Most sectors have been disrupted by technology, including the print industry, and it’s changing the way marketers buy print.
Marketers who outsource their print buying to third parties can easily work directly with printers thanks to automated print procurement solutions. Marketers who already work with a trusted printer can also find ways to streamline their processes further.
Using an external partner to source print seems an obvious choice. You hand over the relevant information and let them find a deal that balances price, turnaround and quality. But handing over the task to someone else comes with its downfalls. Your partner has to wait for quotes from their suppliers before they can calculate the best deal for you.
You may work directly with a printer but even then, there is a manual process that has to be undertaken. Automating your print procurement could save time and money.
Automated print procurement could be the answer marketers are looking for – a quicker, cheaper, and easier way of buying print.
Solutions to suit your needs
With automation, marketers get more than a one-size-fits-all deal – you can tailor the level of automation to fit your business’s individual requirements. One solution is to create a web-to-print portal through which you can order directly from the printer. Such portals can be fully customised and stocked with templates for the products you buy all the time.
If you make repeat orders or have information that changes slightly, you can set up templates with the artwork pre-set and all you have to do is click ‘order’.
Alternatively, if you already have a system like this in place, you can streamline the process even further and fully integrate your system with your printer’s. Solutions are built around your business so you will not have to change the way you order print.
It is simple to just pass over print specifications to a third party and let them do the sourcing. Waiting for them to do that, however, means that there is a delay in you receiving your print. Automated print procurement methods reduce the number of steps taken between the order being made and the final product arriving with you.
Automation also means you don’t have to keep that job in the back of your mind while you work on strategic tasks. Without the hassle of manual processes you’re giving yourself more time and a clearer headspace to focus on the jobs that really drive your business forward.
With most printers you can specify the turnaround time per project as part of their contractual agreement. So, not only would you receive your print sooner, but you would know exactly when to expect it, making it much easier to plan your campaign schedule.
More money in the bank
The obvious advantage of streamlining and automating processes is saved time, but more importantly it also saves money.
When setting up an automated system with a printer, you will need to sign a contract agreeing to send jobs to that specific printer. After all, it takes time and effort to link your two systems together so you will need to make a longer-term commitment.
The advantage of this, though, is that printers delivering automated solutions benefit from economies of scale so they can afford to offer highly-competitive prices. In addition to better pricing, you also benefit
from cost savings from fees that third parties will add on top of the production price.
Certainty is a great selling point. If you can say, with confidence, how much a projectis going to cost, it reduces the risk of going over budget. Knowing this could make the difference between whether or not your campaign goes ahead.
However, it’s not just the cost you need to be sure on. You need to know how much it’ll cost, how long it will take and what the quality is like.
As you set up your account with your printer, you get to negotiate a set price for different products, as well as set turnaround times. You will also be able to order print, happy in the knowledge that it is coming from a supplier that you have assessed.
Jon Smith is a marketing manager at Bluetree Connect.
Automation is set to revolutionise the way marketers can create print campaigns. For more information visit www.bluetreeconnect.co.uk.