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What is Print Procurement?

By Carol Francois
Updated May 16, 2024
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The term print procurement is used to describe the process used to manage printing and print related costs. Many large companies spend a significant amount of money and staff time arranging for large print jobs, or the provision of printing services within the organization. The purpose of print procurement is to manage these costs through the implementation of a series of strategic procurement concepts.

The primary concept in strategic procurement is that through advanced planning and consolidated purchasing activities, an organization can experience significant cost savings. In addition to actual reduction in expenses, these processes may lead to a more efficient business operation and therefore increased profitability.

In most large organizations, each department is required to submit an annual budget of its spending for the year. In print procurement, the information related to printing expenses is passed on to the procurement department. The procurement officer is responsible for reviewing the information and determining if there are any opportunities for strategic procurement.

A commonly used example in print procurement is brochure printing. Many companies allow departments to find their own printer, negotiate a price based on their volume and select the type of brochure they want. In print procurement, contracts are negotiated and signed with a short list of suppliers, based on the budgeted volume of activity for the year. All departments benefit from a lower price per page, as well as the savings in staff time locating multiple suppliers and asking for quotations.

This type of strategic purchasing works best in an organization committed to reducing costs. Issues surrounding delivery dates, deciding if participation is mandatory or voluntary, and customer service issues must be resolved internally. Talk to business users to determine their exact requirements and find commonalities where possible.

Group buying is the process of combining the total resource requirements for different departments and creating one purchase order or contract. The departments can be physically located in different buildings, with the product requirements, so long as all these products are included in the original contract. This practice is increasingly common in government and public sector firms, where the same type of item can be purchased for different institutions or departments.

Administrative overhead is the cost to the organization for the entire procurement to pay cycle. This includes the salaries and support costs for procurement staff, invoice processing, check production, and resolving of vendor inquiries. Organizations that combine the total quantity required for a specific period of time are able to get lower pricing, based on a specific level of ordering. Bulk pricing and negotiating is very important when completing print procurement projects. Price and service negotiations are typically completed by the procurement director or senior buying agent.

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