4 Common Challenges When Consolidating Print Vendors (+ Solutions)

Businesses across industries know the value of printing, but they also know how difficult it can be to deal with multiple printing vendors. This often leads them to explore consolidation of these vendors—but is that easier said than done?

Yes and no. Print vendor consolidation is not without challenges, but many of them can be managed when you know the solutions. The purpose of this blog is to bring some of them to your attention and help you resolve them.

Let’s talk about managed print services for vendors!

1. Increased Dependency

The first reason businesses hesitate to consolidate their print vendors is out of fear of being dependent on one supplier. It’s the old adage about not putting your eggs all in one basket, because what happens if that vendor runs into issues?

Your chosen external provider can make or break your company’s workflow. One wrong move from their end causes a domino effect that could halt plans and lead to missed deadlines, often with serious consequences. Whether it’s a delayed delivery of ink and paper or a late maintenance schedule, your print infrastructure suffers and underperforms.

The Solution

The solution here is straightforward: make sure you consolidate with the right vendor to ensure you can count on them! Do your due diligence to vet them, from their background to financial standing, annual performance, and reputation.

Establishing contractual safeguards—like penalty clauses and service level agreements—can also help. These legal obligations set boundaries and expectations to ensure performance goals are met. Failure to comply means shouldering penalties such as financial compensation or agreement termination that will keep everyone on track.

→ Read more: Why Multi-Vendor Solutions Don’t Work

A frustrated man holding his forehead while looking at his computer

2. Lack of Customization

Another concern people have about consolidating print vendors is losing customization and flexibility. They fear consolidating into a single print vendor may limit their ability to continue producing a wide variety of materials, which is understandable.

Some may also have concerns about how consolidating printing vendors will limit their ability to employ new technology. They fear going all in on one vendor will lead to their workspace becoming outdated, dulling their competitive edge.

The Solution

The solution here is consolidating print vendors on more than just cost—you need to weigh their strengths and weaknesses. Find one or a few that offer the kind of forward-thinking printing solutions that keep you ahead of the curve rather than behind it.

You should also pay attention to current market trends for printing to ensure you’re never falling behind. What are your competitors offering? If your vendor can’t offer the same, you may need to reconsider your agreement. Stay proactive!

→ Read more: How to Improve Customer Service with MPS

3. Quality Concerns

Some businesses prefer having multiple printing vendors because they can leverage specialties. Working with multiple vendors allows you to tap into what each one does well while turning to someone else for where they fall short.

For example, perhaps Vendor A supplies excellent ink and toner but struggles to meet your demand for paper. Working with Vendor B, who specializes in high-quality paper, could allow you to get the best of both worlds. However, juggling vendors is hardly efficient and can lead to extra time and energy spent on your end.

The Solution

Alleviate these concerns for managed print services for vendors by:

    1. Defining your expectations from all your print vendors with factors like speedy print periods, high-quality coloured printing, and cleanliness.
    2. Setting key performance indicators (KPIs) that you can use to empirically measure the quality of service being provided.
    3. Using these KPIs to ensure quality standards are being met.

Be sure to also keep open lines of communication. It might not be perfect from the beginning, so communicating as things progress is key!

→ Read More: Why Vendor Consolidation is Important for Your Business

Two coworkers discuss company plans on a transparent whiteboard

4. Difficulty of Transition

Implementing new processes always involves a transition period, something which many fear when debating the consolidation of their print vendors.

Companies often see the value in doing so, but let fears of missing deliverables keep them from taking action. They worry about the transition being too complex and time-consuming, but the good news is that it doesn’t have to be.

The Solution

The solution is creating a transition plan to keep yours on track. Here are some tips to follow when creating yours:

  • Set a timeline and divide the time into phases.
  • For each phase, set goals to stay in progress and map out potential risks to create solutions as early as possible.
  • Increase collaboration by involving all parties (stakeholders, employees, and printing vendors) to avoid misunderstandings and damaged relationships.
  • During the implementation period, monitor both the performance of your employees and the chosen print vendor.
  • Review data and see if goals were achieved, problems were mitigated, and clients were satisfied with the results

One last thing to remember: transition plans differ among businesses across industries. Remember to make a blueprint that fits you, your employees, and your clients.

→ Read more: A How-To Guide To New Process Implementation

Consolidate Your Print Vendors With Integr8

Consolidating your printing services can have its challenges, but all of them can be overcome with the right strategies. As such, you’ll get to experience the benefits without any of the headaches—especially if you work with Integr8!

As Canada’s leading managed print service provider, we’ve helped companies improve their work processes without compromising budgets and resources. We can help you painlessly consolidate your printing vendors to improve your workflow.

Contact us today to stop juggling print vendors!

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