Supply Chain Management. It’s Time to Build, Not Bid.

Your Print Supply Chain and Promotional Product Management is Too Important For The “Deal of the Day”

In a recent post, I talked about the importance of taking a consultative approach, rather than dealing with print projects or promotional product order as a “one-off” situation. I’d like to discuss that a bit further today, because it’s a decision that isn’t about shaving a few dollars off the cost of a single project – it involves a shift in mindset to see a bigger picture that involves many more factors that impact your company’s success.

In many organizations, a purchasing department  is responsible for finding and negotiating prices on every possible company purchase. And that approach makes sense when you know you are comparing apples to apples. If you are buying a bulk supply of a specific raw material that your people understand well, go for it. Or if you’ve predetermined that you want an Acme MX-367 copier, then it makes sense to find the best price on it; though even then, service quality and reputation should enter into that decision, as well.

Chances are, you wouldn’t entrust the same folks with acquiring a piece of property for a new factory in another state, or even determining the catering menu for the Board of Directors annual meeting. There are too many variables involved, too many specific things to consider that could impact the choice. Quite simply, you need more and different expertise.

Printed Projects Are Not Peas In A Pod

Printing projects, too, need expertise as factors other than price are critically important. Quality levels can vary widely in the finished product, depending upon the actual source chosen to provide it.  The preparation of print files, the paper selection, the printing process, the proofing protocol, the experience of the printer, the delivery method and a dozen other things can make a difference in the printed piece you ultimately hold in your hand or place on your product.

At that point, you don’t have time or money to do it over. And even the lessons learned aren’t worth much, since it is unlikely the next project will have exactly the same parameters. That means you will essentially start from scratch again, run all the same risks, and invest all the same time attempting to manage them.

That’s exactly where a quality print supply chain partner like Superior Business Solutions pays dividends. After 90 years in business, we have unmatched experience coupled with a long and diverse list of quality, national printing providers. We can look at your proposed printing project, suggest ways to make it even more effective (we are great at solving problems), then pair you with the best possible source to deliver on all the parameters important to you at the most reasonable price. Prospective customers look for quality in your materials. A poor job won’t help your cause, even if it saved you a little money; the big picture is about more than that.

Promotional Products Aren’t Commodities, They’re Opportunities

The same kind of thinking applies to your promotional product management.  When seen as an unimaginative, obligatory task, it seems logical to turn it over the purchasing department. Logo pens are logo pens, right?

Actually, no. Even something as simple as logo pens can go two ways; they can be cheap and unimpressive, or they can be an attractive, well received marketing tool that advances your corporate objectives and presents your company and its branding in the best possible light. And again, the experience and creativity of Superior Business Solutions can help you make the best possible decision on what that item should be in the first place.

Again, we have a stable of quality vendors that provide an incredible array of promotional products that will truly make an impression. At a trade show, for example, it’s the difference between “hey that’s cool, who gave me this” and “whatever, just throw it in the bag.” With our expertise, we have lots of examples of which promotional items work best in which situations. And once the item is chosen, we then choose the vendor that can provide it on your schedule, and with a quality you will be proud to hand out.

A Better Relationship Nets A Better Return

Your print supply chain and promotional product management decisions are better when made with bigger-picture perspective. They’re not “widgets” – they’re important weapons in your marketing battles. Aligning with a company like Superior Business Solutions equip you better for those battles, with:

  • An ongoing knowledge of your company and its print and promotional product history. The next project isn’t another stressful start-from-scratch time eater – it’s another opportunity to build on previous efforts with a trusted and experienced partner in your corner.
  • Nearly unlimited resources. We know and have access to more quality printers and product vendors than any purchasing department could ever interview. And we know how they perform under pressure. Our name is on the line, too.
  • Perhaps best of all, an ongoing relationship that allows us to provide ideas and guidance whenever you would like it. Instead of trying to get your people up to speed in areas with which they are not familiar, we can be your ace in the hole to help come up with new ideas and better-execute traditional favorites. The relationship takes a lot of uncertainly out of the process, and puts a lot of creativity and reliability into it.

Is It Time For You To Build Instead of Bid?

Sorry if I get a little long winded on this, but it just makes so much sense to me – and I’ve seen it work with so many of our customers. We work with a lot of purchasing pros and we add a lot of value in time and money saved in the area of printed projects and promotional items.

If you have a purchasing department and just aren’t sure how to move things to a relationship basis instead of continuing to just get bids for print and promotional products, I’d love to hear from you.