We published our first look at the price of printed brochures in our last article. It shows a huge pricing difference between printers in a non-contract buying marketplace. But what lessons can we take from this, to improve our buying (and supplying) of print?
For each print project, there are savings to be made. Each time you request prices from a range of printers, there’s no surprise that you’ll get a range of prices back. But the size of the difference in prices can be astonishing. So what accounts for it?
1. Right Printer, Right Press
Well, we know that if you place a project with an inappropriate printer, it creates more work for them to produce the job and this is reflected in a higher price for the work. Place your job with the right printer with the right press, and you’ll be on the way to paying less.
The overspend created by not placing the right project with the right printer does not, we believe, benefit any of the parties involved. It is simply caused by ‘sub optimal’ allocation of resources.
A project that is sub-optimised costs the printer more to produce so they charge the client more. But, critically, they are unlikely to make any more profit from it – it’s just waste, pure and simple.
However, our data is taken AFTER our team of expert buyers have selected the right printer for the right job. If expert buyers are not involved in the process, it’s probably not unreasonable to assume the price difference will be even more.
As previously discussed, any of our 300+ printers can provide a price for the work if they believe they can give a competitive price. Even so, expert buyers are paying an average of around 60% too much for a brochure. From our data, we can see this can rise to as much as 223%!
The data does however reflect any available capacity at a printer. Printers need their presses to be running as close to capacity as possible and if there’s space on a press, they do discount prices to fill them. We believe this will account a sizeable portion of the pricing differences we’re seeing.
3. Optimal Solution
Because a printer’s workload and capacity changes quickly and regularly, it’s in both parties’ best interests to converge at a price point that represents the optimum solution for that project. With print buyers having the potential to place a project with an inappropriate, non-optimised solution (where neither parties gain), and with the opportunity for printers to help those customers find savings through capacity and press configuration, it’s more important than ever for both parties to match needs.
If a printer can help customers find this optimal point, both parties will benefit.
4. Customer Demand meeting Supplier Price
However, this is only part of the story for printers. With the fluidity of prices found in the print market, getting the right price into the market at the right time is also key. Print buyers are typically constrained by deadlines. Within this deadline, there’s a period of time they require a price back.
Printers who can produce a comparatively good price at the right time to market will secure the work. Buyers who are given a comparatively good price for the project will place the work.
This is one of the benefits a print sourcing platform can bring – connecting customers with printers in real time and allowing printers to provide a comparatively competitive price (automatically or manually) can lead to a more optimised solution for all parties.
To conclude, for print buyers to get the best price for a print project it’s essential that you follow the following steps:
- Specifications. Understand your precise requirements before going to your printer. That way you can compare like-for-like and can compare prices. Use our Print Specification form to help with this.
- Right Supplier. Place your project with the right printer with the right press for your particular specifications.
- Shop Around. Get multiple prices for your project to find benefit from excess capacity.
- Timeliness. The fluidity of print price changes mean that to get the best price, you may need to be flexible on dates.
This is hard to achieve manually and for regular/large volume buyers, a print sourcing/procurement solution is essential.
In future articles we’ll be taking a look at the price differences in a range of other printed product lines.