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Maintaining Control vs. Brokers and BPOs: What’s Right for You?

Choice of complicated or simple approaches to managing your marketing supply chain.

Printed materials in some form or another are integral to the branding and marketing of most organizations. When it comes to the organization, acquisition, production management, implementation and distribution of these materials; there is a decision to make. Organizations usually choose to either manage the entire process on their own, keeping control of the process in their own hands, or they can hand control over to a third party. The third party is often a print broker, who is a middleman between the organization and one or more print vendors, or a BPO (Business Process Outsourcer), who takes over management of all aspects of the process.

When making this decision an organization needs to consider what is best for its particular needs. Here are some key considerations of maintaining and relinquishing control.

The Pros of Maintaining Control over Your Own Print Marketing Materials

Some of the pros that people consider when managing production of their own marketing materials include:

Control over the Process

As mentioned above, handling the process on their own provides organizations with the freedom to make sure everything fits according to their requirements. They use their own trusted employees and vendors to manage and produce a finished product in a way that is completely integrated with the way the organization does business.

Integrated Management

When any part of your company is being outsourced, you lose a certain amount of visibility into what is going on. Most third party outsourcers don’t provide you with continuous updates of the project. You may not have any information until it is complete. Critical decisions on unforeseen issues that could impact operations beyond marketing will be made by an outsider. You cannot be certain if your specifications and requirements are being followed to the letter, or if corners are being cut, when someone else is in control.

Hence, retaining control within your organization not only ensures that responsibility lies with trusted individuals, but also that every piece of every process is handled in an approved manner. When it comes to coordinating marketing with other operational areas like finance and legal, there’s no better means for success than retaining control.

Vendor Choice

Managing printed marketing material production in-house also allows you full control over vendor selection. Choosing a vendor is not a one-step decision. Capabilities, equipment, quality level, service history and speed are among the variables to be considered. Each variable can mean success or failure in a marketing material project. While it’s near impossible to have total control over the success or failure of a project; you can get much closer if you retail control over vendor selection.

The Pros of Hiring a Third Party to Produce Your Print Marketing Materials

To most organizations there is an undeniable benefit in maintaining control over their marketing material projects. There are some who make the choice, as scary as it may sound, to outsource control of their marketing materials to a third party. The number one reason organizations opt to give control of their marketing material projects to a print broker or BPO is because they don’t feel they have, or want to take on, the capacity to do it themselves. They are looking to simplify and possibly reduce head count. Admittedly, managing printed material projects is complex; it requires a lot of collaboration and communication. To organizations that choose to outsource operations to a third party, sacrificing control is seen as a trade-off for avoiding complexities. It may even be perceived to be a way to save money through cuts in resources.

Isn’t There Another Choice?

Perhaps by now you find yourself asking “but what happens when I really don’t want to give up control, but I need something to stretch my resources and make these complicated operations more manageable?” If so, you are not alone. Many organizations have faced the same question. In fact, just about every organization that manages its own marketing material projects seems to have tried some method of making the job easier. Spreadsheets, files, adapting generalized project management and procurement systems, or combinations thereof are common attempts. While these may seem like viable solutions, complexity and the need for collaboration and communication eventually rear their ugly heads again.

The real solution isn’t to try to avoid the complexities and challenges of managing one’s own marketing supply chain and the projects within it. Rather it’s to embrace with purpose-built tools that extend an organization’s capabilities, enable collaboration, foster communication and help it achieve better results in managing its marketing material projects. Providing organizations with those tools is the force that drives us here at eLynxx Solutions.

Ultimately an organization has to be comfortable with the choices it makes. Those that choose to trade control for the promise of simplicity have their reasons just as those who choose to retain control have theirs. It’s your choice and we understand either way, but if you choose to retain control over your marketing supply chain and the projects it produces, we at eLynxx Solutions are always here to help you do it even better.