At QPS we receive enquiries and work alongside both print management companies and end users. Both often require differing info and a different approach.
As an end user, is it more efficient to work with a management company or print buyer? Or is it more economical and simpler to deal directly with a printer?
There are a few reasons why one might be better than the other.
Putting out all your print work to a managed print services company could be the best option.
If you have complex requirements and specific delivery details, a managed print services company might be able to combine all your needs and run the whole show.
There’s so many different formats of print – POS displays, leaflets, banners, exhibitions – all potentially in one campaign. Print management companies could well oversee all facets and be the bridge between you, the end user, and a number of printers all running your work.
However, if the printer has all the equipment in-house: small format and large format digital, cutting tables and flatbed printers for POS, then dealing directly with them could be simpler than having a middleman who has to relay any questions back and forth between each company.
Printers print and print buyers buy the print.
I mean, who knows the industry better? Someone who has to use the material every day or someone who buys it in and never needs to know which fabric is best for what display or why exhibition panels need to be grey backed?
I’m sure there are hugely experienced print buyers but if you need to get answers from someone with their sleeves rolled up and in the thick of it, the printer has got to be the person to go to.
Linked to this experience is the company a printer keeps.
Suppliers visit printers to discuss new products and sort out issues with existing ones. A printer will see reps from all sides of the industry and a printer who knows their onions will have an ear to the ground and know exactly which material is available for that project you’ve got in mind.
Building an ongoing relationship with the printer pays dividends when they see new products and think of your brand.
Are you all about recycled media and showing your environmental credentials?
When the supplier walks in with the latest swatch books showing eco-friendly papers or a substrate like the new Dispa board, you’re only a phone call away.
Brands develop when collaborating with people who care. As a printer is only as good as the print they produce, your brand is in good hands with a printer who looks to innovate and inspire.
The supplier/printer relationship also comes into its own when issues pop up. A supplier is always more forthcoming with a customer who spends with them. Its common sense to think things get sorted more quickly when the printer has more clout.
Similar to their material know-how, a printer will also have a deep knowledge regarding which machine or technology is the most economical or efficient for what process.
Ask a print buyer what machine has created what and chances are they wouldn’t be able to tell you.
Ask a printer which of their machines are better for rollfed media and which for solid substrates. I bet my lunch money they’ll be able to tell you which, why, the square metre cost and how long each print will take.
When it comes to lead times make sure the printer is open and transparent. You should always know where you are with your production and delivery. A printer should be able to schedule your work and plan accordingly.
No having to put in a request with a print buyer who then goes to their printer to ask for a shipping date.
Digital print heralded the ‘just-in-time’ ethos. The last thing your campaign needs is to find out you were always last in the queue.
Working directly with the printer and nudging out any middleman has got to reduce the cost, right?
There’s (at least) one less person to be paid in the loop and the fewer people adding on their couple of percent has got to mean better pricing.
I make a point of trying to buy material from the source to ensure I can be competitive.
Shouldn’t you be doing the same too?