If you print, warehouse, and ship training manuals or other materials as part of your educational programs and plan to go out for bid for those services, be sure to include these six questions in your estimate request to ensure you’re getting accurate, transparent pricing.
The process of selecting a new print and fulfillment vendor can be time-consuming, resource-intensive, and feel risky. Will a new partner really deliver on all that was promised? Will it be disruptive to your organization or your end-users? And will there be any hidden or unanticipated costs?
Most organizations provide a formal request for proposal or request for estimate to prospective print vendors to gather standardized and objective data to minimize uncertainties about costs and capabilities.
Where Print & Fulfillment Estimates Usually Fall Short
The most logical place to start when requesting a quote is by providing all print and mailing specifications to prospective vendors, including print quantity, page count, paper type, size, etc.
With this information, print providers typically calculate a roll-up of total costs that may include:
- Price break quantities
- Per-piece cost, and
- Estimated shipping costs based on a sample destination
While this roll-up of pricing is usually sufficient for a one-time or less frequent print run that is shipped all at once or in bulk, it does not provide the level of detail necessary to truly understand all annual costs to print, warehouse, and ship materials on an ongoing basis.
Six Costs That Should Be Included on Your Print and Fulfillment Estimate
In addition to understanding the overall cost-per-piece for each title in your training library, you’ll want to be sure any estimate clearly outlines the following:
- Average print cost per title and/or per course
- Average number of items in a package
- Average box weight
- Average orders per month
- Average cost per shipment
- Total cost per class/course and the annual cost per class/course
Including these six calculations on your estimate request forces your proposal writing team to include the right amount of detail in the RFP so prospective vendors can better understand your current processes, workflows, and requirements early on. This helps to ensure you find someone who is truly a best fit for your organization.
It also results in more accurate and transparent pricing because it helps to eliminate any assumptions that may be unknowingly included in the vendor’s calculations.
And by having this level of detail early on, the best prospective partners may be able provide new ideas that could save you money and create efficiencies.