Who should own procurement of the print commodity?

Is there value in Print Management Centres?

Corporations expend considerable time and effort managing and maximising investment in areas such as Information Technology, Human Resources (HR), Facilities and other direct expenditure areas. However, they typically overlook a huge but hidden commodity – Print, Christian Bell, Sales and Marketing Manager at local Print Management company POINT, tells SmartProcurement.

“If we agree with Aberdeen that between 2-3% of an organisation’s entire spend is on print, then a significant oversight exists. This occurs because the commodity is frequently ‘ownerless’”, notes Bell.

Who owns and who should own this significant commodity? Marketing would seem to be the obvious answer; however, we then need to consider Procurement and even Finance.

One challenge in embarking on a print management programme is finding the correct sponsor within the business. Savings of more than 20% should be enough of a motivation, but in reality corporations are more concerned with finding the true ‘owner’. The result is that these projects are then either delayed or, worse still, shelved.

“In my view Procurement should take the lead and take proof of concept to the Marketing department. Procurement is best placed to lead a Print Management programme, but it needs to be trusted by Marketing to deliver the same quality and delivery timescales. The irony is that marketing departments may find the process threatening or indeed believe that they can deliver the savings themselves. The reality is very different,” he explains.

Savings can be achieved by streamlining vendor numbers, ensuring the print work is routed to the most capable supplier and managing the process more closely. However, POINT’s experience shows that these savings are small compared with what can be delivered by specialist Print Management companies. These independent vendors bring to the party experienced print buyers and web-based technology.

Furthermore, print solicited by Marketing may only represent 40% of the entire Print spend, so we need to look deeper and wider to find the silos. Other areas with major spends are Corporate affairs, learning/development, HR, transactional print and Corporate Social Responsibility, says Bell.

Centralising these areas of spend may seem daunting, but if they can be routed through a central print management centre (PMC) the job is made simple. Compliance needs to be driven from on high. Once the PMC is established, all printed items can be procured in a far more efficient manner. Savings are leveraged further by economies of scale, paper management programmes, Digital Asset Management Libraries and variable data solutions for business cards for example.

A true PMC adds great value in a supply chain, rather than just creating savings. POINT offers a broad-based approach to the solution, which has delivered actual savings of 34% in some cases.

Who owns Print? A PMC does. From business cards and Report & Accounts, to point of sale, training manuals and everything in between.

A PMC is more than just self-funding; POINT typically delivers 300% ROI on top. The key is to make the decision to embark.

For more information on the benefits that Print Management Centres offer, contact Christian Bell of POINT SA on christian@pointsa.co.za

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