The smartest thing a print buyer can learn is … not to focus solely on price. Dig deeper than that.
Change the game
Stop focusing on price only, and start focusing on “value.” Change the conversations you are having with your suppliers. Change the conversations you are having internally with your organization.
Figure out what “value” is for you
What holds value for you and your organization? Think about it.
If you think it’s important, then it holds value. Can you measure it? Bingo – that’s value. Track it. Demand it from your suppliers. You are paying, don’t forget that! That’s powerful.
It could be time (read: your time). It could be quality. It could be speed to market. It could be some level of innovation. It could be the partnership itself. Sure, it will be about price at some point. It could be many things. The point is that price is only one component of the value that a print partner should bring to you.
And don’t forget, you need to sell it
Communicate to your suppliers, very clearly, that your mission is to extract maximum value; not necessarily minimum price. If they don’t respond, if they don’t hear you – lose them. Quickly. Go find someone who understands the conversation you want to have.
Your next challenge, of course, is to start selling “value” internally in your organization. In order for you to be able to shift the focus from being solely on price, you must be able to communicate the message of how much bigger the bucket of “value” is than the smaller, singular, bucket of “price.” Price fits inside the bucket of value; it does not comprise the totality of the value.
Get some help from your print partners to articulate it. If they understand what your doing, they’ll be glad to do it.