What is the best reporting structure for a print buyer/production manager?

Answered by Suzanne Morgan, founder, Print Buyers Online.com

What is the best reporting structure for a print buyer/production manager? Is it within a purchasing department, to streamline the purchasing part of the buyer’s job, or attached to the department the buyer serves to streamline the communication/creative part of the job? I'm thinking in terms of a corporate, specifically publishing house, structure. Thanks.

L. B.

In general, the most effective place for print buyers/production professionals is either in a creative services department – a separate department that supports the print /media for the organization – or within the department that the production professional services – i.e. the marketing department. Organizations are relying more heavily on their print buyers to be involved in the Return On Investment (R.O.I.) of marketing communications, so it’s even more important for print buyers to be close to their internal clients.

The purchasing of print and media products is unlike any other purchase made through a typical purchasing department, so the buyer may not have the flexibility and autonomy needed and may not be able to fully concentrate on buying these specialty purchases in a purchasing department. Production professionals are sometimes not well supported in purchasing and often have to play by rules that don’t make sense in the grayer print world. I don’t mean to offend anyone that is currently working in that atmosphere. That’s a general conclusion.

Interestingly, only a small percentage (3%) of PBO print buyer members indicate that they are part of their purchasing department.

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