Print partner versus equipment vendor? For most printers, “partner” is the easy answer because the new print technologies like LED, low energy UV, and many kinds of custom presses require expert resources to maximize production.

But, finding the “right” partner to help pick up your profitability isn’t as easy. If your expectations end at installing and servicing the latest equipment—you should want more!

Look for a print partner who is a strategic thinker.

Partners who are strategic thinkers want to give you every advantage your equipment can bring and will make sure you hit the ground running. They’re problem solvers who solve problems “before” trouble shows up.

Consumables are a good example. Getting the right mix of inks, washes, fountain solutions, blankets, rollers, and coatings is critical to preventing a “profit black hole” because fixing one problem can cause a few more issues along the line if not done correctly.

Beyond strategic thinking, choose a print partner who makes your business their business. They share with you the latest print industry trends and new customer needs—and most important they have “real” conversations with you and may tell you what you don’t want to hear.

Great print partners ask, “Are you giving customers all they want?”

Print needs are diverse. Digital print technology is providing new options customers “expect” their preferred printers to provide like: marketing automation technologies to integrate marketing campaigns, digital print capabilities to do enhancements, ability to match colors, use wide formats, print envelopes and the ability to combine digital with their print components.

One area printers often fail to deliver is customer business intelligence. Look for a print partner who knows software that can strengthen your customer relationship by providing management order status, order history and other data services that extend your value beyond the delivery of print products.

A print partner looking out for your profitability should be able to offer:

  1. Review of your entire print process from equipment, finishing and processing to customer services and technical support.
  2. Implementation of web-to-print software that gives you the flexibility to offer “self-service and full-service” options that can result in reduced labor costs and more ability to put focus on your full-service customers.
  1. A wide spectrum of production print equipment that includes machines and finishing equipment under one roof. (Loyalty is given to equipment that best fits your business—not a brand name.)
  1. Business intelligent equipment that allows you to provide services beyond the print job with examples like order status, order history and roll-up reports on monthly, quarterly and annual spending. Providing this data helps your customers make better business decisions and leaves you less vulnerable to online print businesses.
  1. Shared information on new equipment and industry updates gained through their manufacturer relationships, attending trade shows and staying on top of industry news.

Valued print partners help increase profitability.

A print partner who does a better job of growing your profitability has expertise in both equipment and software that can grow services and help build stronger relationships with your customers.

Most importantly, a valued print partner is collaborative, solution driven and makes your customer needs a priority. Choose well. It could be the key to taking your business from ordinary to extraordinary!

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