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How to Uncover Hidden Cash In Your Print Supply Chain

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If you discovered there were thousands of dollars buried in your backyard, you would drop everything and go to great lengths to dig it up. However, if that same treasure trove was buried beneath stacks of papers and old brochures at your company, you probably wouldn’t act with the same sense of urgency.

For years, many companies have approached print supply chain management as an afterthought rather than a strategy.

Fortunately, that’s changing.

More companies recognize that staying competitive means staying lean, and excess print inventory is one of the best opportunities to cut the fat.

Consider these findings recently highlighted in an article by InfoTrends digital publishing expert Barb Pellow:

  • Print materials comprise nearly 30 percent of total marketing spend, according to a 2015 InfoTrends study of over 800 enterprises
  • Seventy-eight percent of North American executives believe optimizing the print supply is a strategic imperative, according to a 2016 InfoTrends study.
  • Firms with 10,000 or more employees and those with revenues of $5 billion or higher said they were placing an even higher focus on optimizing supply chain management

Many of the wasted dollars companies face are the result of inefficient printing, ordering and warehousing. Large and mid-sized companies are accustomed to purchasing print materials in bulk to receive discounts and then storing them.

An optimal print supply chain eliminates bulk ordering, alleviating waste and reducing storage costs. It allows marketing and operations teams to work more efficiently, ordering only what they need while customizing it for specific campaigns or locations.

All this adds up to direct and indirect savings, including better budget control to greater productivity.

Here are five strategies for optimizing your supply chain to uncover hidden cash.

1. Gain Control Of Inventory By Increasing Document Visibility

When inventory is managed properly, companies can eliminate rush orders and ensure stock availability. Companies that have document visibility through a shared content and workflow management system can easily see ordering history, the quantities of items remaining in storage and any recent orders that have been placed. This helps to avoid unnecessary printing and waste.

2. Design Documents To Lower Cost

Better cost control starts from the time documents are created. Printed materials should be designed in such a way that keeps costs in check, such as minimizing bleeds. These small adjustments can go a long way toward reducing production costs without compromising document quality.

3. Consolidate Like Items

Why print 10 versions of the same letterhead when you can create just two? With better document visibility and oversight, companies are able to see duplication and can work with their commercial printer to eliminate it.

4. Convert to Digital Print-On-Demand

Converting documents to digital on-demand can reduce costs by 35 percent or more. Digital print-on-demand production offers companies the flexibility to test communications without running the risk of piles of papers going to waste.

5. Consolidate Vendors

These days, it’s not uncommon for companies to work with multiple vendors on a single project. They may contract out to a creative team, a commercial printer, and often, multiple distributors. Unfortunately each new vendor adds a layer of complexity and potential risk, so it’s important to select them carefully.

The DATA Communications Management team has expertise in end-to-end execution of marketing campaigns and operations collateral, from content and workflow management to commercial printing services and logistics and fulfillment.

In addition to our production facilities in Toronto, Calgary, and Drummondville, we have six warehouses across Canada. Our inventory management includes pallet, shelf, secure-cage and vault storage. We support it with real-time reporting through our automated web-to-print platform, helping clients gain better oversight of inventory and spend.

We also help them make improvements that speed up processes and lower costs. By analyzing printed material and assessing usage, we can eliminate obsolescence and reduce overage — in some cases by more than 50 percent.

DATA can serve as a one-stop marketing and operations shop for an entire organization, allowing them to request documents on demand rather than needing to submit a simple request weeks in advance. This helps companies work more efficiently and have better budgetary control while also ensuring brand consistency across all their locations.

Print supply chain management likely isn’t at the top of your priorities list. Outsourcing it to an experienced partner allows your company to focus on revenue growth, rather than worrying about how much you’re spending in print costs.

Is your company leaving money on the table with an inefficient print supply chain? Contact us for a free consultation and diagnostic of your marketing supply chain.

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