Tag Archives: Print Management Services

How do you choose the right print management services company for your cross media marketing?

print management services

In my last blog I talked about how print is changing in the face of digital competition and how working with a print management partner will become an important part of the multi-media process rather than a supplier of all things print.

The role of print management services is evolving to provide consultative expertise on how to optimise your print and marketing content, which channels are best used to distribute your communications, how to reduce postal costs and optimise print related communications to drive faster customer response times.

Print management providers have access to pre-qualified and certified supplier network for printing, fulfilment, marketing, database and design services.

iStock_000019746282SmallOrganisations are realising that having a broader overview of their business processes helps them focus on making improvements from content and document creation to how the message is delivered to its audience.

All of which create benefits that extend well beyond mere cost savings.

How to choose the right print management services partner?

Any organisation that outsources its print will benefit from reassessing what it’s marketing objectives are and what their ROI should be.

Effective customer communication management is integral to ensure that communications with the customer are highly relevant, personal and targeted and above all work across all the various channels.

Communicating with customers is an evolving process there are more channels than there were five years go and organisations have to be flexible in managing customer preferences across the channels.

Social media has become an important channel for brands to communicate messages, real time marketing via mobile are becoming increasingly vital to the cross media channel mix and knowledge of ‘print’ is no longer essential in the communications process.

Companies will make gains by partnering with a print management company that understands business process optimisation provides expert advice, knowledge and document management solutions.

8 points to consider when selecting a print management service partner

1. For the partnership to work it is vital that the print management company works closely with your ‘buyers’. I use that word loosely as most departments these tend to have some involvement with the marketing efforts of the company and not solely the marketing department.

It should be a mix of collaboration and consultation determined by the needs of the company’s marketing objectives.

2. The level of personalisation and transpromo messages coupled with customer demands for relevancy, accuracy and security of their personal information means that every part of the digital and mail piece has to be properly co-ordinated. Look for expertise in datafile management, multi-channel communications, document integrity, security and compliance.

print and fulfilment services

3. Working with a print management company that is ‘neutral’ means that they will be able to choose the right service or solution that benefits the customer. With multi-channel communications evolving so fast the need for speed and flexibility are key. The print management company will be up to date with new techniques and the latest trends.

4. Working with an end-to-end supplier who adopts a consultative approach by working with you rather than for you will ensure your needs are met.

5. Can they demonstrate expertise using case studies or testimonials?

6. Are they able to provide support across all social and digital media channels throughout each stage of the communications process?

cross media and print management

7. How easily can they adapt to change to assist you with your marketing communication efforts?

8. How robust is their print supplier network and what solutions can they offer short-term and long term?

The only thing that needs to change is the name ‘print management’. Print is no longer the whole picture rather, part of an evolving multi-channel, multi-faceted customer marketing communications mix.

 

 

 

 

What's the difference – Managed Print Services v Print Management Services

Managed Print Services vs Print Management Services?

When two seemingly similar sounding service offerings actually mean completely different business models?

Although they sound the same and are often used in the same context, they are in fact very different from each other!

Here’s how?

Print Management Services

Let me start by describing what print management is! Back in June 2011, I wrote about print management services and the benefits it can bestow on an enterprise or company, a more detailed understanding of it is here!

Optimising print management enables a business or enterprise to “control” costs through an external service provider for all their document and print needs.

This can be anything from a business card, USB stick, offset printing, wide format, apparel and promotional gifts to printed leaflets and magazines.

The benefits of working with a print management partner enables you to make gains financially as your print spend is centralised with one main supplier.

Their ability to locate and provide the print resources you lack in house such as buying power, print expertise, skill and cost budgeting are beneficial to the customer.

Most businesses have no idea what they are spending on print in fact many businesses view print as a necessary evil rather than an essential tool in their business kit and certainly one that can benefit from being outsourced to an external party!

Print management is about managing the purchasing. It really is a mixed print bag of stock control, logistics, distribution, storage, procurement of printed matter designed to deliver cost savings, time savings and controlled spending whilst providing a managed print solution.

Managed Print Services

managed print services

Managed Print Services or Print Management Service

Often abbreviated to MPS also known as enterprise printing services and managed document services.

MPS refers to the active deployment of a centralised management of a fleet or group of hard copy output devices such as photocopiers, digital devices, laser printers and scanners.

In effect it enables the company, school, university to take control of their printed output from any or all of these devices.

Thus controlling what gets printed on what device.

MPS affords the ability to manage and control the cost of the output by providing secure, restrictive, re-directional access to printing devices by setting up company wide rules for output consistently, automatically resulting in responsible printing and minimising waste paper and ink toner.

It is a simple solution designed to keep track of all output from connected printers and copiers by accounting for and recovering costs therefore ensuring convenience but without sacrificing security.

What are the benefits of both?

For example a University would make substantial savings having a managed print service and a print management service provider.

With many staff and students accessing potentially thousands of devices on a network tight control of what gets printed and where is warranted.

Equally a print management service takes away the headache of how to go about printing the Student HandBook or Prospectus as the print management company will have the knowledge and access to the best trade supplier thus ensuring the university gets the job done at the best price.

Both services are in effect managed centrally with MPS enabling an organisation to control their print budget and PMS (print management services) although externalised also managed centrally albeit printing is off sited but with control over monetary spend provided by the PM company who as part of the service provision will seek to manage your print costs.

Which service is better for me?

No hard and fast rule really. A school, university or a law practice could benefit from a combination of both services. A business who has a spend of £50k p.a. on print might well benefit from a PM service as they lack the time and skill to source printed items and may well be running a number of desktop printers and maybe 1-2 copiers.

Compare this say to a university or a big city based law firm where personnel print either from a desk top or remotely and there is no real control over what gets printed and where it gets printed i.e. a document printed in colour when black and white will suffice. An MPS will give them better control over costs.

Where print is ordered on a “when we need it basis” and is managed by different personnel then its highly likely a PM service will save the firm time and money!

managed print servicesBoth services can work in tandem or independently of each other! Both services have the potential to drive a business’ print costs down substantially making the management of print less fraught and time consuming!

By requesting a print audit we will be able to establish what service will benefit your organisation.

So call us now for a free impartial discussion and we will show you how to save money on your print!

 

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How to make e-billing work for your business?

e-billingElectronic billing can effectively reduce costs as long as there is a clear strategy of ensuring customer adoption.

This is the second part in the series of How to speed up your document processing!

Let’s define what e-billing isn’t! It’s not sending emails with attachments such as excel, word or PDF these are not considered e-bills.

E-billing is the electronic transmission of formatted data between a sender and receiver and requires that the format is machine readable like XML or UBL to be able to exchange data. This means that there has to be integration between the senders and receivers I.T. systems or the usage of a third party platform to connect sender and receiver.

How does e-billing reduce costs?

The whole point of e-billing is to reduce the costs associated with the manual intervention of shuffling paper and resolving missing or invalid data on the invoice.

E-billing has come along way in the last few years but still only represents a small percentage of the total numbers of invoices processed annually across Europe. Deutsche Bank research showed that 5% of the 30bn invoices processed in Europe in 2010 were electronic leaving 95% of invoice processing still very much a manual entry process which is time intensive, resource sensitive and prone to human errors.

One of the main reasons e-billing fails and the take up of a paperless solution is lacklustre is as a result of a Company’s e-billing adoption strategy.

The solution on offer can have excellent features, outstanding customer benefits, offer the promise to reduce costs which will benefit your bottom line but if your  customers don’t want to adopt e-billing as a viable alternative to your paper bill then your e-billing offering will crash and burn and end up by being an additional cost and a business process that requires ongoing maintenance.

If you are serious about creating a paperless billing solution you must have a clear strategy that leads to the turning off of paper for your customers and be almost single-minded in the adoption of e-billing.

Ideally you want an immediate return on investment when you’ve made a conscious effort to move to an e-bill solution and a decrease in operational costs associated with producing, printing and distributing paper bills. Sadly, this is rarely the case.

Banks, Companies, Financial Institutions have made massive investments in their websites trying to drive customers to an electronic option but these sites are failing to drive customers to adopt an electronic option.

electronic billing

Why?

Because websites are forcing customers to come to a website portal with a request to register and then collect their invoices. Therein lies the problem.

There is a natural human resistance to have to make the time to go and collect a bill that has been emailed to them.

Why would you go and fetch a bill from a suppliers website? The onus is on the supplier to make it easy for the purchaser. Website collections requires a one off registration process, a user login and a password?

What happens next time when the user forgets the password? We are besieged with trying to remember passwords for this and that so make it easy for your clients.

Would you drive your car to your suppliers to collect an invoice for your company? 

Probably not!

Customers don’t opt for web based presentment to collect their bills and web portals have not succeeded in driving customers to want to adopt an ebill instead customers prefer the convenience of receiving a bill in their inbox e- mail.

e-billing

How do you ensure your e-billing strategy is a success?

  1. Find an advisor who is an independent expert on the the understanding of the billing outsource process
  2. Request an initial consultation to determine your current position and what you want to achieve
  3. Have a clear strategy for collecting email addresses
  4. Use your website to drive paperless billing
  5. Use messages on all your print based invoices, statements, remittances and envelopes
  6. Have a sign up process on your website, paper invoices and statements
  7. Use an email campaign for opt in and opt out to encourage the take up of e-bills
  8. Use any marketing collateral sent out to advise customers you are moving to paperless billing to drive the message home
  9. Use the process to demonstrate your company’s on-going commitment to being green
  10. If you use/have a call centre ensure staff are made aware to prompt customers of their email addresses and have a process of collecting/managing them
  11. Use IVR (interactive voice response) to prompt customers when they holding on the telephone
  12. Have an internal manager or champion of the e-billing process to ensure that the project is managed to its implementation
Having a defined methodology for adoption, convenience, ease of use, security and adaptation will ensure increased adoption rates!

What do you think about e-billing? Has it worked for your company?

Have you converted all your clients to e-bills?

Please leave a comment and let us know.

Contact us for a free and independent discussion on how e-billing can save you time and money!

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How can a print management services company save YOU time and money?

print management

A print management services company takes the P out of paperwork. By consolidating your suppliers and using a print partner saves you time and money because the print management company has access to solutions and services that can be personalised to fit your needs

“We are a print management services company, not a printing company. We help customers streamline their printing costs by outsourcing print and reduce costs through our expertise and access to an extensive network of suppliers/manufacturers. It is through this network coupled with our expertise that enables us to source the right product and/or solution at the right price for the customer”. 

How can you reduce your print costs using a print management services company?

There are two distinct advantages of working with a print management company:

  • Experience
  • Versatility

A print management services company has the experience to manage the outsourcing of a simple print project to a full scale re-deployment of a company’s corporate print.

They are able to adapt to the evolution of a project and can source through its extensive network a manufacturer or supplier capable of delivering a highly customised cross media print solution, it’s what we call a best fit rather than a one size fits all.

Using long standing qualified and influential relationships ensures that the customer’s work is fulfilled at the right price with the right solution tailored to the customers needs.

print management

Print management companies offer free and impartial advice from the design concept through to the completion of a project.

So how does this save a company money?

It’s not rocket science.

It’s all to do with the relationships that have been built up over many years, the sourcing of specific products and solutions dictated by an ever changing market place that enable the print manager to deliver a whole suite of print and electronic solutions impartially and independently without you, the company having to source, learn, understand and do-it-yourself!

An experienced independent print management company will make the customers needs a priority and offer solutions from a variety of vendors to meet those needs giving them a distinct advantage over an in-house solution/service provided by a manufacturer who are only committed to the expertise and equipment they have to sell, which, in some cases, is an oversold piece of kit or a managed service way in excess of what the customer needs.

8 main reasons why you should use a print management services company!

  1. Time saved on sourcing print items and solutions
  2. One supplier – one invoice
  3. Print & production managed by one project manager
  4. On-line print ordering and viewing system, web2print – customer can view and place orders online, see his order status and update
  5. Skill and expertise not available in-house
  6. Accessibility to 1,000’s of unique print, electronic and promotional products; secure managed print solutions
  7. Continuity of service
  8. Storage of printed material now housed remotely with no on-going cost to you.

These are just a few simple ways a business can benefit from removing itself from the task of buying print and related solutions by using a print management consultant.

For an independent discussion on how outsourcing can work for your company please call us.

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How print management saves time and money.

20 pund note

A managed outsource printing service = savings for your business

Easy really, the majority of businesses don’t have a clue how much they actually spend on corporate print such as letter-headings, invoices, paper, consumables in fact, anything print related. This is because there is no methodology to managing the process from purchasing, stocking and re-ordering.

A print management company can provide a fully automated and customised print management service which will help measure and control your printing costs.

The first step in the process is understanding how much your current spend is on print this is achieved by carrying out a print audit of the various documents used by the business.

A print management company seeks to understand why and how documents are used, what the order cycle is and whom the suppliers are? From the information gleaned determines the total print spend!

A project manager oversees the whole process from start to finish culminating in a proposal detailing current print costs V cost savings on the various print items ordered.

Emphasis will be to demonstrate cost savings through efficiency driven processes.

Each quarter, a review of the usage of the various items is undertaken to see where further cost savings can be made. Managing your company print, usage and spend should be an on-going process of analysis and review.

Managed Print Services is at the other end of the spectrum to print management and enables companies to manage the flow of print in an organisation.

Equitrac print management allows you to automatically control and manage how print flows through your organisation – improving productivity and maximising time.

Using print management software organisations are able to set up automated print controls and rules to optimise the way print moves around the company.  Employees can be denied printing certain applications such as email by automatically routing jobs to the most cost-effective printer for that task.

For example a solid ink colour device is more cost effective to print obligatory emails and letters rather than a colour-cartridge-guzzling desktop printer for colour runs, colour print can be prevented altogether unless user authorised.

Industry analysts estimate that 44% of printing is unnecessary

  • People are printing things more than once which is wasting huge amounts of money
  • They may send a document to print, then notice an error on screen
  • A document is not at the printer when they go to retrieve it
  • The toner is low or there is a paper jam

This results in wasted paper, consumables and larger electricity bills. Print management software enable a more efficient, leaner and greener print environment.

What do you think? Have you implemented one or both solutions? How have they worked for you? Please do share your success or disaster stories.

To learn more about how you can regain control of your office printing costs, contact us today.

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5 Reasons to outsource your e billing.

An e-billing solution can be quick and effective if managed and implemented correctly.

e-billing is not sending a PDF bill as an attachment to an email.

The importance of optimising both a paperless and an e-billing process shouldn’t be underestimated! Both processes can co-exist in harmony.

E-billing provides a number of great features such as the option to retrieve documents in PDF, Excel, EDI, XML or CSV formats allowing you to view and interact with your online invoice/statement, query invoices and download copy invoices if required.

5 reasons why e-billing should be implemented alongside your current print and mailing process:

1. Get payments faster

Emailing your bills for payment can reduce your DSO (Days Sales Outstanding) cycle by as much as 70% by reducing the physical time taken to send out invoices to your customers.

Many companies emphasis the importance of sales, sales, sales yet are inefficient managing debtors often complying with payment terms that are in excess of their own terms.

Why supply a company that takes that long to pay after you’ve supplied the goods or services?

Here’s the real conundrum what is the point of telling your sales force to be proactive in generating sales if the company is not managing the payment terms with your customers?

Accounts payable solutions are designed to speed up the process and distribution of statements and invoices. By reducing the turnaround for example from 4 to 1 day for posting/emailing out your invoices, but enforcing company payment terms are ineffective then the benefit for e-billing is largely negated!

2. Current financial climate

The current climate requires effective payment strategies and reducing the time taken for a customer to pay has a positive effect on your bottom-line. Helping the company to grow and remain competitive.

Having a robust credit management system designed solely to get the cash in for the business supports the billing effort!

Has e-billing replaced paper based billing?

Choosing an end to end invoice processing and scanning solution will speed up the accounts payable process and e-billing is a part of that process.

3. The easier you make the process the easier it is for your customer to pay

An effective e-billing solutions allows bills to be delivered as secure electronic documents directly into the customers inboxes without any link to a site to register and collect invoices.

Incorporated in to the body of the bill should be a payment option using a form within the invoice or a link to the company’s payment website, this in turn facilitates quicker payment because if the customer has opened the email, viewed the invoice, the psychology is simply “I’m there now so I may as well pay it!”

4. Transpromo marketing

An effective eBilling solution provides the opportunity to cross sell or up sell services and products by utilising messages displayed in the bill?

Marketing messages can be added to each bill both within the email and on the e-bill attachment. By taking advantage of the process you are driving qualified traffic to your website to potentially re-order or view more of your goods and services.

5. Keeping up with technology

There is an assumption that moving to e-billing will be costly and difficult to implement internally which is a valid argument. But by outsourcing the process, there is no need for big spending on software as the e-billing provider takes care of that keeping the cost of implementation to a minimum improving efficiency, reducing costs from the generation of the e-bill to the pay process.

After all is said and done the take up of e-billing is slow in the UK particularly when compared to the rest of Europe. According to Deutsche Bank research only 10% of companies in the UK undertook a strategic move to e-invoicing in 2010! Many companies have adopted an e-billing process but are quick to point out that the take up has been slow and almost two-s third of their customers prefer a paper bill.

What do you think?

Have you implemented an e-bill solution? Is it working effectively? Do you use paper and e-bills as well? What strategy have you employed to encourage your customers to take up e-billing?

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