Survival in the printing industry has always required a keen sense of awareness and adaptability. It’s even more so in our post-pandemic, unpredictable economy. Yet relying solely on old contacts and habits formed from experience can make us miss readily available opportunities. That supplier price that we got from "the company we always use" might no longer be the best alternative, and it can cost us.
The Comfort Zone Pitfall
We've all been there. There's a certain comfort in sticking with the familiar, be it a favorite restaurant, brand, or in the context of business, a trusted vendor. After all, why fix what isn’t broken? This mindset, while comforting, can sometimes be a business's undoing, especially in dynamic sectors like print.
In my own experience, I confess to making outsourcing decisions by going with “the guy that did it last time.” It’s a matter of habit, comfort, and the vital need to quickly get things done.
While this approach might seem harmless and even efficient on the surface, it can lead us down a potentially rocky road. The landscape today isn't what it was even a couple years ago.
Why What We ‘Think’ is Right Can Prevent Us Getting the Best Quotes
Because the printing industry, much like any other technology-based industry, is never static, I did a little experiment with outsourcing decisions.
What I found in recent months is that by ALWAYS including our top 3 suppliers in my quote requests, I discovered that things have dramatically changed.
Where company A was the leader 3 years ago, today company B is the leader. They also bring additional value of fast quotes, exceptional quality, service, and communication to the table. This means they are preferred if all else is equal or even close. 3 years ago, the cost difference could not be made up with the added value that I just mentioned, but today is totally different, and Company B is the clear leader.
Basing decisions on "the way it's always been done" was costing me in the form of missed opportunities and inefficiencies.
A New Way to Work with Print Vendors
Working with vendors is not just about finding the best price or the quickest turnaround time. My experience with tracking vendor bids emphasizes the importance of overall value.
Today, the difference in cost between vendors can often be offset by the added value they bring to the table. This value can show up in the form of exceptional service, ability to meet rigorous quality standards, effective communication, fast online quoting resources, or one-to-one personal customer support.
There are three steps to finding out about and staying up to date with these new opportunities.
1 – Always include your top 3 (or more) suppliers in your requests for bids.
2 – Solicit quotes regularly.
3 – Keep an open feedback loop with your vendors. Let them know where their pricing and service stand in relation to the other bids.
From my vantage point, without the ability to get pricing and other feedback, it's nearly impossible for us to strike the right balance between profitability, competitive pricing, and overall value.
We’re all used to soliciting feedback from our clients and keeping an open line of communication with them. It’s just as important to do the same with our vendors.
Open communication and feedback loops benefit both parties, leading to growth, efficiency, and long-term partnerships.
The Value of Feedback in Requests for Quotes
When the only constant is change, feedback serves as a vital compass. For wholesale companies like Western Trade Printing, feedback isn't just a tool for self-reflection. It offers insights into the current state of the print industry and provides a roadmap for future growth for us and our clients.
Active feedback helps companies:
✔️ Stay tuned in to the needs and preferences of clients
✔️ Add new products and services
✔️ Refine existing product and service offerings
✔️ See where they stand in the market
The Benefits of Regular Requests for Quotes
In the never-ending quest to get the best printing quotes possible, one strategy reigns supreme – regularity.
By consistently seeking out and comparing quotes from trusted vendors, printers can ensure they remain at the forefront of industry trends. The avoid missed opportunities for better efficiency and pricing.
Such proactive measures not only lead to better informed outsourcing decisions but also foster a culture of continuous learning and adaptation.
Rest assured that unlike many trade vendors, we never complain about getting too many quotes and not enough work. Instead, we simply ask for feedback on our pricing compared to other vendors or to doing the work yourself in-house. We learn from every quote we don’t win, which in turn helps us to be a better trade printing partner to clients like you.
It’s an iterative process that benefits both parties to the quote.
Final Thoughts on How to Get the Best Print Quotes
The printing industry’s intricate web of vendors, technologies, and market dynamics presents both challenges and opportunities. The path toward more opportunity is clear: remain adaptable, get regular quotes from your top vendors, get regular feedback from clients and vendors alike, and stay in tune with the market.
A culture of continuous learning and open communication, such as the one here at Western Trade Printing, gives us the ability to help our clients grow and succeed despite the changes around us.
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