New Trend: Pre-Approval —Morgan
In my mind, the pre-approval process is taking the place of the now-defunct Terms and Conditions for Sale document, which was created to minimize the number of conflicts between printers and their customers, as well as to diminish a printer’s financial liability when a job went awry. These standards were set up by parties that represented printers, and it is important to understand the new shift. Print buyers are now creating their own terms and conditions—and they expect their suppliers to adhere to them.
Another major print buyer uses the pre-qualification process as a background check on each printer. She said, “You really need to check out your suppliers before handing them a job. After all, the final product that is put out there represents your company, not the printer.”
David Mitchell, commodity manager of print materials for Arbonne, commented, “When I came on board as the senior print buyer, I re-qualified the current supplier base against potential new suppliers that I had worked with in the past. The current suppliers had to be competitive, exceed my current level of service, and show how they manage quality throughout the entire manufacturing process, thus reducing the chance of a rejection.”
Lee Watson, president of Aerios Direct, also shared his thoughts on the subject. “We interview potential print partners and—based on their answers regarding management, customer service, technology, whether they use new or old equipment, their amortization policy, their color controls and their willingness to execute a joint NDA—we either do or do not add them to our ‘Aerios Hard-Wired Network.’ ”
Here is feedback from another print buyer, who sheds light on why an approved supplier list is important for her company. Ulfras Floyd is a production manager with North Charles Street Design Organization, who is responsible for purchasing printing, managing bidding and overseeing contractor performance. “I qualify printers by looking at their samples and equipment lists, giving them our Vendor Standards document, and reviewing it with them so they understand and agree to our expectations,” she says. “It makes things go more smoothly, and the printer is able to supply a more accurate quote once they know more about our work, or to honorably decline to work with us if they don’t feel their company has sufficient capability.”