Wednesday, October 15, 2008

The (professional) Print Buyer is your friend

For many years, the Print Buyer was the enemy. The conventional wisdom was that their only concern was to get the lowest price. Turns out that from the point of view of the employer, the print buyer creates high value. Below is an excerpt from a recent press release at
Based on surveys conducted by Frank Romano, Professor Emeritus, RIT, the savings come in seven specific areas:

1. Printer selection practices (equipment, capability, service, etc.);
2. Intelligent paper choices and buying practices;
3. Appropriate printing processes (digital, offset litho, etc.);
4. Efficient finished sizes, page counts;
5. Optimum print runs, on-demand practices;
6. Distribution approaches (targeted mailings, distributed printing, co-mingled mailings, etc.);
7. Other (online file delivery, preflighting assistance, etc.).

What is less obvious is the value the print buyer creates for the printer.

When printers invest the time to "educate" their customer, they have a low ROT (return on time, first coined by Dr. Joe Webb.) A professional buyer means that printers can spend less time "educating" the customer; more time discussing the right fit for print into solving the buyer's problem. Time spent thinking about the right use of your company's manufacturing capabilities has a very high ROT.

All your customers will still have questions to be answered. But a pro will ask hard questions. Hard questions and good answers lead to new knowledge. It's a win-win. From a time investment point of view, that interaction has a high ROT for both the buyer and seller. Simple questions, on the other hand, are just a transfer of information. The buyer gets a high ROT. But it's a low ROT for you, the seller. It's win - lose.

We all know that time is the enemy. Any time investment that gives you a low ROT should be completed as fast as possible. The good news is that mere transfer of information is often best accomplished on the Internet. One good example is Margie' s Print Newsletter at Print Buyer's International.

Now the necessary last piece is falling into place .
PBI's Print Media Professional Certification Program
Print Buyers International began offering its Print Media Professional Certification Program at their 3rd Annual Print Buyers Conference last month in Boston. Over 65 attendees filled the seats at Print Buyer Boot Camp, and many have already taken or are scheduled to take the certification exam. More certification programs are being developed for 2009, including an advanced-level program.

Interested print and media buyers who want to become Print Media Professionals as certified by PBI may write to

Now that Print Buyers International has started an accreditation program, the sales person has a reliable indicator that a professional buyer really has professional knowledge and ethics. PBI has taken on the job of educating the buyer. They focus on the kernel of value in the internet (plus many other activities) to do that job. For the newbie, getting answers from the the internet gives a very high ROT. For PBI, educating through the internet has a high ROT. This is a win-win.

An alternative print training vehicle is, the most extensive online training vehicle in the print industry, will unveil a new website Wednesday, October 22nd at the 2008 Print Solutions Conference & Expo. Powered by the Print Services & Distribution Association (PSDA), offers high-quality, online training for new employees as well as industry professionals interested in taking their knowledge to the next level.
Win-win usually means solving the problem and making the sale.

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