Top 5 challenges of managing your multi-million dollar print spend – and how to address them.
Print management challenges and approaches
Although print is still recognized as a significant spend for most companies or brands, it is a little less-known fact that the medium also has one of the highest saving potentials of any spend category.
When it comes to delivering cost-saving initiatives for print, there are two potential starting points:
There is a need to holistically address print. Some businesses still have a de-centralized supply base as well as no centralized sourcing team. No benefit has been derived from company-wide spend leverage and there are minimal or no reporting capabilities.
Look for opportunities to deliver the next 20-30% savings. Although most may already have a centralized governance structure, they should still be looking to optimize their spending.
Pricing in the print industry is governed by three primary forces: volume, available capacity and influence in the market.
There are several advantages companies and brands can realize by working with a partner to exploit these forces.
A businesses’ print spend will decrease over time as it migrates to online communications and more targeted marketing. A diminishing print spend significantly limits a company’s ability to negotiate volume-based incremental savings.
However, a successful sourcing partner’s print spend will increase each year as they acquire new clients and aggregate the resulting spend. Influence in the market and the ability to exploit economies of scale is significantly enhanced.
As most companies will face challenges investing in technologies and infrastructure – not core to their business – they also may not have the budget available for these investments and print management technology is typically a low priority for investment.
On the other hand, a print sourcing partner will continuously invest in infrastructure and technology. Sourcing partners will typically already have made investments in their own online procurement and digital asset management solutions, and if any additional investment is required for more specific needs, a sourcing partner can fund this either through cost-savings on print or the amortization and chargeback of the initial capital expenditure.
Not everyone has the resources available to exploit the 40% excess capacity in the market, and often companies will ignore opportunities for daily savings that can range from 10–40% through exploiting the excess capacity in the market.
A quality sourcing partner has access to a comprehensive shared resource base and can fund additional dedicated resources through savings. Typical solutions involve deploying 30–70% more resources to unlock opportunities that previous in-house teams would not have had.
An in-house operation is rarely held as accountable as a vendor-partner for proving the success of their initiatives. A print sourcing agreement will ensure accountability and include a robust savings measurement process as stricter measurement and reporting processes can be enforced.
An organization will not have visibility into new developments from other industries, as coverage is limited without the use of external consultants or attendance at industry events, and deploying any new idea carries investment and resource challenges.
A successful print sourcing partner, however, will have a broad client base across a number of industry verticals. Innovation and development from fast-paced verticals are shared across clients from other sectors, as well as general market advances in print and technology.
Such partners can offer recommendations for innovative printed products, thereby enabling clients to remain ahead of their competition.