Buying print can be challenging, especially if it’s not your only responsibility. You need knowledge — for instance, on how to write specs, choose the right printer and price and manage the process. At the same time, you want to save money and time without compromising on quality.
Meanwhile you are inundated with detail and interruptions. Not easy for anyone.
Maintaining spreadsheets and making a lot of phone calls and email inquiries to manage print buying is time-consuming. If you just keep using the same printers for the sake of convenience, you have no way of knowing whether you’re getting the best deal.
And if a wrench falls into your favorite printer’s press during your job. Look out. Deadlines are…well…dead.
What you could use most is a personal assistant, which you’re not likely to get. There is another alternative. And that is print management software for buying and managing direct mail, marketing materials, promo, POP, packaging and other print.
General procurement software, although widely available, often requires workarounds and add-on processes to handle print buying. And it does other things you don’t need. However, software specifically designed to manage print can make your job infinitely easier while saving 20% or more on your costs.
Here are some features to look for in choosing print-buying software.
It’s flexible: It sources and manages marketing materials, direct mail, in-store signage, publications, labels, packaging, POP’s, promo, campaigns, and all other print materials. It supports both competitive bidding and catalog, rate-card, and contract purchases. It handles both complex projects and routine purchases.
It easily manages bidding: It facilitates specification writing and pricing requests, offers a pool of pre-qualified vendors who match your specs (you can specify your own vendors). Obtaining pricing should take no more than a few minutes. It provides milestone monitoring and change order management.
It offers full reporting capability: It provides a record of every action across all functions, internal and external, accountability and a complete audit trail. It monitors compliance and provides both standard and customized reports instantly.
It increases efficiency: It increases efficiency and saves money by automation, management of various roles, and cost and performance tracking. It’s customizable to your needs and workflows.
It’s easy to implement and use: It’s cloud-based software that can be integrated with ERP, procurement, finance, accounting and accounts payable software. It’s not disruptive but adapts to your ways of doing things. It’s intuitive and easy to use with little training. Ongoing management is simple and support is available when you need it. Clients often say it is their dream come true.
However, a lot of print management software wasn’t originally designed for print buying. When that is the case, the software may just provide another layer of complexity to what you are already doing. Some software even offers little or no choice of vendors; thin to slow customer service and support; and when you need updates and reports, well, you’d better not be in a hurry because it takes a while to get them.
Comparing lists of advertised features for print management software is confusing and not always very enlightening because some providers cover their weak spots with big words and acronyms. Your best bet is to ask for a free demo of any software you’re considering. (For a demo or information on eLynxx Solutions software, email info@eLynxx.com or call 717-709-0990.)
The right print management software can be like having a valued and trusted personal assistant — if you choose software that’s designed and customized for you.