Print Supplier or Print Manager?

Print Supplier or Print Manager

Responsible officers and budget holders in Local Authorities and wider public sector organisations want to ensure that public money is spent wisely. 

Many have worked with reliable and trust-worthy print suppliers for several years. Often, they are extremely comfortable with the service provided. However, budgets are under pressure. Inevitably the question must be asked: “Are we getting value for money?”

There are two options at this point. Stick with the status quo and hope for the best or look at alternative ways to do things, like implementing a comprehensive and proven print management strategy.

Well-implemented print management does more than save money. It helps control brand and budget. It could improve all outbound communications and help drive the organisation’s digital transformation agenda. 

The ancillary and perhaps unexpected benefits include freeing up valuable staff time to focus on core activities, removing worry from the in-house team and mitigating risk. A good print management strategy helps organisations to make a positive difference to employees and customers.

Let’s look at how this can happen through the eyes of a manager in a council.

Dan’s story

Dan heads up the small creative team of designers, artworkers and the communication and marketing resource at the council. They are a busy bunch and in addition to the creative work they do, they spend time (which they cannot afford) placing and managing the printed output from the designs they produce.

Most of the products provide information to the public or act as forms for use both internally and externally. The team is currently a fraction of the size it used to be and departing staff have not been replaced to help keep costs down.

Dan and his team used to access the knowledge and expertise from the in-house print unit but this has closed and now. Print is generally sourced from a reliable and local print supplier, with other ad-hoc local suppliers filling in when the normal supplier is unable to meet the requirement.

Like many of Dan’s peers, he and his team have only limited print knowledge and they depend on the local supplier to help them.

Cognisant of the need to ensure value for money, Dan did some research on a print management solution and the various framework arrangements that could provide the Council with a compliant route to market. He invited CDS, one of the RM3785 Lot 2 framework providers.

What Dan learned

A print management solution will take away most of the everyday pain in sourcing and managing the print requirements. CDS explained that although the trusted local supplier will provide a good, reliable and cost-efficient solution for certain products, they can never be cost efficient across the wide range of produces that Dan and his team source.

This is because of the limitations of their equipment in terms of size, scale, and configuration.  

The print management solution uses experienced print professionals to source the right print supplier for the product required. This will depend on size, volume, finish and time frames – it may also depend on the budget. The print manager will never experience bottlenecks because the job will be placed with an alternative supplier who can deliver on time.

Dan also learned that the print manager will provide alternatives to print; multi-channel output solutions that help the Council towards their digital transformation agenda whilst cutting unnecessary print cost – something that has never been on offer from the trusted local supplier.

Most importantly, the print manager meets all the business, security, quality, health and safety and environmental accreditation's and ensures that their supply chain does too.

Dan’s local supplier need not lose out either as most print managers would be happy to ‘on-board’ trusted suppliers and place appropriate work with them if they demonstrate competitiveness.

Dan’s next steps

Dan took CDS’ advice and working with the procurement team let a contract under the CCS Framework RM3785 awarding CDS with a four-year arrangement following a mini-competition with five other print manager suppliers.

The result

A dedicated account manager works with Dan and his colleagues to fully understand the requirements both on a tactical and strategic basis; management information (MI) embracing the whole requirement is provided regularly and Dan can access MI anytime he wishes because he has been given ‘same view’ access to the CDS bespoke browser-based management system, Print Portal.

The CDS team provide Dan’s clients with all the help, advice and guidance they need to generate the right solution including the provision of multi-channel output and other digital solutions designed to achieve cost efficiencies through reduced print volumes and more focus on a digital first strategy.   

The team are delighted and re-motivated. Finally, they can focus on their core business.

Take action

If you and your organisation are considering a potential print management solution, the Crown Commercial Service (CCS) framework (defined below), could be a good vehicle for you. It avoids the onerous processes linked to the OJEU. 

The CCS framework RM3785 Lot 2 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.

For more information please see:


CDS is an approved Lot 2 framework supplier offering a bespoke, tailored and competed solution to your requirements.

More about CDS

David BurtonCDS are a communications agency. We apply intelligent thinking to transform communications and experiences across creative, digital, print and technology.

If you have a similar requirement and need great results from a company that understands the Public Sector and Wider Public Sector, please get in touch with me, David Burton, on 0113 399 4000.

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