Directed-to-Buy Paper Rolls Over Printers
I was asked to share the printer’s perspective in my “Against the Grain” blogs. So here’s my opinion on directed-to-buy paper programs: I hate them.
Given the options of directed-to-buy, customer-furnished stock, and supplying stock from your own vendor, would any printer ever choose the directed-to buy option?
In fact, why does directed-to-buy exist? I bet it exists because some consultant, back in the day, decided that this would be a great way for end-users to ensure consistency of product while skirting the responsibility for buying the stock themselves. Those were probably the same geniuses who prohibited printers from marking up the paper.
Yep, break it out, don’t mark it up, and get paid in 70 days (80 days after you receive the paper, perhaps 100 if the client pushes the schedule back). Do you ever feel like a really underperforming, interest-free bank?
Don’t get me wrong—I’ll work through the necessary channels and follow directions given by end-users. I’ll adapt our processes to serve customers’ needs—up to a point. Heck, some of these programs actually deliver on their promise of ensuring brand standards and consistency; I can get behind that. A few of them are even run well.
The Sprint account, in particular, runs like clockwork. The paper merchant knows who will be calling, what they need, and when they need it; they’ve already done the work before you pick up the phone. They’ve been expecting your call, they have the info, and they just need a confirming PO. That’s real value!
But that’s the exception to the rule, and for many reasons.
How do you like dealing with 15 different merchants in different cities, all for different end-user accounts? Have you developed solid relationships with all of them? How about all the stop-off charges you pay because your orders are no longer ganged together through a common merchant? So much for the efficiency in your supply chain. So much for mutual benefits.