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It’s often said that developing expertise requires making mistakes and learning from them. However, in the fast-paced world of print procurement, you don’t have much time or money to learn from experience. Yet you need a huge amount of expertise.

Consider just a few of the aspects of print procurement requiring expertise. After you or someone in your operation has made a range of design decisions (message, artwork, color, typefaces, format, templates etc.) and then designed your product, you need expertise in the following:

Printing

  • Which type of printing process is appropriate for the job—for instance, offset, flexography, digital or screen printing. You need to consider the type of product, quantity, substrate, page/sheet size, finishing processes, colors, quality.
  • Which printers specialize in the work you’re seeking, whether it’s general printing (business cards, advertising, sales brochures), direct mail, point of purchase displays, large posters, labels or packaging.
  • How to accurately describe your job, in terms of paper, printing, bindery and logistics.

Procurement

  • How to choose a printer. You need to look beyond your geographic location. Research methods may include: Reviewing trade organization directories, conferring with print buyers in other organizations; emailing printers for details of their plants and equipment, examples of their work and client references; and perhaps visiting some printers.

  • How to write details and specs, including: Job title, quote/return date, size of job, details of job (number of pages, layout style, colors, artwork), paper (type, weight, quality), green printing specifications, packaging instructions, dates of proof delivery, job completion and final delivery.
  • How much you should pay. Strategies for lowering print prices may include negotiated or rate-card pricing, relationship pricing, consolidating volume or hiring a business process outsourcer or broker. But these strategies neglect the biggest factors affecting price—market conditions and open press capacity. 
  • How to write a contract. Considerations may include Confidentiality, quality, quantity, rejection and defects, Changes and deviation from specs, packaging, subcontractors, proofs, artwork, intellectual property rights, time factors.

Software

  • Rather than being hamstrung by unwieldy and outdated methods of managing your projects— for instance, phone calls, emails, spreadsheets and general procurement systems that don’t work for print—you need purpose-built print management software. It should be able to handle: complexity (all types of projects involving multiple people and levels), communication without spreadsheets, vendor qualification and spec writing, bidding, milestone monitoring and change orders, auditing and custom reports.

No individual, not even the most experienced print buyer, can be an expert in all three of these areas: printing, print procurement and software (at least not without making a long string of mistakes first).

That’s why eLynxx Solutions provides not only the software you need to manage your print job but also full support and expert advice based on more than 50 years of print experience to help you make all the right decisions to get the product you want in a complex and ever-changing technical environment.

Contact info@eLynxx.com for more information and a free software demonstration.

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