Managing the Project
Buying organizations need to know that things are under control. When they feel confident that you are tracking and managing the delivery of a project, the process becomes stress-free for them, and they are more likely to send the work to you. It’s the same with pricing and cost issues. The better you communicate and control the costs of the job, the more the buyer comes to rely on you and trust you.
One way to get started is to set up “cost containment meetings” every six months, or at least once a year. Your service becomes more valuable as you analyze costs and buying strategies over time. There is a fair amount of work involved, so you can’t provide this service to all of your accounts. Start with your top accounts or customers that have the potential to become a top account.
Some clients may be more forthcoming than others about their budgets and the other print suppliers that they work with. Some customers may want help with their overall budgeting issues; others will only want to discuss work they’ve done with your company. Start by creating a document review of the past year’s work and propose ideas for cost containment. Even basic information about their jobs, such as peak order times, can be very helpful.
Provide a report that contains the number of jobs that your company produced for them over the last year, and the total costs of services. Then provide the following:
Break down costs per month. Help your customer identify peak order times that can help them deal with scheduling and workflow issues. This information can also be beneficial in forecasting next year’s budget.
Compare the quoted price against the final costs. What is the cause of the variance? How can they avoid those costs in the future? With this information, you may be able to offer advice on how they can provide clearer specifications up front. Or you might be able to identify areas where your clients typically incur additional charges and show them how to avoid those charges.