Printing and Purchasing

Archive for the ‘Purchasing’ Category


Harvesting Cranberries

Harvesting a Massachusetts cranberry bog in October, 2013. These berries will go to Ocean Spray who controls 80% [approx.] of the cranberry market. Check out the other cranberry harvesting and question & answer videos at

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Demand more from energy contracts and suppliers, buyers urged | Official CIPS Magazine – Supply Management

If you purchase energy this is a good article to read. The following are good quotes from the article, “Don’t accept being treated as a standard customer if you are not.” “get them to adapt”.

Demand more from energy contracts and suppliers, buyers urged | Official CIPS Magazine – Supply Management.

How Maslow’s theory applies to sourcing

Procurement hierarchy based on Maslow’s Theory, starting with basmaslow's_hierarchy_businessballsic business needs [providing goods and services on time, with quality, and at a competitive cost], risk minimization [have backup plan so product or service isn’t disrupted when catastrophe occurs], value / stakeholder satisfaction [elimination of waste, increasing profit, minimal supplier issues], breakthrough innovations [streamline of design workflow allowing new products to market sooner], key relationships [win-win, ideal supplier relationship], based on Maslow’s Theory. Let us know your thoughts.

How Maslow’s theory applies to sourcing. [SpringTide  Consulting article on how Maslow’s theory could be applied to procurement]

Green is Good, but Bottom Line Still a Major Supply Chain Management Concern – Article from Supply Chain Management Review

“Overall, the global business-advisory firm’s survey found that while most executives recognize the importance of sustainability, cost is still a major factor and trumps environmental impact as a driver of behavior.”

Green is Good, but Bottom Line Still a Major Supply Chain Management Concern – Article from Supply Chain Management Review.

Layouts a Key Element in a Job Bag

Have you ever been on a trip and got lost? If you have, maybe it’s because there was no trip ticket, map or Garmin showing which roads and exits to take. With a printing project there also must be directions to layout, print, and finish the printing project. This direction is provided via the job layout [map]. For every printed component included in the Job Bag there is a layout for each component. Each layout can have one or multiple components.

Layouts have many components. The following are several main or key components:

  • Substrate size
  • Press
  • Gripper
  • Side guide
  • Bleed
  • Gaps
  • Reverse images
  • Take-off bars
  • Folds
  • Grain direction
  • How the sheet is backed up
  • Form number[s]
  • Head direction
  • Items keyed to job bag listing
  • Job number
  • Customer
  • Other

The information provided on the layout should provide production workers with all the necessary information to produce each component of the customer’s project successfully. Calls or questions concerning a form are usually the result of incomplete or inaccurate instructions.

Within the last year, I was in a print shop and they had printed a poster. I didn’t review the layout. However, it was clearly apparent that there was no layout for the project. How can pre-press accept a project without a layout? Without a layout how will the Mac operator know if the image files provide adequate image for bleeds? How will imposition know where and in what direction to place the images in the plate file, or If there are images missing or where to place the crop marks? How will quality assurance verify a press rule-up if there is no layout? The odds are there is no quality assurance in this print shop, or knowledgeable print professionals!

If the layout isn’t complete it is up to the pre-press manager to stop the job or be provided a correct layout. If the pre-press manager is allowing incorrect or incomplete layouts to enter into production, corrective action should be taken. The old adage is true, “you can pay me now or pay me later” [YouTube video Link] and later is always more expensive.

Print buyers, when touring a printing company, should look for a project’s corresponding layout. If you have a project being worked on, ask to see a job bag, and then review it for completeness and accuracy of information. As a print buyer, if at all possible, provide all the information concerning the project when the print order is placed with the print sales representative. During my years in printing, one of the best ways to minimize cost was to insure the layout answered all questions which will minimize added work or extra steps for production.

Is Your Sales Representative a Solution or a Problem?

Sales representatives have a tough job especially in the printing industry. Traditional printing is shrinking for many reasons: the economy, reduced government requirements, the internet, digital and in-office print devices to name a few. Even though there are fewer printers today than before the last economic down turn, there is still plenty of print competition. For sales representative to differentiate from the competition be a solution to the procurement.

What a SOLUTION sales representative should do;

  • ListensBuyers know their company and its needs and should listen to what they say in order to see how their company can fill that need.
  • AnswersAnswer the questions you are asked. The buyer needs to verify that your company can provide the services you would be quoting.
  • Asks – Develop insightful questions for the buyer to order gain better insight in how their company can be a solution.
  • Provides Furnish what has been requested.
  • Is conscientious – Take care of all aspects of a project.
  • Shares – Knowledge and other sources the buyer could use.
  • Has integrity – When a commitment has been made, follow through with it.
  • Serves – Has a support team that works well together, pleasant, comprehensive, knowable, and timely.

What a PROBLEM sales representative will do;

  • Argumentative They try to tell the buyer what they need instead of providing solutions.
  • Doesn’t follow through Sales representatives give unfulfilled commitments.
  • Stalks After receiving a negative answer the Sales representative will keep calling, e-mailing, or mailing too frequently.
  • Circumvents Calling others in the company instead of working with through purchasing.
  • Changes the agreed upon pricing behind the buyer’s back If there are problems, they don’t tell the buyer.
  • ChargesAdd, or inflate charges which nickel and dime clients.
  • Is dishonest Make statements which are not true, such as “I’m about done with pricing” or “I have submitted pricing” when it hasn’t been.
  • Negative – A frequently used word.
  • Doesn’t share Won’t give information requested by buyer.
  • Only “ME” StatementsYou can only get the product from me.
  • Lacks respectWalks into buyer’s office without calling and asking first.
  • Divides and conquersAfter bid has been awarded, shares lower pricing with other stakeholders.
  • Lacks integrityRequests to be included in Request for Proposal [RFP], and commits to participating through the first round of evaluation, and doesn’t.

Are your sales representatives a solution or a problem?

May I assist with any procurement or printing questions? I may be reached at

Do you have Passion?

Do you have passion? No, I am not talking about romance, but are you motivated or get excited by what you do? Is there a spring in your step when you finish a project successfully? Do your eyes light up when you talk about what you do or do you talk in a mono tone voice putting everyone asleep? Are you enthused to learn new and better ways to perform your job; or do you make excuses when explaining why improvement takes so much time?

The Free Dictionary defines passion as “Boundless enthusiasm” and “The object of such enthusiasm”. I had a meeting the other day, with a mid-level manager, who is responsible for printing. The meeting, at times, was awkward. The manager presented ideas, that in his/her opinion might possibly be potential ways might help the printing department. There was no firm commitment or direction in the manager’s voice; no excitement, motivation, or commitment in the presentation. Maybe the manager wanted me to tell him how he should run his department because trying to grasp a firm direction was like trying to catch a greased pig in a large pen. I noticed, however, that this tone changed when I asked the manager to share with me about his/her background. The manager’s tone changed as they shared his/her education and previous work experience in printing, giving a greater excitement in his/her speech.

spot lightTo tell you the truth, a spot light turned on! Normally you see an image with a small light ideabulb showing the person had an AH HA moment! This pin pointed the key problem. To share more of the background, when I had talked with the CEO, there was an attitude of improvement and change. However, when I spoke to the workers there was a lack of dedication, and motivation for improvement change to name just two. In fact, when I talked and saw the results of the front line workers the first time it was infuriating. This organization has a huge dis-connect between the top management and the workers; however, taking the time to meet with the mid-level manager, it became clear. The mid-level manager had no passion, no love for what the organization produced and it transferred down to the workers under his/her leadership.

The CEO wanted to produce the best product; not the result ending in an inferior sub-standard product. CEO’s must have managers who have the same vision and passion for the organization to succeed. All the improvements and efforts to change the workers will be for not if the mid-level manager doesn’t care, neither will the workers.

One of my managers was James Gleason, who is a great example of what a mid-level manager should be. Jim had just been put in charge of Creative Services which was made up of procurement, print shop, designers, and account executives. He was a mid-level manager at The Phoenix insurance company. His background was that of a former Marine tank commander. Jim didn’t have a printing background, but he had passion, which resulted in a desire to learn about his new department and what it produced. Jim’s passion resulted in continuous improvement as well as greater responsibility.

Do you have passion?

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