Good question. Many do ask themselves this question after their online print is delivered, COD, and there are quality or production issues evident – and no refund from the print company. We would like to share some thoughts on why you might consider using a print broker or a print management company instead of doing it yourself online.
What is a print broker?
Print brokers organise print sales for both customers (you, your company, your client if you are a designer) and large print companies, are usually independent and rely on their networks to get better deals and options for both client and customer. They can help the customer find out what to solve in a print production scenario and let you know what they can do or cannot do.
Use print brokers if your job is $10,000 or more, this way you will get good value for money and trust in their expertise.
What is a print rep?
Print representatives (print reps) can do a similar role to the broker, in-house for larger print companies. They will have knowledge about the specific types of processes, stocks and finishes available within the company rather than out in the market, and their job will be to sell you a print solution from this pool of knowledge.
Use print reps if you use a particular paper stock and need to get sales efficiencies from volumes purchased for your company.
What is a print management company?
Print management companies generally specialise in one or more fields and service small-medium clients in their print needs. They are usually great at meeting deadlines, because they can broker print runs across multiple printers, and be more flexible than larger print companies because of this adaptability. They can offer a variety of print production finishes and papers because they are not locked into any ongoing process or resourcing contracts with print supply companies. Larger companies are and you may have been told before that they are out of particular paper stocks just so you are restricted to printing on their house stock or whatever is available.
Other thoughts to keep in mind:
- The online print production process: there is nothing at all wrong with ordering and managing your print online – many tasks are done like this nowadays – but the possibilities are limited to which buttons, pricepoints, stocks and finishes are available via the program. The potential of connecting with a human, who is an expert, who listens to what you are saying, in real time? Priceless. Not to mention making you feel more confident, happier and reassured if it is a complex job.
- Deal with a human: like any service, print companies large and small employ middle men to conduct more and more specialised tasks – just because you do not meet your paper engineer or foil specialist does not mean that there is one employed in the process behind closed (print factory) doors. Make sure that you meet your print manager at least once in your relationship and trust your instincts to let you know whether you would like to continue to use them ongoing, together with dollar figures and other criteria for service selection.
- How far is your print rep willing to go for the success of your project? Don’t be mean to your print manager – they can pull some very lovely strings through the use of their print networks to make or break your print project. It is best practice to always assume that they will be delivering you a finished production that exceeds your expectations rather than just meets it, but then again, if you have not talked to them about what you need, then how will they know?
- Keep in touch once you have placed the order: Make it a habit to call the printer once you have sent the purchase order over to them. Even if you have order online, there is still arep whose job it is to ensure your print order is delivered, so the gap in quality is generally equivalent to the gap inbetween when you place the order and when you receive it. Be interested in what happens to your project and they will to.
- Knowing which service you are purchasing, volumes and price when signing a contract with is smart management – print costs and planning can be expensive and ongoing, ways to save on your print buying.
- Knowing that your relationship with your print management company is solid, trustworthy and responsive (like any other service for you or your clients).
So if you are a small business, creative agency or Association and need help planning your next print project, please consider Coleface – we can definately help with the whole print management process to get you a great result!
If you liked this post, please comment below, share it, and click on the FOLLOW buttons to get more! If you love printing, get the latest email updates by subscribing here. Sydney print management experts Coleface Print Management and Production provide advice and support for our clients on all aspects of printing and production such as digital, large format and offset printing, point of sale, packaging and mail management. Written by @Olsonwells.