How Important Should Price be in Choosing Any Printer?
A blog hosted by a well-known print periodical recently included a posting on why price should not be the sole criteria for choosing a printer. The author was a professional print buyer, presumably with years of experience in the field.
One really can’t argue with his major points. He likened print procurement to buying a cell phone, in that one may choose to pay more for a cell phone with extra features. He did not buy his phone based on cost; rather he paid a little more for a phone that had the features he wanted.
The author listed three features he thought were worth considering in selecting a printer. Good printers, he opined:
* Are financially stable.
* Can reduce your costs.
* Have a development plan.
One would be hard pressed to argue with that logic—and I’m not arguing with these points. In fact, I embrace them whole-heartedly. There is more to buying print than price.
I spent a good deal of time buying printing in a public sector environment where we were required to take at least three bids and place the job with the lowest bidder. Believe me, we learned first hand that the low bid was not always the best one.
What did we do? We developed strategies to avoid the losers and direct requests for bids to the print companies that were reputable, did good work, met all of the job specifications, and delivered on time. So, in a sense, we were shopping for features as well, even though at the end of the day we had to go with the low-cost bid. And sometimes we got burned.
The responses and comments to the blog posting were overwhelmingly positive. No surprise there, since most of the people that commented appeared to come from the commercial printing industry.
Ray Chambers, CGCM, MBA, has invested over 30 years managing and directing printing plants, copy centers, mail centers and award-winning document management facilities in higher education and government.
Most recently, Chambers served as vice president and chief information officer at Juniata College. Chambers is currently a doctoral candidate studying Higher Education Administration at the Pennsylvania State University (PSU). His research interests include outsourcing in higher education and its impact on support services in higher education and managing support services. He also consults (Chambers Management Group) with leaders in both the public and private sectors to help them understand and improve in-plant printing and document services operations.