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Meeting Economic Realities --Morgan

February 2009

THE DOWNFALL of the economy in 2008 has left the printing industry rattled and searching for ways to protect our companies, and even our own jobs. Print buyers have always had to focus on creating value and demonstrating return on investment—and this has only become more important in this shaky economic climate.

This article will provide you with a glimpse of what vanguard print buyers are doing across the nation to protect their jobs and how they are restructuring to create greater value within their organizations.

Their roles are expanding. In order to add value and generate stability, print buyers need to effortlessly change between consulting with clients, looking at return on investment, determining how to do more with less in print and integrating print with other media. Industry leaders such as Laura Hardy know there is much more to print buying than the actual purchase of print. Hardy serves dual professional roles as VP/production director at Ogilvy Public Relations Worldwide and as director of the Creative Print Management Group of Darnestown, MD.

“Print buying is much more than just a line item within a project cost, as there are so many variables that go into print,” she shared in a recent interview with Print Buyers Online.com. “Our industry now views print buyers as playing larger roles than they did in the past—and this trend will continue. Understanding the design process is key to recommending the best methods of production, getting the most economical price and, ultimately, the best final product.”

To add value to their organizations, Hardy encourages print buyers to insert themselves into all aspects of the design and buying process. This allows them to help make their clients’ visions a reality, while increasing efficiencies by avoiding obstacles that could pop up later in the process.

“A really good print buyer will look beyond the item that is being produced and keep the whole picture in mind,” she says. “Our job is to understand what our clients want to accomplish and offer different ways for them to reach their end goals. Sometimes, we play a pivotal role in a project that doesn’t ever hit the presses.”

They seek progressive partners. Linda Dickinson, print production supervisor at the recently merged Meridian-Chiles in Lexington, KY, shared her thoughts on the current industry climate. “The good ’ole days of printing companies taking print buyers out duck hunting, treating us to lunch and showering us with gifts are gone,” she says. “This is a business, and it needs to be run as a business. What I look for in printers is simple: that they know what their core business is, and they don’t try to go far beyond it.”

 

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