You just got a job at a company and one of your tasks is overseeing the print buying?  So what do you do?  Stay with the printing company you have been using or go find a new one.  Both are probably the best answer.  Begin by meeting with the existing printer and learn all you can about the relationship.  See if you are compatible with the person you will be working with.  Try to visit the company if you can because you will learn a lot of extra information with an onsite visit.  Second once you have a feel for the corporate capabilities of your current print supplier (and the needs of your company) you should see who else can provide printing services for your business card, brochure, flier and trade show event needs.  There are several things to consider and to help you with the task I have listed six suggestions below.   

Why is all of this important?  Should you select a printer that’s not suitable for your organizations requirements, you might wind up spending too much, being embarrassed with the finished product, or feeling helplessly incompetent especially if this is your first go at being a print buyer.  This can be much easier if the printing company does their job and proactively gives advice and help as needed.  Now to be clear it helps to ask.  No good print company is short of helpful assistance when asked.  They know that it is a critical point of differentiation.  As printers we all have our stories where we were chosen in a new relationship not because of low price but because we gave assistance long before we knew we would be given the job.  

You could Google the first company that comes up but a better approach is to arm yourself with some good information to minimize your risks.

So with that in mind here are my tips for print buyers to consider in their new roles: 

1.  Ask for advice from others who have similar responsibilities. People love to share for they have been in your shoes before. 

2.  Don’t delay in your research.    Printing can take time and a new relationship will also require more time so start now.  Even if you use small jobs to begin a relationship; it is easier for all concerned and gives you flexibility with your budget.  Pennywise and pound foolish and all that sort of jive.

3. If you are totally new to print buying seek out books on the subject.  Marge Dana of Boston Print Buyers (website referenced above is a good source).  We also have a FREE source available see below. 

4.  Use your social media connections such as LinkedIn Groups or even through Facebook to find resources for helpful information. 

5. Look into Printing Associations.  They will often have resources for the buyers of printing.  Even though they are mainly created for the commercial printers they realize the wisdom in helping out the buyers of printing.  Some associations include NAQP (National Association of Quick Printers) and the PIA which stands for Printing Industries of America.  Their website is www.printing.org  and the NAQP www.napl.org/ 

6.  Ask DPI.  Sure we are biased and yet we didn’t put this kind of information up on this blog because we want to trick you.  We are picky about who we work with, just like you should be.  If we are not a good fit for you or your company we will tell you.  We are busy, you are busy, it just makes sense to help people you really can help; otherwise you waste everyone’s time. If you want to interview Digital Print Ink contact us at info@digitalprintink.net.  We also have a FREE printing buyers guide with helpful tips on how to get the most from your printer and your printing experience.

Bottom line, you should not pick a printer blindly. There are more than 500,000 printing and publishing companies in the US.  You could get lost and confused before you find the printing relationship you need to make your printing needs hassle free.  So by following the guidelines in this article you can avoid some of the pitfalls a new print buyer faces.