We wanted to write an article about print management because it can mean different things to different people.
When I am asked what my line of work is or what I do for a living invariably I find myself answering: “actually I work for a print management company”.
My answer depending on whom I’m speaking with and where I am, business function or cocktail party is equally met with a bewildered expression! As the subject quickly moves onto the state of the economy or do you have kids?
In reality it is a mixture of many diciplines such as procurement, storage, stock control and distribution of printed material to provide cost savings whilst delivering a managed print solution.
Long winded isn’t it?
Print management is about managing the purchasing.
Many companies are deluged with paper even in this electronic age. We are over printing, over stocking, over ordering print items again and again yet in reality some 80%+ of UK businesses don’t know what their print is actually costing them.
With proven savings potentially in excess of 30% why are companies not beating down a path to the doors of print managers in droves!
Print is such a diverse product it covers anything from a business card to a printed USB stick, mouse mat, cardboard boxes through to the supply of office furniture/equipment to web design, e-commerce and e-marketing such is the diversification of a print manager’s tool box.
Invariably print is purchased by many people within an organisation and therefore the true cost of print is often absorbed into different cost centres.
Print is generally perceived as a necessary evil rather than a business process that can or should be improved. Companies define print as business cards, letter-headings and the company brochures, it is a lot more.
It is an area of a business that should be outsourced but often it is overlooked because companies do not have either the time, the expertise and sometimes the inclination to carry out this exercise.
In reality print for most organisations falls into the ownerless category and ordering daily and discreetly in company departments is a common occurrence; with multiple suppliers, inconsistent quality and often shortfalls in critical printing such as a company’s transactional documents.
Which is where a print management company comes in! A Print Manager’s business is Print Management that is what we do! Which means we specialise in sourcing and providing bespoke print solutions and printed matter for the end user.
Your core business is what IT IS YOU DO OR WHATEVER SERVICE YOU PROVIDE so why get involved in print when a print manager can do it for you saving you time and money!
Most businesses will benefit from some form of managed print solutions because they don’t possess the knowledge, the time to develop the internal infrastructure to physically manage the purchasing, lack resources and the supplier base that a print manager will have developed and cultivated through many years of trading.
4 Things a Print Manager will do to assist a company’s need to centralise print purchasing:
1. Analyse and carry out a print audit of all printed items used by the company
2. Understand the paper flow i.e. who orders what, when and why, how is the product used
3. Review the supplier base to ascertain who and how many with a view to providing a more stream-lined and sustainable approach to managing print
4. A detailed proposal which will provide an effective, more streamlined process which in turn will show a reduction in total print spend
Top Tips to assist companies with print outsourcing:
1. Engage with a proven print management company that can bring the expertise you are looking for specifically whether it is print management, payroll or e-billing.
2. Identify the key personnel internally who will run the process; who will push compliance and conformity
3. Identify key areas of spend (this will have been hi-lighted during a print audit by the print manager) and this should be across all departments, payroll, marketing, credit/billing all of which can have large spends
4. Keep any design/creativity spend separate from print i.e. if you work with a design agency who are a separate entity and who have a completely different skill set required by your company
5. The business needs to be ready to face change management, there will undoubtedly be some internal resistance to outsourcing print by being transparent and open will cause less confusion and resistance from employees
6. If the costs regarding the current print spend are unquantifiable then don’t be overly concerned; the Print Manager will start to create relevant management information on stock, print type and spend.
The print manager will be responsible for giving you up to the minute information on print spend and within 3-6 months you will have a bank of data to work from to help you set a more concrete print budget for the next 6 months.
What do you think? How are you managing your print costs? Do you know how much your organisation spends on print each year?