Ten Money Saving Tips for Print Managers

Despite their stated desire to realize savings from streamlining the various components associated with the print buying process, it’s been my experience over the years, that many print managers neglect to do some of the easy things that can add up to significant cost savings annually. We all know these things, but we don’t always do them. Below are a few tips for saving money on print jobs, which might be old hat to some, but vital to remember.

1.) Check invoices line-by-line—especially when starting out with a subcontractor. If she knows you’re checking, this will cut down on un-ordered extras, duplications, and so on. ($500-1,000 saved with each invoice with a long-time vendor)

2.) Develop a check-off sheet to track jobs. This sheet matches invoices against orders, so that you pay only for what you ordered. It’s simply too easy to forget the details.

3.) Know when to go out to bid. For large-scale, repeat work bid-out every three years at a minimum—more frequently for smaller jobs. ($100,000 annual savings in switching prepress vendors)

4.) Are you going to a four-color process when digital will suffice? Consider image choice and positioning—if quality won’t be compromised, go with less expensive digital. ($500+ saved on small quantity runs)

5.) Know your postal forms and regulations. I once questioned a postal employee (after I had done some research) on the use of a certain form. Turns out, he had suggested the wrong form, and we saved thousands in mailing costs by knowing the rules and asking the question. ($7,000 error caught).

6.) Be cautious about professional service recommendations. Rather than take a designer’s recommendation about a printer, I went out to bid, took another printer, got a beautiful job, and saved loads. No one cares for your bottom line like you do. ($6,000 savings on press kit folder)

7.) Is your mail house doing all it can for you? Shop around; compare your current list of services with those offered by others. You may be surprised by what’s out there, I was. ($1,000s saved)

8.) Get your database managers to submit in your preferred software (mine is Excel) for the sake of consistency and saving time and headaches. (Saves on outside vendors adding fees to correct data fields)

9.) Use the negotiation process to secure cost savings. When a company is keen to get your work, and they know they are competing head-to-head, you can get waivers of fees (such as for delivery), preferential timelines, and so on. (Eliminated three times monthly delivery charges of between $50-$125)

10.) Know the market, read industry news to keep up on cost-saving technologies. In the last few years, many Internet and e-commerce companies have emerged to serve the print-buying market. Integrating the right solutions can impact your bottom line immediately. If you’re not aware of what’s out there, you could be operating at a disadvantage to companies that deploy proven technologies for print buying.

Since 1990, Judy Benjamin has managed operations for three major organizations, saving them hundreds of thousands of dollars by implementing new systems, directing internal staff and mailhouses, managing vendors, analyzing costs, coordinating print media and streamlining print buying processes. Ms. Benjamin is reachable at jbenjamin@cal.berkeley.edu; 617-797-8602.

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