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What do we actually do? A look at print management – Part 2

What do we actually do? A look at print management – Part 2 | Print | Scoop.it
Last week we had a little insight into the first part of a job and what we do as a northamptonshire print management company and how we do it. This week we're going to take a look at the process from Print to Delivery. One thing we didn't mention is that all the way through the first part of the process, we've been recording everything into our Management Information System. This helps us track and record everything, not only for future use, but for correct progress of the jobs and all the individual specifications for every job you ask us to produce - this still happens through the next part as well - making sure we know everything about your job at each stage. So, going back to the job. We've checked the file - everything's fine and we're ready to press the go button. There's a vast amount of different processes here that your job could go through, dependant on the specs and sizes. But as you learned last week, we've already processed the specification so we've nailed down the printing press your job will be run on and any finishing that will be needed. Printing If your job is to be printed Lithographically, then the next stage is to produce plates for the print - each plate represents a separate colour for your job and these are kept ready for the scheduled run on press. Paper has been ordered already (before proofing) so we're just awaiting our slot. If your job is to be produced digitally - the benefit here is that there are no plates to produce. Information is sent electronically to the press at our scheduled time (cutting down cost and time). Finishing Now we're into post press / finishing of your job. If you've opted for a finish that requires another supplier to be involved - we'll have already planned this into the schedule and organised the logistics for you. Your job will either pass through the finishing equipment at the original printer - or be transported and finished elsewhere (here though, part of our job is to cut down any unnecessary transport costs, so we'll have chosen the most effective print/finishing route). Delivery This is all dependant on the requirements of you, the customer. If your requirement is for mailing - we'll have this released to the respective carrier. If you need delivery to multiple locations, we'll have pre-sorted this in despatch and have this ready for delivery to the spec you've requested. Now, most people would think the job has finished and everything is over. not in our case. We have finished copies of your job sent over to us so we can check the quality of printing (material/colour/registration etc) and the finishing. This is an integral part for us, we not only can double check everything is ok for our customers. But we can monitor the quality of our suppliers as well. Any issues along the way are recorded as a non conformance so we can keep a log of multiple issues or problems. So when we say you can think of us as part of your team, we really do mean it. We're here to look after your best interests when it comes to print. If there's anything you need when planning your next project, just call us up and we'll talk through it with you. I hope that gives you an insight into the way we work and how our day to day print
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Why print management is like your favourite supermarket!

Why print management is like your favourite supermarket! | Print | Scoop.it
Why Print Management is like your favourite supermarket! It often occurs to me when people question Print Management companies or even Print Brokers. The process isn't too far from people shopping in their local supermarkets.. yet there seems to be more of a hesitation to use a Print Management company than a supermarket? Lets have a look at the similarities.. You use your local supermarket because... It's close to where you live... convenient? They have everything you need so you don't need to go to multiple shops... saving you time? Their pricing (although not the cheapest) is fair and you're happy to pay? Their products are always of good quality? However, these supermarkets aren't necessarily the manufacturers of the items you buy, they just stock them for you (having bought them off the manufacturers). The same can be said for print management companies - whilst we don't manufacture the items, we've chosen them carefully based on your needs. This is like passing someone your shopping list and having them do all the hard work for you (a bit like online shopping now). Convenient We also love the fact it's so convenient to use us! Call us up, email us, use your online portal to order or enquire about any print item and you'll be sorted in a matter of minutes Time Saving If you're not having to search through loads of printers and email/phone each one, imagine how much time you'll be saving! Time you would've wasted doing exactly what it is we do, we place your enquiry with up to 6 specially selected manufacturers (who are suitable for the item you require) and then select the one to produce your item from those that respond. Fair Pricing We add our years of experience to make sure you're getting the best print for the fairest and most sustainable price. It's our responsibility as Print Management companies to make sure we're looking after not only our customers, but our suppliers too. Without these great printers, none of us would have any print at all. By making sure our pricing is fair and within market conditions, we can also make sure you don't get a surprise the next time you need to re-order. Good Quality It's the cornerstone of good print and a great return. If your marketing is of good quality, this will send quality (subconscious) signals to your prospective customers. We wouldn't want any of our customers to receive sub standard print, which is why we treat every job as if it was one of our own. So if your print shopping list is weighing heavy on your mind and you'd like your very own personal shopper to take care of it for you, then just pass it to us. Think of us as your very own print personal shopper. If you'd like to know more about how we help businesses with print solutions, get in touch now or visit these helpful pages: http://www.bluestarprintsolutions.co.uk/whyprintmanagement http://www.bluestarprintsolutions.co.uk/why-outsource-your-print Until next week, take care Rich
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What do we actually do? A look at print management – Part 2

What do we actually do? A look at print management – Part 2 | Print | Scoop.it
Last week we had a little insight into the first part of a job and what we do as a northamptonshire print management company and how we do it. This week we're going to take a look at the process from Print to Delivery. One thing we didn't mention is that all the way through the first part of the process, we've been recording everything into our Management Information System. This helps us track and record everything, not only for future use, but for correct progress of the jobs and all the individual specifications for every job you ask us to produce - this still happens through the next part as well - making sure we know everything about your job at each stage. So, going back to the job. We've checked the file - everything's fine and we're ready to press the go button. There's a vast amount of different processes here that your job could go through, dependant on the specs and sizes. But as you learned last week, we've already processed the specification so we've nailed down the printing press your job will be run on and any finishing that will be needed. Printing If your job is to be printed Lithographically, then the next stage is to produce plates for the print - each plate represents a separate colour for your job and these are kept ready for the scheduled run on press. Paper has been ordered already (before proofing) so we're just awaiting our slot. If your job is to be produced digitally - the benefit here is that there are no plates to produce. Information is sent electronically to the press at our scheduled time (cutting down cost and time). Finishing Now we're into post press / finishing of your job. If you've opted for a finish that requires another supplier to be involved - we'll have already planned this into the schedule and organised the logistics for you. Your job will either pass through the finishing equipment at the original printer - or be transported and finished elsewhere (here though, part of our job is to cut down any unnecessary transport costs, so we'll have chosen the most effective print/finishing route). Delivery This is all dependant on the requirements of you, the customer. If your requirement is for mailing - we'll have this released to the respective carrier. If you need delivery to multiple locations, we'll have pre-sorted this in despatch and have this ready for delivery to the spec you've requested. Now, most people would think the job has finished and everything is over. not in our case. We have finished copies of your job sent over to us so we can check the quality of printing (material/colour/registration etc) and the finishing. This is an integral part for us, we not only can double check everything is ok for our customers. But we can monitor the quality of our suppliers as well. Any issues along the way are recorded as a non conformance so we can keep a log of multiple issues or problems. So when we say you can think of us as part of your team, we really do mean it. We're here to look after your best interests when it comes to print. If there's anything you need when planning your next project, just call us up and we'll talk through it with you. I hope that gives you an insight into the way we work and how our day to day print
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Case Study - Solicitor's Print Management

Case Study - Solicitor's Print Management | Print | Scoop.it
Providing Print for Solicitors An interesting new client recently joined us, a solicitor firm. Whilst some people may think there is little to be excited about, we relish looking after the legal sector. As many of you will know, we have a great relationship with a very talented design studio (Lime Design Studio) who has been assisting the firm with their rebranding; updating the look and feel of the firm to a more modern perspective whilst maintaining their traditional values. Our new client were already working with a print management company and had decided to locate a new supplier due to climbing costs over the last few years. Solicitors generally require good quality paper, however there is a difference between good quality and paper that is as thick as cardboard! If you are used to buying paper you will know that the heavier the paper the more expensive the item becomes. All very good timing as the company has recently updated their branding! The previous print company managed everything for the firm, including choosing the paper. I wouldn’t for a minute suggest utilising paper so thin you can see through it, but it is possible to have a quality paper without it costing an absolute fortune! When you leave the decision about paper weights to a printer, you may find yourself paying more than you would like (Printers have certain paper merchants to supply them, whereas we have the choice of many) Like every legal eagle, the firm regularly order large quantities of letterheads, envelopes, forms, business cards etc. We have saved at least 20% off the firms print bill without compromising on quality! During the course of the quotation and approval stages their print requirement had become urgent. Working hard with our design agency friends, we produced 7 different types of letterheads with a total print run of 13,000 delivered to their office within 3 working days! We could hear the sighs of relief from our offices! As we grow into this new relationship we can envisage further savings, again, either matching or exceeding the quality they rely upon. The next step will be to offer this new client a Managed Print Service. What does that mean? Solicitor document designs don’t change very often. In print the larger the quantities you order the more cost effective each unit becomes. With Print management you can work out your annual averages for each printed item and order for the year. Now this doesn’t mean you end up with boxes and boxes of printed materials and nowhere to store them! It simply means you benefit from the lower cost and ‘call off’ items as you need them. So as each department or office runs low on stock they can simply login to their own marketing portal, order the quantity they require and an email will go off to the person in charge of this budget for their approval before we release the stocked print for delivery Using the online portal means we are able to completely adhere to the brand guidelines as every field in the printed materials is locked down so no accidental changes are made to the integral parts of a document, the only areas that can be changed are the specifics for that item, for example, on a business card the name, email and telephone fields can be changed, the logo, strapline and web address can’t. When was the last time you reviewed your print provider? Are you sure you are getting the most cost effective print service? We offer a complimentary print audit – if it is time to review your Print Management Company you know who to call: Blue Star Print Solutions, we focus closely on cost but without compromising quality. Call us now on 01933 698 123 for a review of your print procurement process.
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Garamond Cookies? Helvetica Cookies? Printmeneer 3D Prints Cookie Cutters in Your Favorite Font

Garamond Cookies? Helvetica Cookies? Printmeneer 3D Prints Cookie Cutters in Your Favorite Font | Print | Scoop.it
If you're the sort who has to spell out words in your spoon as you eat alphabet soup, you'll find that this innovation lands right in your wheelhouse.  Yep: 3D
Richard Markie's insight:

Here's a little Christmas gift for you font lovers!

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Would you like all the benefits of online print, without the hassle?

Would you like all the benefits of online print, without the hassle? | Print | Scoop.it
Online print has made such a surge on the print market over the last 10 years, whilst there are real benefits to using such a system, they can come with huge disadvantages and downfalls. Some of the downsides of online print are: • Having to stick to only certain stocks • Running only certain quantities • No flexibility in sizes or finishing formats But, what if you could have all the benefits of online print without any of the downfalls? What would that mean to your business? Our system creates individual marketing portals for our clients. These are typically populated with all their business critical or marketing print. But it also has the ability to hold anything that can be stored or produced (promotional items, uniforms etc). This would allow your staff to log in to the portal, request what they need printing, proof it and order (if it needs approval first, it's held until approved). Everything on the artwork side is locked down, your staff can't change colours or logos or upload pictures that aren't allowed, so you can see the benefit for a business is huge. Especially if you're operating a franchise model or a multi-site business. Being able to control your print spend and more importantly your brand, is of key importance to businesses. If you're operating from different sites, and each site is responsible for their own stationery or marketing print... • Do you know how much they're spending? • Do you know what they're getting printed? • How do you know they have the best interests of the business at heart when they order? Utilising our Print Economy Audit, will show us everything you have printed and produced. It will also give us the big picture. To read more about our print audit - click here We use the Print Audit as the base for setting up the system - we'll input everything from there that you need and you'll have: • Clear, agreed & structured pricing • Individual categories of your print • Ability to amend existing artwork • Call off items of stock we hold • Clear & definite timescales • 24 hour Access If you'd like to know more about how our system can help your business and how Blue Star Print Solutions can lo
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What do we actually do? A look at print management - Part 1

What do we actually do? A look at print management - Part 1 | Print | Scoop.it
Print management companies are always questioned as to what they actually do, and with good reason if you're considering hiring one to look after your print. Although the process is quite complex and can get very technical, in the next 2 weeks I'll try and explain a little of what we do on a normal day from enquiry to completion. The Enquiry The phone rings and a customer is considering their next marketing move - in this case a brochure. Now our customer has been with us for quite some time, so they know to approach us whilst they're thinking of something new (not when they've had it all designed etc). We ask a few questions, something along the lines of "What do you want the piece to do for you?", "who is the piece designed to be received by?" or "How are you going to distributing it?". All these questions give us some indication of what the final item needs to do, how it needs to look or how it needs to be produced. This stage is critical in a print management companies process as the initial idea may need to be tweaked in some way (size, material or format). The Specification Having got through the enquiry and sorted all the finer details - we'll go about creating a specification that suits all points. Here we'll look at the most economic way of producing the job - what sizes fit on press best, and the pagination (amount of pages) that would work well. We'll also look at the paper best suited to the job as well. This part has 2 sides - 1) the side that the customer sees (which we try to lay out using plain and simple language and 2) the side that the printers see (which contains more in depth instructions and print 'geek speak'. The Printer Knowing the specification, gives us a clear indication of how the job would be produced, which in turn gives us the suppliers that can produce the item most effectively - this is not where the fun ends, as we will have asked the most important question at the enquiry stage of all... "When do you need it?". This part is critical when speaking with printers. They have production boards planning approx 2 weeks ahead, which means if you don't communicate when you need a job producing for, you'll be planned in the next available space. Accepting the job Schedule, specification and cost have all been agreed and the job is due to move to print, this is where we will confirm all details one final time before proceeding, we'll also talk about how the file needs to be submitted (unless they're utilising our design service) and lead times. File Check & Proofing This important stage gives us control over our customers brand, receiving print ready artwork and checking through the file ourselves means that we can spot errors or tweak anything that we feel may lead to a poor print before the item goes into the production process. It also means we can check things like colour, fonts for consistency. Proofing, dependant on the arrangement with the customer is usually handled by us, which means once artwork is accepted and approved, we'll handle the production process for you. Whether this is checking a job as it's running through the press (press pass), checking hi resolution proofs, or bringing up an electronic proof. In bigger terms (Point of Sale etc) we even have dummy copies made up to check everything works prior to pressing 'go'. I don't want to over-load you with info, so next week - we'll take a look at the next stage - from Print to Delivery
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How to Grow Your Business with Print

How to Grow Your Business with Print | Print | Scoop.it
How To Grow Your Business With Print Using print to grow your business may seem like a fairy tail, but actually - it's far from fictional. You see, unless buying print is the core of your business, then really, to drive growth, you should be outsourcing this and all other non core activities. [Tweet "Using print to grow your business may sound like a fairy tail - but it's far from fictional"] Using professionals that are an expert in their field, means that you're benefiting from that experience for your business, but without having the cost of that person on the payroll. That experience can be in accounting, payroll, design, sales, marketing or print. Utilising experts means, not only, that they know exactly what they're doing, but in the time saved by them processing your requirements. For instance, it may take you three hours or more to do your book-keeping for a week, whereas it may take a professional book-keeper half an hour. Already that's 2.5hr saving of your time which can be spent in 'Income Generating Activities'. The Book-Keeper/Graphic Designer/Print Buyer may also uncover or show you things which you wouldn't have picked up on.. in the Book-keeper's case maybe further tax savings or ways to control your books a little better. This is the same in each area of business, utilising professionals in their own expert field to drive growth into your business. In print, it's the same - using the experience of print professionals who've been producing & purchasing print for years (with real 'hands-on' experience), means that any problems, savings or improvements can be made at the start of the job before anything is spent. It also means improvements can be made to the whole procurement process of print. Take for example our Web2Print system - we have an online portal for our customers - which means that once we've completed a Print Economy audit (which highlights all printed items, makes sure they're all being produced to the best quality & cost), designated members of the company can sign in and order business critical or marketing print - that has been pre approved and controlled - no-one can stray off-brand and order anything that hasn't been approved! Our customers can even control if the orders need someones approval. It also gives full reporting on print purchasing. Even more help on the way to grow your business with print. If you'd like to learn a little more about how your print can be improved with the help of print professionals call Blue Star Print Solutions on 01933 698 123 or email info@bluestarprintsolutions.co.uk If you currently partner with a Print Management company we'd love to hear your comments below - how do you find the process and what's the benefit to your business or role? Next week, and now you're buying your print correctly, we'll go on to talk about how you can grow your business with print itself.
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