How to manage the process of outsourcing print?
Outsourcing whether it is printing, payroll printing or invoice processing, or outsourcing an entire department is about how a company manages the entire process of a particular business function that is or has become a costly, inefficient and time-consuming process to manage in-house.
A truer definition of what is now commonly referred to as BPO (Business Process Outsourcing) is the contracting of a specific task such as payroll or billing to a third party provider (referred to as back office outsourcing) BPO is often implemented as a cost saving measure for tasks that a company requires but is now finding onerous and time consuming to manage in-house.
It’s hardly rocket science but nonetheless companies particularly the SME scratch their heads and ponder whether its worth considering because outsourcing any process has connotations such as “It’ll surely end up costing more, you don’t really save money, please don’t tell me its all about non core business” and one our favourites, “I don’t have time!”
There are inherent risks associated with print outsourcing for example “
Who or what company do you choose to manage this process?
How do you find a print management company to facilitate the implementation?
And here’s the real kicker, after you’ve done the research, irrespective of the companies’ on your selection list; and the various case studies of the customers they supply which reads something along the lines of the top 10 of the Fortune 500; you may choose to do a credit check to ensure that the balance sheet looks healthy, after all, you don’t want to be going through this pain again in another year. Site visits are a must to ensure service provision.
You will, and I am assuming at this juncture, have eliminated a number of wannabee’s; end up with list of say 2 maybe 3 potential print suppliers that you believe understand your future requirements and are actually listening to you not selling what they think you should have!
Will you be able to entrust the chosen one, “the print management company” with managing the process for you?
The answer is Yes, you can!
When you decide to outsource a business function the risk can be minimised by ensuring you select the right partner and I use this term because it has to be a relationship, one that works two ways, it’s not an association; nor is it just the company we happen to use to do our billing, payroll or whatever print function you are outsourcing, it must be a relationship designed to aid your business which translates onto your bottom line.
So how do you achieve this?
Having a strategy that involves the relevant departments employees and company owners. It’s the people involved in the processes who know what the drawbacks or the inefficiencies are in the department currently.
A check list should include some of the following:-
What process/processes are you considering outsourcing?
What selection process/mechanism are you going to use to find such a company?
Who is going to be responsible for managing this task of selection?
What criteria of selection should be used to disseminate the good from the bad?
Please don’t make this solely size of turnover or accreditation driven; there are just as many small and large print management companies doing just a good and bad job of providing services to the end user. If after an initial discussion a potential print supplier can satisfactorily demonstrate quality policy and procedures that are integral to you don’t rule them out!
How do I evaluate the service provisions on offer? This might be what are you asking the incumbent supplier to do for you?
What will my decision making criteria be based upon? We urge caution here as a decision should never be price driven in our experience this has always been to the detriment of the company seeking to outsource and you will end up by shooting yourself in the foot.
Partnering with a company who does it “cheaply” implies that they don’t have the infrastructure to follow through which means they won’t or can’t deliver what you really want or have asked for!
Finally has a budget been set for the process OR what cost savings might we be looking to achieve?
How many companies over the years have we visited who don’t know what it costs to process, print and send documents out of the building in which they reside or know what their print spend truly is?
Determining from the outset why you want to outsource will drive your strategy, will empower company owners and employees to see tangible benefits which will ultimately translate into cost reduction and improved cash retention for the business.
Requesting a print audit is the first step along this dusty path, it will cost you nothing and will give you a good indication as to how you manage your print spend.