Imagine the Possibilities:
Partnering with your Printer
Since our printing business was founded, we’ve had the chance to work with hundreds of customers ranging from those whose primary job is to buy or manage printing to those who rarely need to place an order. We’ve had our share of miraculous saves – those awe-inspiring times when despite an impossible deadline and less than optimal manufacturing circumstances, the job gets done and done right. We’ve also had a few misses, where no matter how hard we tried, things just kept going wrong.
We expect you’ve had the same range of experiences – those times when you felt immense gratitude to your printer for a job well done, as well as those times when despite everyone’s best intentions, the job was a disappointment. In this issue of in Printips, we’re going to share our observations gleaned from our years of business transactions, on the best way to be totally satisfied with your printer.
A few fast facts about printers
Whether you think of us as a commercial printer, a digital printer, a quick printer, a copy shop, a specialty printer, or printing vendor, this is what we do for you: we determine from talking to you what it is you need; we select the best way to meet your requirements; and we provide you with a price to do so. And because we want you as a repeat customer, we organize our customer service activities so you’ll have a pleasant buying experience and our manufacturing processes so we can fill your orders efficiently and cost-effectively.
How to choose the right printer
So if all printers are doing the same thing, how do you know which one to buy from? Some how-to articles suggest you look at our equipment; others, our price; yet others, how long we’ve been in business or how many people we employ. While all those things are important, they are a necessary but not sufficient set of criteria. Taken together, they help you predict whether we have the capability and capacity to do your work, and whether you have necessary budget. But relying on those factors alone doesn’t address what we think is the most important basis for selecting a printer – the likelihood that you can build a relationship based on trust.
We mentioned earlier that over the years we’ve done business with many different kinds of customers. Based on that experience, we’ve become pretty good at predicting who will select us as their printer and who will move on. We are most successful when our customer has
• a regular, recurring need for the kind of printing we do;
• a budget adequate for the printing specifications;
• the authority to place an order;
• the ability to cooperate with our manufacturing standards;
• adequate time to schedule production;
• a willingness to learn from us;
• good communication skills; and
• respect for us as printing professionals.
The more of these characteristics that are present, the higher the probability we can build the trusting relationship we seek.
What is a trusting relationship?
When we speak of a trusting relationship, we are describing an interaction between you and us that leads to mutual satisfaction – you’re satisfied because the job was delivered on time, as ordered, and at the agreed-upon price. We’re satisfied because we have demonstrated our dependability. We believe it is an accumulation of dozens of these transactions that produces a trusting relationship.
Recall that there are three requirements for a trusting relationship: you must need what we provide, and need it on a regular, recurring basis; we must know alternatives for producing the job and select the right one; and you must agree to the price we offer to complete the work.
The price we offer you is based on a combination of factors – the exact specifications of the job, the time available to complete it according to specifications, the capability of our equipment and staff for the specifications, and how much of our capacity the job requires. You may have had the experience of asking several printers to quote using an identical set of specifications, and finding wide variation in price. Likely you found two quotations that were outliers – one very high and one very low – and the rest clustered together. You may have wondered how there could be such a difference between the highest and the lowest, or between the lowest and all the other quotations.
Although there can be many reasons, one possibility is related to the equipment needed to produce the job. Price is related to manufacturing capability – the lower the cost of production, the lower the price. Despite what some may claim, it is very rare to find one printing company that has one of every piece of equipment that could be used to produce a job. Rather, the printing company is equipped for a well-defined scope of work. If your printing job fits within that scope of work, that fact will be reflected in the price.
From time-to-time, you may have a printing project that doesn’t fit well with our production capability. For example, an order of 2000 envelopes printed with your two-color logo fits well within our manufacturing capability. But if you are planning a direct mail marketing campaign and need 50,000 envelopes, it may be advantageous for both pricing and turnaround time, if we subcontract printing of the envelopes to a printer who specializes in envelope printing.
If we are in a trusting relationship with you, we may take this action without consulting you as part of our commitment to know alternate methods of production and select the right one for a particular job. The fact that you don’t know where the envelopes were printed is not material, for no matter where the printing takes place, we remain responsible for the job. That means we’re responsible for quality, timeliness and price, exactly as we would be if we had printed the job.
Remember, too, that all printers extend their manufacturing capability by forming relationships with trade vendors. Typically these are printing professionals who do one thing only. Some examples are printers who specialize in thermography (raised lettering); printers who add foil stamping or embossing to printed pieces; printers who manufacture envelopes; printers who manufacture presentation folders; binderies that make booklets or put covers on books. We have established these relationships precisely so we can be responsible for your entire job – not hand you printed sheets and send you somewhere else to have them folded or made into booklets.
We make it easy for you
Our goal always is to handle your printing orders so you are confident they will be delivered on time, as ordered, and at the agreed-upon price. We know you appreciate being able to trust us with your work, knowing we will choose the best production method for each particular job and that we will always be responsible for the final job, no matter where it is produced. Trust us on that.