You might well know Webmart as one of the UK’s foremost marketing services agencies, but we’ve also spent over 25 years connecting with, evaluating, assessing and collaborating with all the UK’s top commercial printing companies. So, we know a thing or two about the best places to buy print.
And we ‘digitally transformed’ our operation back in the early noughties – so we’ve an enormous amount of data and insight to draw on.
Which is why we’ve decided to share some of our insight to help procurement professionals and those tasked with running print tenders in finding the best print partners.
Print is a wildly complex procurement category. Unlike many commoditised products, specifications are incredibly hard to pin down. Each project varies in substrate, format, ink, manufacture, dimensions, pagination, data, finishing, distribution to name just a few of the variables.
And within each, there can be a dizzying array of variation, all designed to reduce cost, increase impact, promote branding, attract customers and deliver the right response mechanism.
One thing that catches many non-specialist buyers out is the fluctuation in the price of print – even from the same plant and the same presses for the same specification of work. Prices roller-coaster on an annual, monthly – even weekly – basis. So, whereas taking a pricing snapshot to base future prices on might work for many procurement categories, it’s often not appropriate for print.
All of which makes it a particularly difficult category to balance our goals of reducing cost and streamlining production while working in partnership with suppliers to realise the value they can create for us.
It might be one of the oldest professions (570 years old to be precise!), but things are never static in the world of print and print buying. Not only do you have to consider the impact of new enabling technologies on printing presses, fulfilment and distribution, but there’s also a wide range of global accreditations and certifications as well as compliancy and transparency demands your organisation is sure to want. So, it’s essential you’re versed in some of the background to understand the drivers for change.
If you’re running a print tender or simply involved in the spot buying market, you want to find the best-match UK print suppliers for your production. First up, you need to fully understand your own requirements – the type of print and your project’s goals. That done, it’s a matter of understanding the capabilities of each printer to match the two.
We’re compiling some articles, whitepapers, lists and examples of to help non-specialist print procurement people (as well as category specialists) understand how you can find and filter UK printers so you know you’re talking to the right people.
And since we’ve been sourcing print and evaluating printers for the last 25 years, we’ve included our own supplier evaluation processes below.
As always, if you need help or advice on buying commercial print in the UK or would like to take advantage of Webmart’s print procurement expertise by inviting us into your tender, please get in touch.
Your dashboard pulls together heaps of useful information onto one page including:
Project management along with instant estimates, dynamic pricing using live supplier data and RFQ management across your entire supply chain. Plus all your estimates and orders in one place – with details of project numbers and names, quantities, management team and latest statuses.
One of the main drivers with of any print tender is to reduce or avoid cost. Understanding the underlying cyclical and capacity-driven nature of print is vital, but so too is process and press configuration and product re-engineering. To help you ensure your print costs are kept to a minimum - and what to look out for during your print tender process - we're creating some fact sheets and resources to help you on your way. In the meantime, if there's anything specific you're looking for, please get in touch and we'll be only too happy to help.Get in touch
Of course, driving out cost is one corner of the triangle. But you need to ensure schedules don't suffer and print quality is maintained (or even enhanced from your existing supplier). If you're struggling with quality management problems, we've years of experience of bringing projects back on track.Get in touch
Here’s some more in-depth print procurement resources to give you a deeper understanding of UK print buying as well as covering some of the areas you should consider when you’re running an RFx or print tender. We’re building out this page as a resource over the coming months. In the meantime, please get in touch if you need insight and information on any of these areas:
Here’s some useful forms and resources to help with supplier evaluation, print specifications and other print procurement related tasks.