How to avoid the three pitfalls of not having a defined print strategy


We come across numerous organisations who adopt an ad-hoc approach to procuring print. In this article, I look at three main pitfalls with a particular focus on the university and higher education (HE) sector.

I believe it is time to disrupt the traditional approach and engage with new ways to source and manage printed communications, which you can now access, thanks to a blend of digital technology, innovative solutions and human expertise.

Let’s look at three main pitfalls and how to overcome them.

Pitfall #1: Lack of purchasing power

If a university or HE College is working with numerous suppliers, as is often the case, then their ability to achieve best value through economies of scale or leveraged spend is dramatically reduced.

By centralising print procurement with a single contracted supplier, providing a print management service, you will benefit from consolidated print purchasing power – at scale. Printers are attracted by the opportunity to increase sales volumes and fill their presses, so they become more commercially focused when presenting prices to print managers.

Essentially, this means that print managers, with a significant spend portfolio can achieve much keener pricing. Our company, CDS, pass these savings back to the customer.

Pitfall #2: Absence of common goals and objectives

With departments and faculties often working in isolation and not sharing common objectives, achieving best value is a challenge.

A company like CDS, working under a term contract, will provide a list of agreed objectives to a university or HE college in the form of a Service Level Agreement. 

CDS will provide a single point of access, help and advice and a team of professional print managers who are formally briefed about specific requirements, like branding, and the goals and objectives of the contract.

Cost reduction, performance and service-related goals as well as environmental and sustainability targets, are typical KPls, against which CDS is measured and held accountable.

Pitfall #3: Failure to innovate

Busy people in busy education departments with heavy workloads become isolated from technological advancements and innovation. As a result, opportunities are missed to add value and increase positive outcomes.

It's a real challenge to keep up with the best available production processes and equipment, new materials or advanced marketing solutions to drive improved student engagement, acquisition and retention. This is even more difficult when buyers have limited experience of the print market.

Specialists like the CDS print team are continually studying new technologies which will not only assist their own business but also drive improved benefits to their clients and their end customers as well.

CDS promotes supplier innovation days where print suppliers come along to discuss, advise and demonstrate how innovation and new technologies are impacting their particular business. These events are for print suppliers, CDS’s experts and their clients to share knowledge, innovation challenges and solve problems together.

What to consider next?

If you’re involved in university communications, then you should alert the relevant people in your organisation about the opportunities offered through the North Western Universities Purchasing Consortium (NWUPC). They let a Print Solutions Framework (PRI 3070) with a specific Print Management (Neutral Vendor) solution – Lot 11.

The framework is open to members of all the university purchasing consortiums – NWUPC; NEUPC; SUPC; LUPC and HEPCW. It’s a great way to engage with a print management supplier and to start tackling the pitfalls outlined above.

David BurtonIf you'd like to discover more about how CDS and the NWUPC Print Solutions Framework can help improve your University's brand management and print expenditure, please get in touch.

David Burton – Principle Account Director, Public Sector

Office – 0113 399 4180

Mobile – 07710 533 615

Or click here to see further information

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