Improve brand control and reduce print expenditure

Let’s look at the challenges universities face, from brand dilution to ineffective wasteful procurement and innovation myopia, and how to tackle these problems.

Students in the library

The solution lies in centralising core print expenditure with an experienced and expert print management company. Moving to a print management solution is easily accomplished for universities if they choose to procure via a compliant framework, such as lot 11 – Neutral Vendor, NWUPC Print Solutions Framework (PRI30370).

At CDS, we know from our experience of working with Universities, like Middlesex University, Queen’s University Belfast, the Open University and Higher Education bodies, that printing requirements are diverse and wide ranging, from business cards to prospectuses.

We recognise that marketing, communication and procurement functions within universities experience daily challenges when it comes to buying print and ensuring brand compliance.

Using a print management company, like CDS, will make life much easier, less stressful and at the same time deliver numerous benefits. 

All sensible organisations need to evaluate which channels are best to use, print or digital. CDS provides both print and digital services, and without the need to feed our own printing presses, we can provide transparent and objective advice. The final choice on channel and media remains yours, of course, but at least we can make you aware of your options. 

How to beat brand dilution 

Developing a brand, identity and persona for a University is time consuming and costly. Once created, the challenge is to ensure that it is applied consistently across all the university’s printed collateral and communication touch points.  

Universities with many faculties, internal departments and print users can find it difficult to get true visibility and a central view point on how their brand is used, especially when print is originated and sourced by many different personnel and output through an ‘uncontrolled’ group of print companies.

A print management company will act as your 'Brand Guardian' and offer a range of innovative online technologies to assist with the accessibility, control, compliance and delivery of your brand across all users. 

Also, by working closely with marketing and procurement teams, print management experts develop a clear understanding of how the brand should be used and applied to each piece of printed collateral. This ensures consistency across all items sourced and produced.

Beware of fragmented purchasing

Different buyers, from different departments, purchasing from different suppliers is a high risk strategy.

How can a Print Management company mitigate the risks:

  • You have a single point of contact for all print related communication
  • You ensure control, approval and consistent monitoring of suppliers
  • You ensure brand consistency and compliance with quality standards
  • You receive transparent and accurate financial reporting of print spend across all departments 
  • You gain accurate stock control and timely replenishment of collateral, minimising capital tie-up and waste

Inexperienced and ineffective purchasing

Students working

Often print is seen as a low priority with ordering delegated to junior personnel who may have little to no print knowledge. The result can be inefficient purchasing. Print is a technical subject and requires specific knowledge of the optimum production processes in order to deliver best value.

Also, using inexperienced personnel distracts them from other work as they face the challenges associated with selecting suppliers, securing print quotes and negotiating production schedules. 

Print Management companies employ highly skilled, knowledgeable and experienced print buyers who can identify the key characteristics of any print job. They know the correct print equipment required. They can decide, in CDS’ case, which of their vetted 150+ suppliers to request a quote from, to ensure the job is produced in the most cost-efficient way. This is the only way to deliver best value and consistent high quality, within the timescales required.

They also offer advice and an agnostic approach to reducing a University’s print spend by recommending alternative materials, different specifications or even in some cases, transferring the collateral from print to a digital alternative.

Resolving non-conformities or wrongly printed work is also much easier with a print management company since the onus is on the print management company to put the job right. Using their knowledge, they can effectively diagnose the cause and implement the necessary remedial action to resolve issues quickly with the minimum amount of fuss and delay.

Lack of purchasing power

If a university is working with a wide number of suppliers, as is often the case, then the ability for that university to achieve best value through economies of scale or leverage of spend is dramatically reduced.

By using the consolidated print purchasing power of a print management company, suppliers are attracted by the opportunity to increase sales volumes, and fill their presses so they become more commercially focused when presenting prices. Essentially, this means that print management companies are able to generate savings that are then passed back to the customer.

Absence of common goals and objectives

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

A print management company like CDS on the other hand will provide a list of specific and agreed objectives to a university in the form of a Service Level Agreement.

Cost reduction, performance and service related goals, environmental and sustainability targets, are typical KPIs for print management companies against which they are measured and held accountable.

Innovation Myopia

Students in class

Busy people in busy university departments with heavy workloads become isolated from technological advancements and innovation resulting in missed opportunities 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.

A print management company like CDS is continually studying new technologies which will not only assist their own business but drive improved benefits to their customers and potential customers as well.

To summarise

Unlike individual printing companies working on a 'job by job' basis with a focus on the ‘here and now’, a print management company takes a more strategic view point, operating to achieve a clear set of defined and agreed objectives and goals with their university client.

They seek to become more of a working partner and an extension of a university’s marketing and procurement departments rather than just another supplier. A great print management company to work with, like CDS, will focus on developing a long a term relationship, with a passion to become a ‘trusted advisor’ utilising their wide ranging expertise, experience, industry knowledge, skilled staff and a robust and supportive supplier base.

They truly want to make your life easier, reduce your print hassle and ensure your print spend is effective. 

We trust this overview will provide a positive insight into the many benefits CDS as a print management company and an approved supplier on Lot 11 of the NWUPC Framework can provide. 

It makes sense to put your printing requirements in 'safe and trusted' hands!

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