5 Steps to Improve How You Source Print & Marketing Services

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There are many common issues when sourcing print and other marketing services which all take up time, money, and cause a great deal of frustration.

So, where are you?

Identifying where your business is in its development cycle can help you to assess your current challenges, such as where you need to invest time and energy, and where you need to make strategic changes.

Transparency

When it comes to sourcing print and marketing services, most distributors have visibility on who they are sourcing from, but they have very little visibility on what they are sourcing. Most distributors we work with have a group of preferred suppliers that they work with, which can be very beneficial, however, we find that in most situations, the level of transparency between supplier and distributor is almost non-existent.

We find most distributors rely on manual processes, such as email, quote letters, spreadsheets and suppliers online catalogs. There is no defined process for managing change orders to quotes or jobs and when the job is complete, the supplier invoice often varies from the original estimate causing margin leakage. These factors combine to reduce the ability for a distributor to have clear visibility on costs, margins, quotes and revenue pipeline.

If you are using emails, spreadsheets and quote letters then you limit the level of transparency you can have. All the information is spread across various software applications and is managed by individuals. Sure you can most likely get a report from your finance system, but it’s too late then, the transaction has been completed.

A transparent sourcing workflow means you have complete visibility of every transaction, at quote, award and job stage. It means you have access to the data when you want it, not when someone can send it to you.

Don’t you want a transparent workflow? Well welcome to Sourcing Spot. Sourcing Spot uses a cloud-based application called sourceit to level the transparency you have into every transaction, quote, job or order. You can limit some users access or provide authority levels for others, you’ll have a 3600 view of every sourcing event regardless of size and be able to create and schedule reporting without having to rely on others to provide you the data.

Control

One of the great benefits of having total transparency is that you will be able to easily identify not just how much, but where your business is spending, and chances are that you will probably discover that there are areas where you can, or need to make changes.

Having control is more than just setting business rules, and the first step to gaining control is to have access to all your intellectual property (IP). Your IP is the combination of all your quote specifications and history, supporting documentation, client artwork, pricing, savings achieved, change orders/variations and milestone data. You may be surprised just how much of your IP is held by suppliers and not you.

The next step to gaining control is to adopt a standardized process that all employees should follow when going to market to source. You may need to implement controls to ensure that you have the right people performing the right tasks, for example, you may wish to restrict the permission of who in your company can create a sourcing event, make purchasing decisions and manage jobs.

Having great supplier management and relationships is another key component, but make sure you’re the one leading your suppliers and they don’t control you. Review your supply chain from time to time, renegotiate agreements and disrupt your supply chain with new suppliers. Ensuring your team can only source from your preferred suppliers will play a significant part in helping you reap cost saving benefits.

Organizing these factors might seem like a lot of work, but if you want to cut time and costs later, you have to put the work in now.

Sourcing Spot will used the cloud-based and easy to implement technology sourceit to give you instant control over your IP, deliver a standardized sourcing, job and order management process and give you deep insights into your supply chain performance.

Efficiencies

As the market changes, your business also needs to change so you can retain your market leadership. Globally the trend in print management and marketing services is higher transaction volumes and reduced average job values – more work for less revenue, margin and profit.

Before you even attack price pressure and margin squeeze, you need to address the issue of staff efficiency.

By the time most people reach this stage, they generally have a good idea of what they are spending and have implemented at least some controls into their purchasing process. Now you need to work out how to optimize the use of your resources.

Automation is the key to building a more efficient business, it’s happening all around you and will continue at an alarming rate. Your client and supplier relationships are critical and must be maintained, but what if you could free up time for your sales and support staff, allow them to process quotes more efficiently, award and manage jobs and communicate with suppliers quicker and easier than ever before?

sourceit enables your frontline buyers to create quotes in minutes and automatically links the quote with the right suppliers from your supply chain in real-time. It delivers information to your suppliers instantly and allows them to be more efficient as they only respond to opportunities that are the best fit for them. Once the pricing has been reviewed, orders are placed and purchase orders are automatically created and sent to your suppliers instantly.

Savings

Sustainable savings do not come from beating up suppliers on price.

Smart distributors look to address any opportunities that are being lost through ineffective collaboration with suppliers, and poor decision-making by those responsible for making buying decisions as they can’t access all the information at the right time.

Our technology plays a key supportive role in delivering savings from your suppliers by providing accurate intelligence and enabling a truly transparent, collaborative and contestable supplier management bid process. Our cloud-based quote and job management platform allow distributors not only to track supplier transactions and spend but it also automatically rates your suppliers on their performance across several key performance indicators. Your buyers are making better decisions by viewing supplier submitted pricing and supplier performance data from a single dashboard that allows instant price comparisons, in fact, sourceit will automatically recommend the best supplier for the job then let you make the final decision.

This approach allows your buyers to build up a supplier profile that over time that leads to more effective buying decisions, and ultimately improved margins for your company and savings for your clients.

Build Value

Building value is all about providing a better, more flexible service to your customers and providing an efficient process for your team.

Today’s customer isn’t always looking for reduced prices, (sadly most are though), sometimes what is more important to them is a smooth buying experience that follows a well-defined approach to strategic sourcing and a company that delivers on their expectations. The buying process has changed over the last 10 years and the internet has revolutionized the way we all do business.

Today’s buyer is looking for solutions that make their lives easier.

Sourcing Spot does just that. With the use of sourceit, we’re able to provide a cloud-based quote, job and order management platform that delivers a fully standardized and automated approach to the entire sourcing process for print and marketing services. Over the years, we have found that sourceit has been a great enabler for our distributor clients to achieve success as they realize that our easy adoption and high acceptance from clients leads to increased profitability and sales.

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