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Writing specifications is arguably the most important step in procuring direct mail, point of purchase, or marketing materials. Your specs are your instructions or road map for what you want the printer to produce — covering every detail. 

When you get the details right, the production process goes smoothly and you get what you want. However, there are countless points in spec writing where a mistake could send the project off the rails — if even a tiny detail is incorrect, the end product will be incorrect or incomplete. Mistakes can cost thousands or hundreds of thousands of dollars.

You can get plenty of general (“duh”) advice online on what information to include in specs — for instance, job name and description, delivery date requested, quantity, flat and finished sizes, color, paper stock, page count, shipping, etc. But generic checklists won’t keep you out of trouble with many projects — they aren’t specific to your project or detailed enough.

Few projects are that simple. Take a direct mail package, for instance.  A direct mail piece is often a series of print projects. It might include an outside envelope, a letter or marketing piece, a slip or card to return and an inside envelope. If there are multiple items, you need to write clear, detailed specs for each one, including typical things such as size, paper, and colors. 

Logistics—where you want to ship the piece, how, from what location—are also complicated. You might want to send different versions to different states; you might have different language versions or versions targeting different demographics.  Also, your piece may be personalized for each recipient — for example, a personalized letter.

All of these details have to be specified. Beyond the specs, approvals are necessary at every step: creative, budgeting, pricing, purchase order; you must monitor the manufacturing milestones, including signing off on change orders and proofs. A lot can go wrong — for instance, size could be mistyped so that the return piece doesn’t fit the envelope. 

Some print buyers give up and leave the details to someone else, such as the printer or a broker. But you can give up the headaches without giving up control of your project.

eLynxx offers expert help

eLynxx Solutions understands the complications and we know that few print buyers are experts in every detail. Whatever your level of experience, our software and service can help, while leaving your project in your hands:

  1. eLynxx Solutions’ purpose-built management software walks you through the spec-writing process. After you choose the item you want to buy, the software provides a list of specs and raises appropriate questions for you to answer. If you encounter a term you don’t understand, a glossary explains it. eLynxx software also offers a training module on spec-writing.
  1. If you want further assistance, eLynxx’s staff of print experts can work with you, reviewing your specs and showing you how to improve them, or writing specs for you.

But don’t mistake eLynxx software for a bid-and-buy procurement method, where you get a price and buy the work. eLynxx software manages the entire process for you, from design to quality checks to receipt of the job. At all touchpoints (communications, approvals, manufacturing milestones), information is instantly available at your fingertips. You don’t need to make calls and send emails.

When you put eLynxx software to work specifying and managing your print projects, whether they’re simple or complex, you can trust that the details will be right.

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

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