Will Your Print and Fulfillment Provider Evolve with Your Needs?

Published by Steve Manicor | Topics: Online Publishing

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For most associations the printing, order processing and fulfillment of educational publications is a non-core operation that is best left to a professional service provider.  And, finding and evaluating a vendor can be daunting task.

With your organization’s brand on the line it is critical to partner with a solid company who can produce and fulfill your educational materials. Your organization invests a lot of time, money and energy into the development of course materials and publications. The last thing you want is for your organizations reputation to be tarnished because of poor print quality or an unreliable fulfillment service.

Evaluating Fulfillment Providers for the Future

When looking for a print and fulfillment company it’s important to evaluate core process metrics such as print quality, fulfillment accuracy rates, order fulfillment turn times, production and inventory costs, and scalability. But it’s also important to evaluate a potential vendor on how well they can support your future strategic objectives. If that vendor can only speak of today’s needs and does not have a vision for the future, you may be in for a rocky road as technology, products and member needs evolve.

Below are three topics to think about when evaluating a potential print and fulfillment vendor.

  1. Does the vendor understand your organization?
    It’s critical they understand the role publications and course materials play in defining your organizations brand and reputation. This gives a vendor insight and context when making decisions and assures a level of sensitivity to your organizations needs.  If they don’t understand the role educational materials have as a member benefit, they may not fully understand this materials relevance and importance to your organization.
  2. Can your vendor offer suggestions to improve current products and process?
    You want a vendor who can make this process as efficient and simple as possible. Using a single vendor who can produce and fulfill your publications will make your life easier and reduce expenses by eliminating transfer and handling cost. It’s important they share ideas to improve your current products and processes. Can your vendor make suggestions to improve cover and binding options, reduce print run lengths, offer new and alternative media options, find ways to reduce shipping expenses, or ideas to minimize inventory costs?
  3. Can your fulfillment vendor evolve as your needs change?
    Your educational content is not static; it will evolve as technology and your member needs change.  Today you may need printing, fulfillment and inventory management solutions, but a year from now you may need an electronic book store, an online subscription service and a searchable knowledge center.  A partner who has insight into how your products and members are evolving is essential to keep your organization at the leading edge of innovation.  Explore with your potential vendor thoughts for future products and services that will meet the changing needs of your membership.  Make sure they can help lead you to new ideas and innovation.

Choosing a company to work with is never an easy process, but thinking about your selection in the context of your strategic objectives is important. You don’t want to hire a vendor to meet last year’s needs, you want a someone who can lead you to where you need to be next year.

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About Steve Manicor

Steve is Omnipress' Director of Business Development. He has over five years serving the meetings and training industry. He leads our product/service leadership and development teams. ...read more

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