Blog Series: How to (Really) Select a New Print Vendor
In This Series:
Throughout this four-part blog series, we have provided recommendations on how to evaluate and select a new print and fulfillment services provider using questions that go beyond the standard cost and capabilities criteria.
In Part 1 we discussed the importance of digging deeper into the detail behind the estimate provided.
In Part 2 we recommended a better way to assess true print quality.
And in Part 3 we made the case for requesting sample reports and invoices as part of the initial evaluation process.
All three of these steps are designed to encourage two-way dialogue, which is an extremely important component of any new relationship. They also help establish the nature of the relationship you should expect. Are they going to passively take your orders, or proactively provide ideas to help enhance your training materials, improve processes, and manage costs?
Our final recommendation is to make sure you know not only what to expect from the relationship with your print and fulfillment vendor, but with whom.
We are continually surprised by the number of RFPs we receive that ask few if any questions about the specific team that will provide ongoing service and support. Your team is a critical component to the success of the relationship. As part of your selection process, you should have full visibility into questions such as:
- Who do you direct questions to?
- Do you have a dedicated contact, or are you put in a support queue?
- If you do have a dedicated contact or contact(s), what, specifically is their role?
- How should you communicate with them?
- How will they communicate with you?
- How often?
- About what?
- What should you expect of them?
Ideally, you will have the benefit of working with one primary point of contact for the duration of your relationship with a print and fulfillment provider. This will help streamline communication and provide congruency across each print run.
Your contact should be the person that handles all your day-to-day needs, including:
- Answering print and shipping questions
- Handling urgent orders
- Tracking shipments
- Managing international customs
- Delivering meaningful reports
Having a consistent resource who has an opportunity to really know and understand your organization—how it operates, how decisions are made, business objectives, challenges, and preferences—also means they are in a position to add value to the relationship beyond just taking your orders. They will be able to offer ideas and suggestions that help you simplify processes, save costs, and make your job easier.
Are you thinking about changing print vendors for your training manuals, booklets, course books, or other educational materials? We’d love to start a discussion with you.