Could you achieve more from your print buying if you stopped getting three quotes for every job?

Friday night is curry night

Martin always goes for a curry on a Friday night.  Martin always goes to the same curry house.  And he always chooses lamb saag. It has never occurred to Martin to go for a pizza, or fish and chips, or a Thai or a Chinese.  It has never occurred to him to try a korma or a jalfrezi or a tandoori.  Martin has never even wanted to try a different curry house. Martin knows what he likes.  He is comfortable with it.  Some might say that he is a bit too comfortable and a bit too set in his ways.

Could you achieve more from your print buying if you stopped getting three quotes for every job?

Could you achieve more from your print buying if you stopped getting three quotes for every job?

Sometimes print buyers can be a bit too set in their ways

Many print buyers consider that they have tested the market sufficiently for their jobs by asking for prices from three different suppliers.  The suppliers typically come from a small group of “preferred suppliers”.  Print buyers could achieve so much more. There are three reasons why obtaining three prices means that buyers don’t achieve as much as they might:

  1. You don’t know if you are really using the right print supplier
  2. You never challenge your existing suppliers
  3. Your existing suppliers get used to your pricing

You don’t know if you are really using the right print supplier

Most suppliers have something different from their competition in their plant list.  Or a supplier has a different way of doing things.  So are you really sure that you have chosen the right three suppliers to quote? Is there a supplier out there who could print your job in a more efficient way?  Do you know your print suppliers really, really well?  Do you understand their processes?  Are you an expert on print equipment? Are you absolutely certain that the printer who wins your job is the right one? Sometimes it is worth looking for new printers.  This way of challenging your current suppliers can be worthwhile.

You never challenge your suppliers

Challenging your suppliers can bring great results.  You don’t have to challenge them with alternative printers.  Instead you can ask them to do things differently.  For instance you can ask them to split out the paper cost.  Or you can ask them to suggest an alternative specification.  You need to get them to sit up and take notice of you. But you will not achieve this just by asking them for a quote and hoping for the best.  If you don’t challenge suppliers they can become very complacent.  And one way in which suppliers become complacent is with price.

Your suppliers become used to your pricing

If you always use the same pool of suppliers to get three quotes for every job then they become used to what you want.  More worryingly, they get used to what they can get away with.  Changing things challenges them.  They are challenged to make sure they are giving you competitive quotes.  They are challenged to make sure they are producing your work in the most efficient way.

So how can you challenge your suppliers?

  1. Invite new suppliers to quote.  Try some new suppliers who contact you, or try researching some alternative suppliers and contacting them yourself
  2. If you have some new suppliers ask for more than three quotes for a job sometimes
  3. Sometimes less is more.  Try pricing a job with one supplier only.  This is the ultimate challenge to make sure that you have really thought about if you have chosen the right supplier

Make sure that you try some new things with your suppliers

Don’t become too comfortable or set in your ways. Otherwise you might end up eating exactly the same curry every Friday night.

P.S.  If you have found this article useful, you may also be interested in Print & Procurement’s practical purchasing workshopClick here to find out more

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