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Why Print Procurement Brokers May Not Provide the Cost Savings You Expect

Print procurement brokers promise low prices and high efficiency. Are they too good to be true?

In an effort to reduce costs on print marketing spend, many branding leaders turn to third-party print procurement brokers and intermediaries. These vendors promise to find the best rate for their clients’ marketing materials, but if it sounds too good to be true, that’s because it often is. Frequently, the advertised savings and efficiencies of these models ultimately yield more disadvantages than advantages.

3 Hidden Disadvantages of Working with Print Procurement Brokers

  1. Print intermediaries apply a markup to all of their clients’ printing needs—that’s how they make money, since they don’t have their own equipment or manufacturing capabilities. So, they may find a great deal on a printer to fulfill your order, but by the time they’ve marked it up to cover their margins, how much are you really saving?
  2. There are also lost savings opportunities when working with a broker rather than going direct to the supplier. Suppliers often add rebates of 6 to 8 percent to product costs. When you work with a broker, the broker benefits from that rebate (on top of the markup). But going straight to the supplier means the money goes back in your company’s coffers.
  3. Perhaps most important, is the loss of control that goes with handing over important print projects to an intermediary. Because print procurement brokers work with hundreds of suppliers to secure the “best price,” their clients have no way to vet the quality, accuracy or reputation of the selected suppliers. Different projects may be produced by different printers, as well, putting both brand quality and consistency at risk. Further, since cost savings are the broker’s primary goal, the clients are liable to miss opportunities to take advantage of innovative new technologies or integrated marketing solutions the providers may be equipped to offer. So, not only is the difference in price tag negligible at best, but the opportunity costs of inconsistent or poor-quality branding materials may outweigh any potential benefits of working with a print procurement broker. Organizations also lose out on creating a true partnership with your provider - which can equal the loss of print quality consistency. That said, efficiency is critical to marketing leaders, too, and going direct to suppliers, handling negotiations and managing communication for each project, may not be a feasible option, either.

Achieving Real Cost Savings & Efficiency — Without Compromising Quality

This is where the advantage comes in from using a single source partner who can cut out the middle-man and centralize print marketing execution. The ideal partner can ease the communication burden by managing print projects from a single platform and ensure lower costs without compromising quality by producing materials on their own equipment rather than outsourcing to the lowest bidder.

At OneTouchPoint, we pride ourselves on being that partner for our clients, managing both repeat and one-off print projects from our nationwide network of printing and fulfillment facilities. And we’re not just a printer, either — we offer full-service print marketing execution solutions, from centralized customizable assets and easy ordering to real-time inventory and budget tracking and direct mail and fulfillment, truly lifting the logistics burden from corporate marketing teams’ shoulders. In addition to the average of a 15 percent markup we save customers over print procurement brokers, we’ve successfully shown companies additional savings of 10 to 25 percent or more simply by streamlining management and ensuring every print project is implemented properly and efficiently.

With tight margins and ever-expanding to-do lists, marketing leaders are searching for ways to lower costs and streamline operations. The print procurement broker, with its promises of savings and speed, is a tempting solution, but its consistency, turn times and overall delivery falls short and, ultimately, it has little to offer in the way of improving overall business processes - and in many cases can make it more difficult, time consuming and expensive when you factor in lost opportunity costs. Learn how OneTouchPoint can transform your print marketing initiatives, helping save costs, increasing quality and consistency and simplifying your vendor management. We invite you to contact us to learn more, or request a quote on your next project. Our experts will provide insight and ideas to deliver phenomenal results at a great price.