Bold and radical ideas from a client focussed print manager

Constantly looking out for savings opportunities and efficiencies. Challenging what is requested. Is there a better solution and is it still ‘fit for purpose’?


So, what drives print managers to focus on cutting cost; seeking out efficiencies and working other tools such as product re-engineering, product rationalisation, triage and bulking up – all of which will drive down cost and reduce a print manager’s management fee/income/profitability.

A typical commercial model in print management is Cost Plus – i.e. print is bought at £X and a % management fee is added (to cover the costs of providing the service etc). Print is then sold at £Y. In this typical model, the more revenue generated from the client, the greater the management fee and in theory, the greater the profitability of the arrangement.

But, thankfully, it’s not just about revenue and profit, although clearly, both have a key role to play in:

  • enabling the print manager to provide the service, and 
  • ensuring that the company stays in business. 

It is about clients trusting the print manager; mutual respect; recognition of the significant ‘added value’ the print manager brings to the arrangement; true partnership where both sides understand the strategic priorities of each other and work together to help deliver them; and long-term relationships where the print manager becomes part of the client’s fabric.

I can think of many examples where considerable savings and efficiencies have been achieved. You have only to review our case studies to quantify this but I would like to share something bold and radical that we proposed to one of our clients facing huge budget cuts. 

Although, in the scheme of things, the savings potential represented only a fraction of the saving that had to be achieved across the client’s whole spend, it demonstrated just how willing we were, as a business, to identify a solution that in theory could shave 50-75% off their print budget (and similarly, reduce our income).

Solution: Eliminate colour print altogether. Design and print everything using mono (black print). Radical? Absolutely. The concept initially created havoc especially within the creative teams belonging to marketing and communications – who saw this as a bridge too far and potentially something that would inhibit their creative skills. 

But, in my 25 years or so in the industry I have seen mono print used to great effect – producing elegant, striking and thought-provoking copy. Use of tints and screens can replace highlight colour and introduce texture. All that is required is a little thought, experimentation and application – isn’t this what creatives do?

Now, apply this to the Public Sector – how much of an outcry would there be from the public who start receiving information/communications in mono? Furthermore, if the reasoning behind the move to mono was properly explained (saving the public purse etc) – surely there would be shouts of delight!

If you and your organisation are looking to put a print management solution in place and, you are in Central Government or the Wider Public Sector, the Crown Commercial Service (CCS) Framework, could be a good vehicle for you avoiding the onerous processes linked to the OJEU.

David BurtonThe CCS Framework RM3785 offers all Public-Sector organisations the flexibility to source a fully-managed, end-to-end print and digital solution that includes associated services, such as design, storage, fulfilment and distribution, postal dispatch, scanning and stock management. The framework offers a compliant, straightforward, quick, cost efficient and direct route to market.

Interested? For more information visit our page all about the Crown Commercial Services Framework, email David Burton at CDS, or call 0113 399 4000 and we will do what we can to help.

CDS is one of six framework suppliers.

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