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.

A New Approach to Print-on-Demand for Training Programs

Training organizations are looking at print-on-demand solutions to manage the financial risk of printing course materials. But print-on-demand does have a major downside—namely, increased cost.

In response, organizations like Omnipress have developed a new print-on-demand model known as micro-inventory, which combines a low-risk print model with a better cost-per-piece.

Pandemic-induced challenges have increased the need to print course materials on-demand

Data gathered in our 2021 Training Trends Report highlights several of the challenges that training professionals are facing as a result of changes in program performance and delivery in 2020, including:

• Budget shortfalls, as a majority of organizations, reported a decrease in training revenue in 2020
• Less predictable enrollment, as more in-person courses will remain virtual moving forward

Meanwhile, more than half of organizations still plan to provide printed training materials to both in-person and virtual course participants.

Less predictable print runs combined with a need to manage costs have caused more organizations to consider print-on-demand in addition to or instead of traditional print and fulfillment.

A traditional print and fulfillment model works best with well-established, flagship courses where demand is both large and predictable enough to print and warehouse a higher quantity of training materials that can be ordered and shipped quickly throughout the year.

But when organizations introduce a new course, or the delivery model of that course changes, enrollment is more difficult to forecast. Longer print runs become riskier.

The benefits of printing training course materials on-demand

Printing educational materials on-demand allows an organization to order a smaller quantity of course books or training manuals on an as-needed basis, which provides several benefits:

Improves cash flow

Smaller print runs mean reduced up-front costs, which equates to potentially improved cash flow for the organization.

Reduces overhead

A print-on-demand model often minimizes or reduces the need to inventory materials in a warehouse and the related fees.

Minimizes waste

By reducing the print run quantity, you can more easily make content updates while minimizing the financial risk of tossing books already on the shelf due to the need to make content changes.

Supports a positive customer experience

Because books are printed as they are ordered, the risk of running out of stock is significantly reduced, which means you can feel confident your materials will be delivered to learners on time.

The downside to print-on-demand

While printing materials on-demand offers more flexibility and decreased risk, it does come with a higher price tag. The same 500 course books will cost substantially less if you print them all at once, versus printing them in ten separate runs of 50.

MicroInventory: All the benefits of print-on-demand, at a better cost

Recognizing that organizations need a better way to achieve both an optimal print run quantity with a better price-per-piece, print providers like Omnipress have established a new print-on-demand model known as MicroInventory

Omnipress Director of Market Development, Dan Loomis, explains how MicroInventory works.

“Using data provided by the customer, we estimate the timing and quantity of each shipment. But instead of printing for each shipment, we run a slightly larger quantity based on our mid-term forecast of demand.”

In this scenario, Omnipress assumes the risk on behalf of the organization, making sure they don’t over or under-print.

Adds Loomis, “Another very lucrative benefit is that we don’t invoice our customers until the books actually ship. If the customer needs ten books at a time, and we print 100 because that’s our estimated mid-term demand, the customer is only invoiced for ten at a time as they ship.”

This MicroInventory model provides a better cost-per-piece than true print-on-demand, while reducing the financial risk of maintaining a large inventory.

When should you consider using the MicroInventory model to print course materials?

MicroInventory is an optimal solution when:

  • The volume and timing of course demand are difficult to predict (like when a new course is introduced)
  • The content changes frequently or will be changing but the timeline for those changes is in flux

As Loomis points out, “MicroInventory isn’t an all-or-nothing solution.” Many organizations offer multiple educational programs, each with unique levels of demand. “We look at all materials in your training library and determine the best print and fulfillment model for each title.”

As you’re evaluating the best way to print and deliver printed training materials to both in-person and virtual learners at a time when some of your programs may be experiencing a transition period, consider using micro-inventory as part of your overall print and fulfillment strategy, and as a more cost-effective alternative to the true print-on-demand model.

How Printing Training Materials On-Demand Can Lead to Big Savings

Our latest Training Trends report highlights the fact that continuing education professionals expect the number of training programs they offer to increase over the next year. At the same time, budgets are projected to remain flat. Organizations are increasingly looking for ways to deliver their programs more efficiently, without sacrificing the overall experience for their learners. Switching to a print-on-demand (POD) model for course materials is one strategy that is often overlooked.

Many organizations assume they don’t produce enough volume for POD to be economically feasible. It is true that in general, POD can potentially be more expensive on a per-piece basis than opting for a longer print run. But that all depends upon how your POD strategy is executed, and what your ultimate goals are.

Rather than taking an all-or-nothing approach (large volume print runs vs. one-at-a-time), it may make sense to think about printing a micro-inventory—smaller quantities of your educational materials that can satisfy a few months’ worth of demand, instead of anticipating your annual order volume. In doing this, you only pay for the materials you sell, giving you volume pricing without paying for excess inventory, which ultimately frees up cash flow for your organization. At the same time, it minimizes spoilage should your content need to change during this time, while giving you more flexibility to monitor and manage changes in demand as the year progresses.

One organization in particular, (ISC)2, switched to a POD model, eliminating the need to print, ship and store large print inventories around the globe, resulting in a 60% cost savings. Read the (ISC)2 Customer Profile to learn more about the benefits they experienced by switching to a print-on-demand model.

POD isn’t the right fit for every organization, but don’t be too quick to rule it out until you’ve run the numbers. It could lead to some significant savings while, at the same time, making it easier to manage your content.

How Print-On-Demand Reduced One Association’s Shipping Costs By 60%

 

International Information Systems Security Certification Consortium, Inc. (ISC)2® is the global not-for-profit leader in educating and certifying information security professionals throughout their careers. The organization provides Gold Standard credentials to a membership of nearly 90,000 certified industry professionals in more than 135 countries through instructor-led training, live online training and one- and two-day educational seminars.

Challenge: A Large Up-Front Financial Investment

To deliver course materials to more than 135 countries, (ISC)2 was printing a 6-12 month supply of course books, and then shipping and storing the materials in four locations around the world. This print and inventory model required a large up-front financial investment and decreased the profitability of its courses. Additionally, maintaining inventory in multiple locations made it more difficult to track and measure costs.

Solution: A Print-On-Demand Model

Recognizing these challenges, (ISC)2 reached out to potential third-party solution providers. Omnipress performed an evaluation of the organization’s complete print and fulfillment process. Together, they were able to help (ISC)2 quantify the true cost of printing and shipping their materials and develop a print and fulfillment model that balanced cost-per-piece with appropriate inventory levels. Omnipress was able to migrate (ISC)2 to a print-on-demand solution that eliminated the need to print, ship and store materials in multiple locations around the globe.

“Working with Omnipress is more than hiring a print company. They are a partner that cares about providing a quality product and upholds the old-world thinking of customer service.” – Dave White, Product Development Manager, (ISC)2

Results: 60% Reduction in Shipping Cost

By switching to a print-on-demand model through Omnipress, (ISC)2 reduced the cost of shipping materials for their instructor-led courses by 60% while at the same time increasing cash flow. The organization now pays a monthly cost based on known receivables rather than investing up-front in a year’s worth of material.

6 Reasons You Should Print Training Manuals on Demand

When you prepare to print training manuals for your association’s continuing education courses, do you struggle with choosing the number of initial copies to print? All the historical data in the world can’t ensure that you won’t waste time, money, or paper on books that no one will use. Choosing to print training manuals on demand, however, can solve these problems.

When you print training manuals on demand, you can rest assured that amount of that waste will be kept to a minimum. Here are six reasons to choose print-on-demand for your organization’s continuing education materials:

Update content easily

How long does content in your industry remain current? Some organizations can effectively use large print runs because the content in their training materials doesn’t change much year-to-year. For other organizations, particularly those in highly-regulated industries and in STEM, content is updated more frequently, meaning the potential for material waste increases.

Lower overhead costs

Start-up costs for large print runs can be prohibitive or, at the very least, frightfully expensive for some organizations. Print-on-demand requires a smaller initial investment, keeping overhead low. Having less of your budget tied up in printed materials also leaves you free to spend capital on other projects to improve your continuing education programs.

Reduce guesswork

Inventory management becomes easier when you keep a smaller number of books on the shelf. Print-on-demand solutions often create a micro-inventory that feeds orders as they come in, and more books are printed as needed. You’ll know exactly how many books you have in-stock, removing the guesswork from the process.

Minimize waste

When you keep a micro-inventory instead of a large quantity of books on the shelf, you reduce the risk of having to toss out hundreds of materials when content is updated or a class is canceled. And, even better, your organization is only charged for the number of books that were sold from your micro-inventory, saving you extra money.

Eliminate back-orders

Learners can get frustrated when they are unable to order materials they need for a class because you ordered too small of a print run initially. Using a print-on-demand model eliminates this scenario entirely, saving you from the trouble of dealing with back-ordered books.

Improve turnaround time

Even when dealing with the most experienced print vendors, large print runs require a certain amount of lead-time to complete. Print-on-demand requires less set up and fewer resources, making turnaround much faster.

No two organizations are the same—your reasons to print training manuals on demand may differ greatly from another organization’s. What is clear, however, is that print-on-demand works well for many organizations offering continuing education courses, and it might by the right choice for you, as well.

How to Reduce Your Risk When Creating a New Training Program

 

When your association implements a new continuing education course, one of the major challenges you’ll face is deciding how many copies of training materials you need to print. You may be tempted to use the same length print runs as your existing courses, but this might not be the best decision. Common challenges with new training programs can leave you with too many copies of outdated or ineffective course books, forcing you to use less-than-stellar materials or waste a lot of money.

A print-on-demand solution for new course materials is a great way to minimize the risk of being left with a lot of waste or incurring major costs to re-print. Here are three common challenges associations face when implementing new training programs and how print-on-demand helps solve them.

3 Challenges That Print-On-Demand Can Solve:

You can’t predict the course’s popularity

When you initially offer a course, you know that there will be some interest, but you can’t predict how many people will actually sign up. You don’t want to invest in a long print run only to have a fraction of the enrollment you printed for. Use print-on-demand to generate a small number of course books to start, then have more printed as more people enroll.

Your content changes

After you run the course once or twice, the content you include might change, which means your old course books won’t be useful. Instead of printing 500 copies of the course book right off the bat, print-on-demand lets you order smaller quantities, giving you the flexibility to change your content as much as you need to provide the maximum amount of value.

You want feedback after the course

Once the first course is completed, you’re going to want to get feedback from your instructors and students. This feedback matters—and so does having the ability to act on it. If you receive feedback on the usability of your training materials, print-on-demand can help you minimize waste while you make changes, like switching up the order of the information or changing the binding type.

 

Establishing a new training program is already difficult without the anxiety over wasting hundreds of old course books from a long print run. Your established continuing education courses are the workhorse, and if the new course isn’t proven yet, print-on-demand is a good solution to minimizing waste and spending. Once the new program is set in stone, you can go with a longer print run. If your association is implementing new courses, consider working with a print-on-demand provider to save money in the long run.

What kinds of challenges does your association face when implementing a new training program?

 

Print on Demand Checklist: Is POD Right for You?

Here’s the scenario: Your continuing education materials are print-ready. Instructors are ready to go and learners from your association are already signed up for the new course. Everyone involved is excited to get started.

It’s time to decide: How many books should you print? Is it better to choose a large print run or produce books as they are ordered?

Print on Demand (POD) means that printed materials are produced on an as-needed basis. The opposite of POD is a large print run, where hundreds or thousands of books are produced at one time, in the hopes that someone will purchase them. The per-unit price is lower with large print runs, but producing more inventory than you might need can lead to waste and a need for a large warehouse space.

Is POD right for your organization? Consider these questions:

  • How many learners do you expect will enroll for the course? The higher enrollment is, the more likely it is that a larger print run will work. If you’re unsure, POD is the smarter choice.
  • How often does content need to be updated? Associations that operates in an industry with frequent changes driven by legislation or credentialing requirements are best served by POD because changes can be made before new volumes are printed.
  • Do you have room (in a warehouse or your office space) to house books from a larger print run? Which is more cost-efficient for your association: Doing a large print run and then having to give up office space (or, worse, renting warehouse space) to handle the inventory, or printing fewer copies and not having to worry about creating space for extras?
  • Are you confident that your printer can turn around new orders quickly? If you print on demand, but your provider doesn’t take the time to respond to requests in a timely matter, that has a negative impact on your association’s reputation. Alternatively, would your printer be willing to house a few extra copies of each title on your behalf, to fill orders easily (known as a microinventory)? While not true print on demand, using a microinventory is more efficient than POD and less wasteful than large print runs.

One question that might have been included in the checklist a few years ago—are you willing to compromise on quality? Print on demand has a bad reputation of creating a poor product, but the technology has improved to the point where it’s difficult to tell the difference between a book produced through POD from one that was part of an offset print run.

POD is considered by some to be friendlier to the environment than long print runs. It can be more cost-efficient, too. If you produce 500 books and content needs to be changed when half still sit on the warehouse shelf, 250 books will go to waste. The per-unit price break you got for a large print run becomes a moot point.

Looking through the questions on the checklist, did you determine that your organization should consider POD? We should talk! Check out print on demand page on our website and contact us to get the conversation started.

7 Reasons You Should Print Training Manuals on Demand

When you prepare to print training manuals for your association’s continuing education courses, do you struggle with choosing a number of initial copies to print? All the historical data in the world can’t ensure that you won’t waste time, money, or paper on books that no one will use. Choosing to print training manuals on demand, however,  can solve these problems.

When you print training manuals on demand, you can rest assured that amount of that waste will be kept to a minimum. There are many other reasons to choose print on demand for your association’s CE materials, including:

  1. Frequent content updates: How long does content in your industry remain current? Some associations can get away with large print runs because not much changes year to year. Others, particularly in highly-regulated industries and in STEM, must be updated more often.
  2. Reduced overhead: Start-up costs for large print-runs can be prohibitive or, at least, frightfully expensive. Print on demand requires less initial investment, keeping overhead low.
  3. Improved cash flow: Having less of your budget tied up in printed materials that may never be delivered to learners leaves you free to spend capital on other projects, like online training materials.
  4. Less guesswork: Inventory management becomes easier when you keep a smaller number of books on the shelf (a micro-inventory) and print more as orders roll in. You won’t have to toss hundreds of books, which cost you plenty, if content changes make the titles obsolete, or if a class is canceled.
  5. Minimum waste: When you keep a micro-inventory instead of a large quantity of books on the shelf, fewer books have to be tossed when changes are needed. Even better, your association is only charged for the number of books that were sold.
  6. No back orders: Avoid the embarrassment of back orders. Learners feel irritated when they can’t order the titles they need for class because a printer ran out. Print on demand takes this scenario off the table completely.
  7. Quick turnaround: Experienced printers can balance their workloads to get your larger print runs done without too much lead time. Print on demand requires less set up and fewer resources, so turnaround is even faster.


No two associations are the same; your reasons to print training manuals on demand may differ greatly from another similar organization. What we know: Print on demand works well for many associations, and it could be the right choice for you.

If this list makes you think it that sounds about right, contact us today! We’d love to help you bring educational resources to your association’s learners—and save you time, money, and resources at the same time.

Print on Demand, Explained

We refer to print on demand often as a smart choice for associations that manage the production and distribution of continuing education materials. But what does that mean, exactly? Why is print on demand (POD) a better choice for associations like yours than traditional print runs?

The basic idea behind POD is this: books are printed as they are ordered. This is the opposite of the standard practice of printing hundreds or thousands of books and waiting for orders to come in. Sometimes print on demand is associated with independent publishers, like little-known authors who are determined to get their books in the hands of readers, even if they have to take on the task themselves.

POD is often misunderstood as an inferior way to produce printed materials; maybe this connection with independent authors has colored your view of print on demand as a business practice.

Nowadays the print quality is virtually indistinguishable between large print runs and POD; this prejudice is outdated. POD’s bad rap is unearned, or at the very least, no longer based in fact.

Your association is a different animal than a wet-behind-the-ears author who is just trying to gain exposure. Your goal is different: you want to bring timely, relevant content to learners. To accomplish this, it’s best to avoid printing more course books than you need.

Moreover, POD is a good business decision for associations that run continuing education (CE) programs. Many associations update their materials frequently, so printing hundreds of books that could become outdated (and therefore more or less useless) doesn’t make sense. POD is a smart choice to mitigate the risk that larger print runs bring.

Omnipress customer (ISC)2 switched to a POD model, which eliminated the need to print, ship, and store materials around the globe. This led to a cost savings of 60%!

To read the complete (ISC)2 story, download the case study! If your association could stand to save money on print and fulfillment of your CE printed materials, Omnipress can help! Reach out to us to learn more.

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.

Skip to content Top