Job Batching: How to save money on your print jobs without beating up your printer

There are a lot of rowers on the rivers near me.  Some rowers go out individually.  And they go at incredible speeds.  But the fastest rowers are those who work in teams of four or eight.

The more rowers in a boat, the better the results.  And it’s the same with print jobs.

You get better economies if you print jobs together

A single rower does not go as fast as a boat with many oarsmen. To achieve the best print costs you need to use job batching with many jobs

And the way to do this is by job batching.

Print buyers who use job batching will achieve more with their print budgets.  They will also have better control over managing their jobs as they will have less individual orders.

Print buyers who don’t use job batching will have more individual jobs to manage.  They won’t have the same control over their print work.  They won’t be able to achieve the same amount of throughput with their time.   And they won’t be able to achieve the same with their print budgets.
Job batching can make a big difference for print buyers and print budgets.

What is job batching?

Job batching is when you combine print jobs with similar specifications.  Maybe you have two A4 leaflets printed on the same paper and with approximately the same print run.  It is much more economical to print them at the same time.  That way you only have one job make ready, one set of finishing and one delivery.

That sounds great in theory.  But sometimes it is harder to achieve in practice.

What happens if my print jobs are all different specifications?

It is surprising what can be done with job batching and a little imagination.  If there is a real desire to go down this route it can often be achieved.
Here are three ways to help you achieve successful job batching:

Compare jobs

If you have a lot of different jobs it can be worth putting them all in a simple spreadsheet.  The spreadsheet should contain size, run, paper, colour and schedule.  By sorting the spreadsheet you can begin to highlight similarities between jobs.  And sometimes jobs could be batched if it were not for one detail.

At this point you can go back to your budget holder and discuss the situation with them.  If the budget holder can see savings they are often prepared to make changes.  So a product might be sent to press earlier.  Or printed on a slightly different paper.
But sometimes this work doesn’t produce enough work to batch.  Then it’s time to look at a second strategy.

Work with other companies

You may well be aware of other companies that produce similar items to yourself.  Buyers at other companies may well be open to co-operation.  They may be prepared to send similar jobs at the same time as yours so that both companies can see print savings.
It is worth taking some time to research other companies who may be prepared to work in this way.  LinkedIn can be an effective way to achieve this.

But if you can’t find any other companies then there is another way.

Ask your printer to batch

It is worth talking to your printer to see if they are producing other similar jobs to yours.  They may well be prepared to consider batching up your jobs and passing on savings to you.

However, you need to be aware that some companies carry out batching as standard.  You may find that this is being done for your jobs already without your knowledge.

So there are three ways for you to investigate batch production.  Some print buyers are not convinced about batch production.

Won’t batch production affect colour reproduction?

This may be true for fine art printing.  But for the majority of print buyers who need good quality commercial print it should not be an issue.  As long as you pick a printer with good colour management, you should not see any issues.

However, there are a couple of issues that you should remember about batch production.

Don’t forget it may be cheaper to print more

Print buyers should always be prepared to consider batching together jobs with different print runs.  It can still be more economical to batch jobs, even if this means printing more of some low run items.

Batch print won’t work with very low run jobs.  If you are using digital presses there is no benefit to batching jobs.  This is because they effectively have no make ready costs.  But if you are printing litho then you should definitely consider using batch printing.

Here are three action points to get you moving on batch printing

  1. Create a spreadsheet of your jobs as outlined above.  Analyse it to see where you have similar jobs that could be printed together.
  2. Research other companies that produce the same products as you.  Find out the buyer’s contact details and approach them to see if they would consider batching their print jobs with yours.
  3. Talk to your printer and investigate if there are opportunities to batch your jobs with other clients’ work.

You’ll soon find that using the power of many will get you better results, just like the rowers.
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2 Responses to Job Batching: How to save money on your print jobs without beating up your printer

  • Another great article Matthew. I wouldn’t under-estimate the challenges of identifying jobs from other buyers that can be batched without suitable print procurement tools in place. Even in the same organisation, its difficult for buyers to manage workload effectively. Most print is deadline driven, so getting jobs with similar specifications to the same supplier to meet the same timescales is tricky if done manually.

    That’s where online catalogues (or storefronts) can help. A good catalogue can aggregate demand across single and multiple organisations, locally, nationally and globally – enabling experts to batch appropriate jobs in real time and route to the right supplier for the job. This process can deliver batching for both ‘standard products’ and ‘custom requirements’ – and can accommodate quality, delivery, CSR and other key decisions.

    Hope this helps
    James Samuels
    Claritum

    • Matthew Parker says:

      Thanks for your comments James. I agree that the right software can definitely help, especially with larger projects. And sometimes it i easy to spot an opportunity just by looking at the products from another company!

      Best wishes

      Matthew

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