputation of the supplier – ask for a client list and check the website what do they talk about, what services are they advertising?

18. Ask for a trial run for example can the print company offer to print some basic items free of charge? If it’s an outsource service such as payslip printing ask the supplier if they are able to take a data file and provide a print out for a minimum fee so you experience the service first hand.

19. Use social media to see how your supplier engages with its audience. Do they offer expert advice and help in the form of great content, are they on all the social media networks?

20. Be loyal to your print provider or outsource partner. Once you have found the right printing company or partner keep them. Having a good relationship will ensure you can look to them for all manner of printed or outsourced information and advice and in turn they are more likely to offer you discounts, give you a first class service and provide additional services.

Are there any criteria you would use in addition to the above?

How did you find your print partner and how successful has the relationship been?

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Print outsourcing business documents

Print outsourcing business documents

Managing and understanding your document flow will imrpove business processes

Every organisation public or private, education or charity faces the ever growing challenges of how to manage the printing and document processes in their work place.

Documents inflow or outflow, hard copy or electronic are the life blood of many organisations.

You only have to walk through office buildings to see the extent of document use its related workflow and how they are the embodiment of our everyday lives.

A document that’s been printed, a glossy brochure presented to a customer, even a business card, the document remains the formal method of business communication between employees, teams and customers.

Without any of this information the continuity of your business would cease to function.

Therefore the value of adding control to the print flow is paramount in ensuring continuity of your business.

Any business document outsourcing strategy needs to be well thought out.

Some questions to consider:-

1. How are your business processes affected by information and document management?

A document process forms a business process. By understanding the life cycle of a document for example, how does it enter the building via fax, email or mail then moves into the workflow of the business, is then processed and finally archived or sent back to suppliers or customers.

2. Where do you want your company or organisation to be in the next 3-5 years?

Do you want to improve core business processes?

Streamline and improve supplier payments (AP and AR) have a specific targeted marketing campaign, improve customer services?

If the answer is yes then you will need to prioritise your business documents.

print outsourcing business documemts

Outsourcing business documents – improve business efficiency

 

Invoice processing and billing is a key fundamental business process, without your invoices going out on time money wont be collected, suppliers will chase payment before the company has been paid, your business starts to falter.

Does marketing have the relevant collateral – corporate print, brochures, letter headings does it tell the same story or are there too many different documents with incorrect colours all relating a different story.

Are the corporate colours reflected across the company website?

These are primary examples of the importance of managing your business documents but you will need to engage on a deeper level to understand your document processes and how they move through the business process.

Print outsourcing business documents whether its customer sales letters, invoices, statements, remittances or marketing collateral can transform a paper laden business.

How?

outsource your printed business documentsOutsourcing business documents provides continuity and consistency of quality across the departments within your company because it increases customer retention, improves productivity and reduces operating costs by allowing your people to focus on your core business.

Outsourcing adds a greater range of services that you wouldn’t have had previously because the supplier providing the printing and mailing service can offer advice on how best to deliver content and maximise the use of white space.

Making the case for outsourcing some or all of these documents couldn’t be easier here’s why?

  1. Improved cash flow – seasonal fluctuations, staff absences,  I.T. failures can all impact your invoice printing which impacts your cash flow
  2. Improved customer service – communicating with your customers regularly with content that is correct has never been more important. Making sure the documents they receive are accurate relevant and on time increases the longevity of retaining your customer
  3. Reducing paper wastage a contentious issue for many businesses but by outsourcing critical business documents and using mail merge facilities and document verification on all mailings ensures that documents are consolidated into one envelope
  4. Reduce cost by improving competitiveness of the organisation through more efficient I.T and business systems, specialist knowledge, streamlining business processes resulting in your staff  engaged in core business activities rather than mundane document generation which is easy to outsource.

Outsourcing printed business documents can incorporate multi-channel distribution of all your documents some of which can be printed and mailed, the rest electronically sent to the recipient. To learn more about how this could work for you click here.

If you print personalised transactional business documents – invoices, statements, reminders, appointment letters then talk to us about print outsourcing. You can print all of the above and more using our print-2-mail service click here for more details without leaving your desk, its easy.

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How to survive 2013! Keeping ahead of the competition.

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With the growth of the economy in reverse mode and the Chancellor exclaiming that it’s going to take longer to recover from the financial crisis (although the national debt has reduced) companies will be striving to look at ways of streamlining their operations and improving efficiency.

There’s an argument that suggests the more economically challenged the economy is the greater opportunities there are to be exploited.

Only the strong succeed, losers need not apply spring to mind. Therefore our business objectives need to include a strong will, being well prepared and persistence.

The companies who include the above in their business objectives are likely to survive the global doom and come out on top on the other side.

Recently one company/manufacturer with a turnover of £10 million+ told me “we’ve tried everything, we’ve exhausted every possibility, the business is as solid as it can be given the current climate but no-one is buying anything. You can’t sell if people can’t buy because they haven’t been given a budget.”

Are you keeping a close eye on your profit? All well and good looking at the cash value in the bank but are you making a profit. There is always something companies can do to make sure they are running a tight ship and are as efficient as they can be.

There is no magic wand to fix the erring global economy and for many businesses survival is making it from one month to the next; one week to the next.

The companies that win are those who lead, take the initiative and are not afraid.

Businesses that remain focussed use initiative and aren't afraid will fare well in 2013.

Businesses that remain focussed use initiative and aren’t afraid will fare well in 2013.

Here are some points to consider:-

1. Rely on on no one – does this sound cynical? Success will not happen until you accept that no one thing or no one person is the cause of your problems and only you can make your goals happen.

2. It’s unlikely that the economy is suddenly going to do a u-turn anytime soon so its important to make sure we are aware of any industry changes that might have an impact on our business or us personally. Make yourself invaluable to your company (as an employee) and to your customers by being visible and offering solutions even if they are not in the frame of mind to consider it. At least it demonstrates entrepreneurial intent and that you have the customers best interests at heart.

3. Be more pro-active. Just when you think you’ve exhausted all avenues talk to other businesses, colleagues, associates and customers. Find out what they are doing, how are they generating business, what marketing initiatives have they deployed that you might not have done yet? Set small goals and tick them off when they are done. It could be a change in the workflow process that can make all the difference to increasing your profit margin.

4. Be upbeat – at the start of this year the majority of businesses we spoke to were. There was a sense of optimism in the air, sales were being done and and then along came the greek crisis and kicked everyone out of touch. Nothing like a bad bit of economic news to knock businesses. Being upbeat and optimistic separates us from the rest of the “done-in” crowd.

Each day our world is rocked by events that are either unplanned or completely unexpected by staying focussed and working to a plan keeps us calm and less stressed.

5. Be ever present everywhere. Now is not the time to live in obscurity. Let potential customers know you are there. Have a social media strategy, showcase your company with up to date content on your website, tell your companies success stories and share your success openly.

Jon Baker, business coach and sales trainer encapsulates all the above in his great blog here. And I recommend you read it.

It defines the importance of keeping focussed and why we are actually in business and these things are sometimes forgotten when we are in the thick of things.

6. What if you’ve lost that va va voom; the passion you need that gives you the reason to get up in the morning. I think Jon sums up it up beautifully here.

Finally…

If you no longer enjoy what you are doing then its time to take a good look and understand why.

If you no longer enjoy what you are doing then its time to take a good look and understand why.

If you’re not enjoying what you are doing then you need to take a long hard look at the reasons why.

Be honest with yourself and if the job or the business is not working and you’ve exhausted every avenue; if the passion has gone completely and you are not motivated to continue, then its time to take a long hard look and make a decision about whether you continue.

Could it be there is no longer a market or niche for your products or services in which case is it time to cut your losses and ship on out. Sometimes things happen for a reason and events are out of our hands.

This is not being negative its being a realist. Too many companies bury their heads in the sand and think the next week or month will be better when the profit and loss sheet tell a different story.

What do you think?

How are you keeping ahead of the economy?

What tactics have you employed to get through the downturn?

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Outsourcing Business Processes. Why outsource?

A necessary business evil or not?

The term outsourcing immediately conjures up a feeling of fear, creates a sense of foreboding and there tends to be a general misconception that it will lead to redundancies. Factor in a lack of awareness or understanding of the benefits that can actually be derived from outsouricng a particular business function or process of your organisation and you can understand why people pale in front of you when the “O” word is mentioned.

There are 12 good reasons why a company might like to consider outsourcing here!

As companies expand in size and in operations, management must become more focussed on core business activities and consider whether non essential, non core business activities can be outsourced to vendors who can provide the specialisation lacking in-house.

What is outsourcing?

Outsourcing some of your business processes can save you time and money!

Outsourcing some of your business processes can save you time and money! 

Outsourcing business processes is when you contract out a business function either a task, role or process to a third party over a substantial period of time.  The outsource provider ostensibly takes control of the function and becomes responsible for managing its effectiveness and ultimately its success.

Outsourcing has become synonymous with large enterprises who offshore manufacturing or call centre operations to remote providers based in China or India.

This is not a viable option for the SME or for organisations wanting to outsource maybe one or two business processes. An effective and cost saving option is to consider “nearshoring” the process by which a company outsources to a local service provider (when I say local I am referring to a UK based provider)

Outsourcing core business processes may save you money, note I suggest the word may. The success of the process and its overall effectiveness must be clearly defined and managed and there are some guidelines to consider here!

An outsourcing partner can give you flexibility and the help you need to manage growth this is offset with the benefits you derive by offering your business access to outside expertise and technologies without having to make massive investments in infrastructure change and maintenance. Outsourcing can be scaled to suit the changing needs of your business.

Why outsource?

If you have found yourself asking the:-

  • are my resources being used effectively?
  • are my current resources capable of supporting new technology?
  • is there a better and more efficient way of handling our processes?
  • do the employees have the operational expertise to manage the tasks internally?
  • what is this all really costing the business?

Then the benefits of outsourcing can be great.

Capital for start ups is limited and outsourcing some of your business processes can ensure you know exactly what your on-going monthly costs will be allowing you to allocate much needed funds to the development of the business.

Consider these points:-

How?

  1. Will outsourcing allow my business to focus on its strengths?
  2. Will it improve efficiency of the business?
  3. Will your business gain a competitive advantage?
  4. Will it save me money?

How will outsourcing help me?

Firstly it will focus you and the business on what the company specialises in providing it’s customers, here I mean the core business function, whether it’s making hats and shoes or screws and plugs. You wont be distracted into unproductive and non-profit making business activities.

Internal resources will be re-directed and re-focussed into core business activity.

Migration to new technologies without you having to make investment internally reduces the risk of bad purchasing, minimum downtime and productivity ensuring that a move to newer technologies is minimal.

In any outsourcing partnership risk is further reduced because the outsource partner will have disaster recovery and back up mechanisms in place providing a rapid response to any problem that besets your company.

Points to consider

Think through what you need and how the company will benefit!

  • What process(es) are you thinking of outsourcing and why?
  • Weigh the costs of doing it in-house VS outsourcing
  • Consider a consultant to help you set up a service provider
  • Consider what the on-going costs would be if you don’t outsource it
  • Are you prepared to invest in the time and management of the outsourcing relationship?
  • Do you have realistic expectations?
  • Are you outsourcing a key function which you really should keep in-house?
  • Finally weigh up the risks of outsourcing VS managing the process in-house!

Whatever your decision, outsourcing or keeping the process in-house, you will need to consider the cost implications and the longer term impact on your business.

One final thing.

To reap true, tangible cost savings the process must be carefully managed and monitored. In other words the relationship must be built on trust, knowledge, security and ultimately become a partnership! Much like a marriage!

What do you think?

Have you outsourced a component of your business?

How successful was it?

Would you do it again?

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For more information about how to outsource click here

Invoice Processing. 5 Great Ways to Reduce Your Paper-Flow

How to cut the cost of your invoice processing?

Many organisations are challenged by wanting to break free from invoice processing which can be a slow and costly paper based system.

Accounts Payable departments are constantly being challenged to cut operating costs whilst ensuring invoices are paid promptly. Manual AP processes are costing companies on average £2-£4 per invoice that’s a staggering on-going cost for a company who may be thinking they are managing the invoice paper flow!

A typical manual process includes:-

  • Invoices come into the company from different suppliers or cost centres in different layouts and delivery formats – post, fax, email, EDI
  • They are forwarded to the relevant person responsible for that invoice
  • There is a longer lead time due to manual routing, processing and sign off procedures
  • Inefficiencies due to time spent matching the invoice to the Purchase order, verifying, approving and signing off for payment
  • Inability to maximise discount benefits associated with early payments
  • If it exceeds the company’s limited amount it may well have to go to senior management for verification
  • If approved the invoice is then input into the accounting system ready for payment
  • Archive costs for compliance and accounts audits
Typically, there may well be invoice queries, is the vendor valid, is the invoice correct and does it match the PO or is it a duplicate invoice?

Why automate?

  1. By automating the process you gain a complete overview of the AP function using an end-to-end invoice management system of all processes and any financial implications.
  2. By capturing the invoice information using an intelligent capture tool allows extraction of invoice data whilst at the same time updating your ERP accounts system with no manual entry
  3. Consolidation and reconciliation of purchase orders, invoices and payments are automated which helps manage allocations, cashflow and payments
  4. Invoice processing automatically matches and verifies scanned invoices with PO’s
  5. The invoice process is improved because it is centralised so up to date live information is made available to the accounts team at every stage of the AP process

How does adopting an AP strategy reduce my paper flow?

It is the start toward adopting an ebilling strategy for your organisation.

Automating the processing of invoices and choosing to integrate a straight-forward workflow and document management software with your existing systems will remove manual and repetitive workloads.

Using a centralised accounts payable process integrated into your current systems provides:-

  • Automatic allocation of the right invoice to the relevant transaction
  • Automatically post invoices for payment
  • Automatically queue exceptions for handling
  • Deliver information on exceptions to the AP desktop
  • Make payment status available to everyone instantly
  • Adopt a push ebilling strategy where your customers don’t have to come to your Portal or website (Pull ebilling)

What are the major benefits?

  1. Reduce invoice processing costs
  2. Time savings
  3. Exceptions resolved quickly
  4. Supplier conflict resolution
  5. Early payment discounts
  6. Reduced supplier inquiries
  7. No double handling

Do you have a complete view of your AP process?

  • Do you wish your accounts payable function was a streamlined automated function giving you total control?
  • Do you know how many invoices you have outstanding?
  • Do you know how much money you owe?
  • Where in the system are the exceptions and and how many?
  • Who are the problematic suppliers?

Digital Print Management provide open solutions and our systems can be extended to include the automation of any business process.

If you want to discover how easy the transformation to an automated Accounts Payable system can be then get in touch.

COMING NEXT IN OUR SERIES OF ARTICLES FEATURING INVOICE PROCESSING WILL BE ACCOUNTS RECEIVABLES AND WE WILL SHOW YOU HOW TO SPEED UP THE PROCESS OF ALLOCATING YOUR PAYMENTS.

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