There isn’t much to be done once the buy is made for off-the-shelf goods. Custom printing, because of it’s made-to-specification nature, requires a lot more attention after the buy is made. This is especially true when achieving the best quality and service are part of the goal. General procurement doesn’t have to account for such activity.
Custom printing is really having something manufactured from the ground up. This requires checks to be made and approvals to be granted. An architect wouldn’t hand blueprints to a builder and not check in until the house was done. The same applies to custom printing. Even the simplest of jobs require proofs and color checks. The more complex the project the more intense the check and approval process becomes. The majority of common procurement purchases do not involve production of the item from raw materials to finished product.
Just like the machines on which they are manufactured, custom print projects have many moving parts. Failure of even the smallest part can bring the whole works to a grinding halt. Setting and tracking production milestones is critical to keeping a custom print project on-track. Even if something does go awry, which is always a possibility, knowing what has been done along with what hasn’t been done and what comes next can help right the course of the project. Unfortunately, since general procurement isn’t usually concerned with custom manufacturing, the tools built for it do not contain provisions for managing such details.
Whether it’s a branding change that occurs mid-project, a change in quantity or some other unforeseen circumstance, changes made to custom print projects after the buy has been made happen more than many people realize. These changes, if not managed properly, can lead to blown deadlines, increased costs and worse. Changes made to orders for pre-made goods don’t quite have the same impact. They may be but a minor inconvenience. Change order management isn’t much of a concern in terms of common procurement tools but it is a huge factor in the production phase of print procurement.
In our next segment we will explore how proper management of pre- and post-pricing details helps assure you get the best possible price on your custom print projects.