5 Key Questions Print Buyers Should Ask Vendors... But Usually Don't | Go2Paper
May 16, 2022

5 Key Questions Print Buyers Should Ask Vendors... But Usually Don't

Although agencies and companies outsource their printing and packaging all the time, print buyers are usually not trained to ask the right questions. Knowing the right questions to ask - and why they're important - will ensure that your vendor will be able to service not only your current projects, but also handle more complex projects down the road, solve problems quickly, suggest cost saving opportunities, and meet deadlines.
Below are five of the most important (but least asked) questions a print buyer should ask of a vendor before signing any long-term contracts.
1. Do They Care About Your Company?
From the very start of your relationship, your account rep should be asking questions about your business goals, needs, and objectives, as well as your project's goals and specs. The best account reps strive to gain a full understanding of what your company or customer is trying to achieve, so they can suggest modifications or alternative solutions that might save time or money. So, when putting a job out to bid, provide extra points to those vendors that ask a lot of questions about your project, company, and goals.
2. Is Staff Training a Part of the Culture?
Choosing a partner with an educated team and optimized workplace increases the likelihood of solving challenges as they arise. Before hiring a vendor for a long-term project, ask about their certifications (G7, ISO, 6 Sigma, etc.) and how often they provide staff training sessions. Companies that keep their team current with best practices will be able to better identify issues-and solve them-before they can affect production times.
3. What Eco-Friendly Initiatives Are in Place?
If sustainability is a cornerstone of your company's mission and vision, then selecting a vendor with a similar mindset is important. There's nothing better than adding to your own sustainability success story by describing to your consumers how the packaging itself is recyclable, or that your vendor uses green technologies. So before hiring a printer or packaging company, make sure to ask:
4. How Long Have They Been in the Print/Packaging Business?
If you need a printing/packaging partner, ask them how long they've been offering their services. If they started out as a commercial printer and only recently switched over to packaging, you might want to do further due diligence, as it can be difficult to guide customers through a process your printer is still learning themselves. Partnering with a packaging company that has redundant packaging equipment and many years' packaging expertise provides a greater likelihood that if one piece of equipment needs unexpected maintenance, your package will still get printed by deadline.
5. What Other Services are Offered Besides Printing/Packaging?
Source printing or packaging partners that provide a broad range of services, such as graphic design, bundling, kitting, sleeving, assembly, binding, or fulfillment. You may not need all these services for your current projects, but if you get a more complex project down the road, you won't have to start from scratch and source it out to a different printer, or find a separate finishing, binding, or fulfillment company. Having everything produced in one place-and by one team-ensures a greater level of consistency.
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