Ask These 6 Questions For A Better Print and Fulfillment Quote

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, include these six questions in your print and fulfillment 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 and 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 Estimate

In addition to understanding the overall cost-per-piece for each title in your training library, you’ll want to be sure any print and fulfillment estimate clearly outlines the following:

  1. Average print cost per title and/or per course
  2. Average number of items in a package
  3. Average box weight
  4. Average orders per month
  5. Average cost per shipment
  6. 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.

Simplify & Organize with Custom Kitting

Your days and evenings are full—during the holidays and otherwise. Sure, there are peaks and valleys throughout the year in your association’s continuing education training program, but it often feels like there are getting to be more peaks than ever, while the valleys are few and far between.

Any time you have the opportunity to get something off your plate so you can focus on your educational mission, you’ll take it, or at the very least, take a look at it. If the task is especially time-consuming but could make your courses more efficient and organized, you’ve got another great reason to consider having someone else handle it.

Custom kitting certainly qualifies. It would take you and your staff a long time to assemble kits for each class, but it does help the instructor stay organized. You might think of kitting as a nice-to-have, but once you try having someone else handle it, you’ll see how convenient it is. Many of our clients try it once and never look back.

What does kitting look like? Though every organization is different, here are a few examples from our updated training services white paper:

Example #1:
1 instructor manual
20 student course books
20 Scantron sheets
25 #2 pencils

Example #2:
25 student workbooks
25 quick reference guides
25 highlighters
1 wall chart
25 marketing brochures

Kitting is just one aspect of our comprehensive order fulfillment process, which is only part of the suite of services we offer associations. Omnipress can guide you through the steps of providing training materials to your learners, starting with print on demand (which can include formatting and design services), continuing through order fulfillment, which is linked to inventory management, all of which can be complemented with online training materials. We’ll be there for you from the beginning on, answering questions and offering suggestions along the way.

Stay organized and spend more time on mission-critical tasks. As your print and fulfillment partner, Omnipress has your kitting and bundling needs, shall we say, wrapped up.

Is It Time to Break Up With Your Fulfillment Vendor?

Your fulfillment vendor is the linking relationship between your organization and your members or customers. If your members receive their orders late, or receive the wrong order altogether, it’s your fault in the eyes of your customer (even though your fulfillment partner is actually at fault).

But how do you know when the time has come to consider a new fulfillment company? With so much invested in one (or a few) fulfillment partner(s), this is a HUGE decision to make.

What are the warning signs you should break up with your fulfillment vendor?

3 Signs Your Organization Needs a New Fulfillment Vendor

  1. You’re not communicating. Since your fulfillment vendor is the link between your organization and your customers, it is critical that they are keeping you informed of any problems. If one of their printers is down, if a customer gets the wrong order or if they lost an order, you should be the first to know. What’s more, your customers should not be the ones informing you of these problems.
  2. Your fulfillment vendor does not treat your product as their own. If the company fulfilling your continuing education materials or publications is shipping out books with missing pages or incorrect covers, they are clearly showing a lack of concern for your product and a lack of respect to your organization. These careless mistakes are a direct representation of your organization’s brand. Is this how you want to be represented?
  3. Your order fulfillment process causes you a lot of work. Getting your training materials or publication orders filled should not mean manual labor for you. If you’re sending your orders via email or an excel spreadsheet to your fulfillment vendor, you’re already doing too much work. You should be able to automatically send orders from your online store directly to your fulfillment partner in XML format. It’s not as difficult as you might think.

If your fulfillment vendor is causing you more harm than good, it may be time to break up and find a new one.

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