Print Buying and the Price of Print. A Wide-eyed and Gob-smacked Investigation by Data Miner No.1

by Rich B

I’m on a mission.

It’s a mission which will require cunning and daring. It will entail physical endurance, mental anguish and aching limbs.

You see, I’m about to embark on the biggest chunk of data-analysis I’ve ever undertaken, equipped with a wheezing copy of Excel 2000, a comprehensive knowledge of at least one Excel formula (sum=() is my friend) and a tendency towards RSI and cramp.

Oh yes, it’s me and the data – only one of us will come out of this unscathed and at this stage it’s touch and go which one of us that’ll be.

So what am I trying to achieve?
What I’m trying to see is What is the Price of Print. Or rather, how much are we over or underpaying for the price of print. You see, the great and the good printing brains around here used to think we knew the right price for each job – more or less. We’ve got so many guys who have spent their lives around printers, estimating, project managing and buying – of course we know what the right price is! Or so they thought.

But with the introduction of our print buying software in 2008, we had a big dose of WTF! It was the proverbial awakening. The curtains were pulled aside and we saw the marketplace in an entirely new light.

Over the intervening period, we’ve learnt that there’s such fluidity in the marketplace and the range of prices we get back from our suppliers can be so varied, that the prices in the head of our buyers can be pretty wide of the mark.

Shelves of printed items

3 years of data from a wide range of printed items will be analysed.

And while we now understand the pricing differential on buying print on a job-by-job basis, I am now armed with enough historical data to see precisely how much we’re all paying over – or under – the odds, on a scale never seen before.

Does the expert print buyer know if they’re really getting a good deal on their jobs?

Is the Marketer getting ripped off or are they buying pretty well?

It’s all in the data.

And I now have my grubby paws on all that data and I’m not afraid to use it.

It’s arguably the most comprehensive set of print buying data over the longest period available anywhere in the world. Certainly the most comprehensive set we’re aware of. And first reading of the raw data is fascinating. I’ve had an independent third party (who doesn’t know print at all) look on agog at the initial findings – followed by a kind of slow, shocked and incredulous laugh.

Which I took as a good sign.

The first analysis we’re going to put on Printing Brain will probably be looking at the price of the humble brochure.

So watch this space as we do the analysis and publish the results here for your delectation. And I, for one, can’t wait!

 

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