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President, Print Oasis Print Buyers Conference

Connecting with Print Buyers

By Suzanne Morgan

About Suzanne

Suzanne Morgan is president of the annual Print Oasis Print Buyers Conference ( and Print Buyers, a free educational e-community for print buyers and their print suppliers ( PBO has more than 11,000 members who buy $13 billion a year in printing. PBO conducts weekly research on buying trends and teaches organizations how to work more effectively with their print suppliers.


Press Checks: Time & Travel

March 10, 2009

Below are the results of Print Buyers Weekly Quick Poll survey, which encourages our print buyer and supplier members to share their thoughts on issues that affect our industry.

Print Buyers Poll:

On average, how far will you travel for a press check?

a) I don't conduct onsite press checks — 7%    
b) I only go to press checks if the company is local (within a 50 mile radius) — 40%    
c) I conduct press checks both locally as well as nationally — 46%    
d) Most of my press checks are long distance (either national or international) — 7%    
(54 major print buyers participated in this Quick Poll survey.)
Print Suppliers Poll:

On average, how long do your customers spend on an onsite press check?
a) Under 1 hour — 67%    
b) 1 to 3 hours — 20%    
c) 3 to 6 hours — 0%    
d) Over 6 hours — 13%    
(15 major print suppliers participated in this Quick Poll survey.)

Comments from survey participants:
"Boy, I wish my clients had the budget to send me to press checks internationally; I'd find a great printer in Tahiti! But seriously, unless the job is absolutely color-critical or is very complex, it is rarely worth traveling more than an hour or two for a press check. That's why developing a relationship with a trusted print rep is so important. If you trust your rep, you can trust them to oversee the non-color-critical/not-overly-complex jobs without a press check."  Candace, CRG Creative

"Although many buyers have given up press checking, I still feel it adds value. A buyer can work with the printer to achieve nuances and improvements of color that might not have been achieved if the buyer had not been present. As a manager of buyers, I like to see my buyers go to printing plants. There is always something to learn, no matter how experienced the buyer. The buyer may have direct contact with principals, behind-the-scenes production personnel, and others that they would not normally have contact with. This gives them a broader vision of how a plant operates both on a technical level and from a business standpoint.  If I attend a press proofing, I always try to make the most of the opportunity to learn more about the company, their take on the business environment, their newest technology and improvements they are contemplating. I find that it keeps me attuned to the print industry in a way that sitting in an office does not allow." Dorothy Hirshman, VP, Director of Print Production, OppenheimerFunds, Inc.

"Depending on what we are spending on a project determines if a press check is necessary. In general, I trust my printer to do their job with putting ink on paper and matching the proofs that I approved. Press checks occur only once every other month or so." Lynn Hamilton, Production, Oceania Cruises
"Being G7 certified with a JDF workflow, customers usually approve color at Ramsey Press within 15 minutes. Most of our clients do not come out for press checks - they rely on us to approve the sheets." Mac Byrd, VP Sales & Marketing, Ramsey Press

"We try to print as much as possible locally to save on freight and trying to help reduce our carbon footprint."
"Our company has a sourcing group that manages all suppliers, with most of the managers from manufacturing or accounting backgrounds. They do not believe in, or support, the concept of press checks."

"We only work with local printers to keep our hands-on approach manageable." Ulfras Floyd, Production Manager, NCSDO
"Only local unless a high profile job; catalog or annual report."
"Since printing is very regionalized, we typically only travel in a 200 mile radius." Jeff Dickerson, Procurement Specialist, State Farm

"Locally, nationally and internationally."

"I'll drive as far as 90 minutes (one way) for a press check, but if competing bids are close to each other, then distance certainly does become a factor in awarding the work." Michael Craven, Print Production Buyer/Estimator, BI - Digital Marketing

"Generally we only go to the first check and then they are on their own."

"Distance traveled for press checks is dictated by dollar value of the buy." Mitch Martin, Print Buyer Manager, Focus on the Family

Companies Mentioned:


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