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Logistics – never underestimate the importance of the final mile

Ultimately, your print item or piece of promotional merchandise is worthless unless it reaches your customer at the right time. When specifying print requirements, you will need to factor in where stock will be stored and how it will be distributed. Printers may want to deliver the entire consignment as soon as it is complete and may not have the space to retain it indefinitely. Print management companies can organise storage for you, and some even have their own warehouse where they can keep your items safe and secure until you need them.

Read the full guide here

Guide to Print ManagementIf you have thousands of items bulk packed on pallets (BPOP), they might arrive stacked in bundles onto a pallet then shrink wrapped. Taking delivery of your stock at your premises requires the means to move heavy boxes, or even pallets, around.

Alternatively, you could receive a shipment of shrink-wrapped bundles where items are wrapped in a film and then sent through an oven that shrinks the film around them making them secure and less likely to be damaged. Items might be carton-packed in bundles before being shrink-wrapped onto pallets for extra protection.

A print management company will be able to help assist you with storage and logistics, so you can move your items to where they need to be including multiple locations.

Wastage of print items represents a significant cost to UK industry and represents 50% of business waste. Print management services can help you to avoid waste by assessing how much stock you need printing so that you never have too much or too little.

Keeping track of printed items can be a huge headache but with online self-serve portals, you can call-off stock as required and keep track of where it goes, using data analysis to inform future print decisions.

You might also be able to make use of a print-on-demand service for your frequently-used items where repeat orders are accessible via a web interface, so you can make changes to the copy or imagery without having to engage a designer.

A good print management company should be able to offer web-based access to stock control for your products. This should enable you to monitor your stock levels, make orders online and produce reports.

The most sophisticated systems hold clear product images with detailed descriptions, and each item is allocated its own dedicated stock code.

The timing of delivery can be squeezed in the process of production. You will need assurances that your print supplier can fulfil your project to precise timescales if the drop coincides with a through-the-line campaign. Some information, such as pricing on competitive promotions, or the exact details of a sporting event, becomes available only at the last minute and you may need a highly responsive print partner who can both process the job and make sure it reaches its destination in a timely fashion.

It is always reassuring to know that you can rely on a supplier for the occasional urgent or last-minute job and a print manager will be best placed to secure the capacity on your behalf.

It can be really helpful to combine the storage of your printed materials with fulfilment through a single supplier. From merchandise to marketing campaign material, you may need a partner that can fulfil bulk orders, or pick and pack items as required. A great print management company can offer full-branded custom packaging that will delight your customers.

Engaging with a print manager means that you can scale up your operation as your business grows or to meet seasonal demand. Postage is an additional significant expense that can sometimes be overlooked as part of the fulfilment process. A print management company can advise on your choice of stock to make sure that the finished weight of the item will not be prohibitive to post. Uncoated stock can be bulky with a high pagination, creating extra weight. Make sure your item will fit through a standard letterbox if it is part of a mail drop to consumers.

Print managers can help you to navigate the minefield of delivery services, including access to Royal Mail. There are many savings to be gained by getting advice on the right postal service option, or the most efficient way to present your mailing that will help you to reduce costs.

Read the full guide here