What are the top five areas to be aware of when dealing with print suppliers?

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

I'm up for a new position in which I will need to work with advertisers and print vendors to develop marketing collateral. Could you offer any guidelines or advice on what top five areas I need to be aware of when dealing with print vendors?


This is a great question – and one that I hope even seasoned print buyers frequently contemplate. In my opinion, the top five areas to be aware when dealing with print suppliers are the following:

  1. Supplier qualification and selection – which in my mind many print buyers don’t do well

  2. Bidding and awarding print projects to suppliers – one downfall for many buying companies can be either over bidding (eg. bidding every print project) or choosing a supplier based on the lowest price, not the best price

  3. Supplier management – evaluating suppliers, creating standards, creating efficiencies in managing suppliers and streamlining the entire print production process

  4. Creating longer-term agreements / contracts / consolidating print suppliers - to create the greatest efficiencies, best price and best product

  5. Negotiation – understanding the delicate balance of what’s fair to both parties, how your actions (and their actions) affect the relationship, maintaining integrity in all business arrangements, clarifying expectations, etc.

I hope this helps.

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