If you’re responsible for sourcing print solutions for your business, you may be familiar with the somewhat arduous task of calling around, requesting quotes, identifying the best provider for you, going backwards and forwards with them while you haggle on costs, negotiate delivery deadlines, agree supply formats – all while working with another team to create the content in the first place. It’s time-consuming, comprehensive work, and not necessarily a task on which you can spend enough time to ensure you’re getting the best deal. A print management solution helps you streamline the process. No longer will you need to do the legwork; instead, you will have a team of well-connected professionals who will do the work for you, making sure you get the ultimate bang for your buck. If you’ve never hired a print management company before, here are some questions you should ask during the recruitment process.How Broad Is Their Reach?
Connections, connections, connections. It’s all about who you know when it comes to successful enterprise print management. If your print team doesn’t have a sufficient network of suppliers and contacts, they will never be able to deliver the same opportunities or level of buying efficiency you need for your business. Ask any potential print solution company about their buyer network, what their processes are, and (most importantly) how they foresee contributing towards your objectives.How Experienced Are They?
You may be the most connected print manager in the country, but sometimes nothing comes close to good old experience. You need to be sure the team you work with will be able to handle a crisis at the eleventh hour; that they will have a Plan B, C and D should anything go wrong; and that they know what they’re looking for when they conduct quality control audits on your work. Having been in the business for some time will also mean that they’ve worked with their recommended suppliers often and are less likely to be duped by a supplier who can’t deliver what they promise.Are They Local or National or International?
Depending on the size, scale, and global reach of your business, you may or may not need a supplier to match. If you’re based on the east coast but frequently ship promotional collateral around the United States, it may make more sense if you were to use a company with national spread and therefore save on shipping costs. Conversely, even if you’re local, an equally local company may not be able to respond to the volume of work you output, and so you may need to think nationally to ensure your needs are met.Can They Show You Samples?
A print management company may tick all the boxes in terms of capacity, locality and experience – but can they show you actual output. Do they have tangible evidence they can do what they claim to do? Can you feel paper quality for yourself? Any print solution that can’t send you samples should raise alarm bells. After all, do you really want the first time you see a particular product in the flesh to be after you’ve spent thousands of dollars on it?What Is Their Service Offering?
Many print management companies have sub-divisions that complement their offering. For example, while they may have started off as working solely on paper materials, many have now branched into merchandise, including retail stands and clothing, or some offer print plus delivery rather than outsourcing delivery to another supplier. It’s worth noting what else they do as you may benefit from economies of scale by taking advantage of more of their services.
A print management company can become the extra team member you never knew you needed; their skills, connections and resource free you up to do your job better. If you’re still laboring on sorting out your own print, look into how an enterprise print solution can make your life easier.