Here are few tips that you could consider trying to make your relation with your print vendor satisfying and pleasant.
A vendor, or a supplier, is a supply chain management term that means anyone who provides goods or services to a company or individuals. A vendor often manufactures items and then sells those items to a customer.
Print vendors do more than execute tasks. They help the company face the marketplace. If the print vendor drops the ball it can have a negative impact on the brand. However, printing vendors often have massive differences in pricing, quality, and service, which can make the selection process tricky.
General Issues Faced with Print Vendors:
Overspending on Printing- People don’t know how much they spend on office printing which means they’re likely spending too much. Overspending on printing can be the result of any number of issues such as careless printing by employees, ordering from multiple print vendors, etc
Print vendors play a very crucial role in any business. From printing your corporate stationery to marketing collateral to product packaging, their quality output heightens your brand value. In spite of their importance, dealing with print vendors have not been a very welcoming task for most of the departments who coordinate with them.
While there is a lot of scope of improvement for the print vendors to do, there are few initiatives that clients also can take to make this relationship worth having.
1. Understand what they need from you
Every print house has a process that they follow. Some you will find are highly organized while others unorganized in the way they handle and process their orders. Whichever and however they fulfill the orders, it is important for you to understand their way of functioning and provide them with the necessary information they need to complete your order in time. Being flexible and prompt in providing the support your print vendor requires will only help you to get your order on time and without any glitches.
It is a good practice to share with your print partner your exact requirement and understand what they will need to complete the order in time and without much of hassle. After a couple of dealings, you will be able to form an internal process that will make it easier to generate data in the required format.
2. Know their responsibilities and SLAs
It is highly important that you and your vendor are clear on what the vendor is expected to do. Best practice involves having a contract which covers the scope of work and deliverables from both the sides in detail and transparently. In case you come across points later which are not covered or clarified in the contract, you must immediately ensure the same is appended to the contract to avoid misunderstanding for later dealings. One of the most common reasons for things to go sour is the mismatch in expectations. Having a contract will be of great help when it gets messy to work.
3. Have realistic timelines
One of the challenges in the traditional process of printing followed by print vendors earlier was eternal delays in the orders. Their lack of ability to set up a process and timelines for fulfilling an order always resulted in over commitments. Also in the greed to win the order most would agree to complete the order under unreasonable timelines and deliver them late.
The consequences are suffered by the departments who deal with the vendors. This led to departments giving much shorter timelines keeping a buffer time to handle delays.
So if the client requires an order in five days, they demand delivery in three days so as to keep a buffer of two days. These two days they either follow up with the vendor rigorously or get the order done from another vendor depending on how important it is to get the print material in time.
4. Know the design artwork formats required by the Print vendor
Another challenge is the design artwork formats. It is a very small issue but can consume a lot of time and lead to mistakes and delays. Most vendors work easily with commonly used graphics designing software and formats like CDR, PNG, PDF, JPEGs etc.
However, there are certain use cases which make it important that you understand the formats the vendor will require your artworks to avoid any issues. These cases could be as mentioned below.
- Use of uncommon formats like InDesign
- Design files created using higher versions of designing software which might not be available with the print vendor. Such files either do not open on their devices or lose certain design elements if they do open.
It is best to provide a PDF of the final artwork for the print vendor to cross check before printing a file and ensure the print output is the same as your design.
- Low-resolution files in JPEG or PDF formats
- Some print processes or machines take only specific designing formats like CDR. So providing artwork files in another format will require time to convert them to the required format. It also holds the risk of loss of certain design elements or content while converting. For this issues, provide a PDF of the final design for comparison before going ahead with printing.
5. Be transparent on your requirement, timelines, and budgets
It is a saying that in order to get the best service from your doctor or lawyer, be transparent and honest with them. This is the same with your print vendor. our print vendor. Sharing the end use of the product you are printing will help the vendor to visualize your needs and work accordingly. It can also help to get suggestions to get the best outcome.
As discussed before, it is better to build a healthy relationship by having reasonable timeline expectations. By being transparent about your timelines you can lay the foundation where your vendor respects your deadlines. Many times short notice jobs led to a lot more errors and therefore delays.
In the printing industry, the game is all about quantity and costs. Sharing your budget constraints will get you expert advice from your vendor on how to cut down costs by making minor changes to the specifications and quantity. A difference of a few millimeters in the artwork size can save thousands, sometimes lakhs, of rupees. Also, some quantities are more economic to others.
6. Treat them well
You may be counting print vendors at the lowest rung of your vendor list. The hassles that traditional printing had has made dealing with print vendors a very unpleasant experience. However, things are changing. Print vendors are working on having an organized way of functioning. Treating them as a partner to fulfill your print needs will make them feel part of your process.
Another important thing to do is to build a lasting relationship with your vendors by paying them on time. Print vendors, in turn, have their own set of vendors to procure their resources like paper, cartridges etc. Delay in payments affects their ability to pay their vendors on time which adversely affects their credibility in the market.
There are many ways you can make print vendors important stakeholders to procure your print products. Above ones are just a few of them to get you started if you haven’t already.