New Trend: Pre-Approval —Morgan
A manager of print procurement at Supervalu, added, “We thoroughly scrutinize all suppliers—from their products to their services. We qualify based on financial and legal stability, production and delivery capabilities, innovation, diversity status and activities, in addition to price competitiveness. It’s quite a lot to go through but, on the other end, when qualified, a printer knows that they are trusted and have our loyalty.
“When we know them as well as we do after our approval process, then and only then do we feel that we approach projects as true ‘partners’ and not just buyers and suppliers. Ninety-nine percent of our business goes to the approved suppliers. This allows us to work on finding best-case solutions and driving out costs, instead of spending all of our time on soliciting and analyzing bids from the hundreds of printers who contact us.”
Pre-Approved Gets Bid
Another reason print buyers take advantage of the pre-approval process is to ensure that everyone on their lists can support their specific projects. This can save them valuable time; they won’t be sending out bids to printers who don’t have equipment necessary for the job.
Cynthia Schultz, a production manager at The Richards Group, commented, “Each of our vendors has been carefully screened to meet the particular quality, price and service expectations of the agency and its clients. We support color-managed workflows employing ICC profiles and expect our print partners to be able to use these profiles to achieve accurate color on-press.”
Others utilize print management systems to pre-approve their print suppliers. Gretchen Carroll, a commercial print buyer for United-Healthcare, reported, “Our company currently uses Printellect to quote, award and invoice projects. This allows us to better manage print dollars spent.”
One print buyer said that all printers have to go through an annual Request for Proposal (RFP) process. He shared, “Each year, we go through a substantial RFP process that awards the printing contract to one vendor as primary and two additional backup vendors. If any particular vendor wins the contract three years consecutively, they are automatically awarded two additional years. Because of this extensive RFP process, we very rarely need to go outside of the approved supplier list.”