How Healthy Is Your Print Supply Chain?

by Tim English - VP Superior Business Solutions on December 11, 2018

How Healthy Is Your Print Supply Chain?Time to Take Stock – and Action in Print

At the end of the year, we tend to reflect on the past; and “looking back” sounds like some sentimental journey. But it’s a logical time to take a breath and assess, with a year’s worth of perspective, how certain parts of your operation functioned. It may turn out to be good news, with your business hitting on all cylinders. Or it may reveal an opportunity to do better. Which, if you look at things through the right lens, is also good news.

Naturally, I tend to focus on your printing needs. I’m a realist; I know that some companies regard printing as a “necessary evil” and don’t want to think about it until they need something printed. In truth, that’s a bit ironic. Because with managed print services, you still don’t have to think about it very much. But can trust that you are getting things printed in the best possible way. Projects are planned well, executed with quality, and delivered on time—all with maximum cost efficiency.

Your Printing Year in Review

Only you can do this, of course. But I’d suggest you collect a little input from key staff members and associates about their experiences involving printed materials in the past year. Were there any problems or less-than-terrific episodes related to printing? I’ve prepared a list of common printing mishaps that may help jog your memory.

  1. Costs You Didn’t Count On

This can happen in several ways. Perhaps a rogue order was placed outside of normal purchasing protocols. Maybe an employee unfamiliar with print buying was forced to handle a task he or she was uncomfortable with and overspent. Or an associate charged with getting something printed didn’t obtain accurate bids or let project costs escalate along the way.

If this happened, it no doubt left a bad taste in your mouth, and perhaps it made you shy away from printing projects altogether. That’s even worse than overpaying because it limits the production of tools and materials that help your business flow and grow. Don’t skip the printing, just the printing problems. Align with a strong print services partner that offers quality and control.

  1. Questionable Quality

This, too, can come as the result of an inexperienced print purchaser. It can be difficult to match a project to the right printer if you don’t do it every day. This occurs most often when cost savings or fast turnaround become deciding factors. Those factors are certainly important, and it’s fair to base things on them when all things are equal. The trouble is, all things seldom are.

If you had minor quality problem, perhaps it was simply a disappointment or small annoyance. But bigger incidents can result in costly reprints. Or even worse (in my opinion) materials that don’t present your business in the most desirable light to your clients and prospects. Here again, an experienced print partner is instrumental in keeping your materials, and your company, looking good.

  1. Delays and Drama

This one covers a lot of ground. And if you don’t have an effective print supply chain, this one will probably feel very familiar. In many companies, getting things printed is no one’s actual job. So no one really feels responsible. Add to that a lack of familiarity with the process, and things will invariably “fall through the cracks.” People will point fingers. Miscommunication will almost always cause a crisis.

It’s not surprising. And it’s not fair to blame your people. They do their best, but what they don’t know can hurt you. Your business can suffer late delivery of important printed materials. And in the process, your usual productivity declines. Why? Because employees vacate their comfort zone and put aside their usual responsibilities to “dabble” in printing projects. What could go wrong? I’ll bet you know.

  1. Missed Opportunity

This one might not be obvious until you think about it a bit. There’s the “opportunity cost” of your time, of course. That means that while you and key employees are doing one thing, they are not doing another. When your print supply chain is faulty (or non-existent) employee time is being spent on low-return tasks–things a print management partner could handle much more efficiently. And you could be dealing with bigger issues, like meeting with clients or planning new initiatives.

With ineffective (or no) print management, you are also missing opportunities that those printed pieces generate. The business forms that and promotional products that keep your business flowing…IF they are available when and where needed. Marketing materials that grab attention from prospects and clients…IF they are strategically designed and beautifully executed. Managed print services help that happen.

Don’t Miss THIS Opportunity

If your “year in review” doesn’t include any of these less-than-positive printing adventures, consider yourself lucky. (Perhaps you are already one of our clients.) But if it does, I strongly suggest you consider a print management partner like Superior.

Our nearly one hundred years’ experience in making businesses more efficient is difficult to top. Our ISO 9001:2015 certification reflects our laser-like focus on serving our customers. And the two consecutive Best of Print and Digital awards we have earned from those customers is further proof.

Contact Superior today for a print supply chain audit. It’s a great way to ensure that when you look back on your year next December, you’ll enjoy the view a whole lot more.

{ 0 comments… add one now }

Leave a Comment

Previous post:

Next post: