What Print Buyers Want — Solutions, Not Sales Pitch

Gretchen Morris, director of Global Catalog Production at Edmund Optics (EO) America.

IS THE PRINTER a one-stop-shop? Is work completed in a timely fashion? Does the sales rep keep his/her promises? Is the printing company financially sound? These are some of the questions that Gretchen Morris ponders as the director of Global Catalog Production—and print buyer—at Edmund Optics (EO) America. EO is a leading producer of optics, imaging and phototonics technology for the electronics, pharmaceutical, biomedical and military markets. The company mails more than 2.5 million catalogs annually, reaching customers across the globe at least two times per year. Commercial web offset printers in the United States, Europe and Asia are contracted to produce these catalogs.

In addition to the catalog program, EO’s in-house design department is responsible for creating all marketing collateral, including large-format trade show displays and posters, sell sheets, packaging, newsletters, logos, letterhead, postcards and other direct mail pieces, package inserts and product labeling.

Morris purchases these myriad graphic communications services from the firm’s Barrington, NJ-based headquarters, in support of its offices and facilities worldwide. As a veteran print buyer, she asks a lot of questions of anyone pursuing her business, and she is open about what she expects from the printers that want to obtain—and maintain—it.

What do you look for when considering a new print provider?

I like to match up printers by their area of expertise. Do they have a niche? For example, we recently printed a calendar for the first time, so we sought out a printer with extensive experience doing that. The printer was able to guide us through the process, and was very helpful in answering our questions and heading off potential problems that we wouldn’t have thought about.

I also consider how much a printer is actually doing itself under one roof vs. what gets outsourced. I like to keep a job as simple as possible and am not fond of too much transferring of materials between remote locations. That being said, consideration must be given to the printer’s expertise in the various stages of a job. One thing we don’t want is for a printer to say they can do it all, then find out they don’t actually do it all very well.

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