Efficiency is critical in every aspect of business, and printing is no exception. That’s particularly true in retail. You need to be agile so you can respond to trends in the market, capitalize on revenue opportunities and grow your business. Even during these uncertain times, retailers want to have processes in place to simplify their operations. Unfortunately, if you have to wait longer than expected for menus, signage, banners, mailers or other collateral, it can be a real nuisance. On the other hand, if you can get the materials in a timely fashion without stumbling, you’ll not only enjoy a competitive advantage, but lessen your project management load.
Are you ready to go?
Any time you’re initiating a project, there’s a lot you can do internally to ensure your jobs run smoothly and get delivered on time.
The first step is to be clear about what really matters to you. Is speed the most important factor or are you more focused on quality? Knowing what’s driving your needs will help vendors guide you to the right options for any project. From there, the next step toward guaranteeing a quick and smooth printing process is all about being prepared.
These important steps will help you start on the right foot:
Have your distribution details organized. This organization process includes the addresses where items will be shipped, all of your shipping preferences and the exact dates when items need to arrive. Being well organized is particularly important if you need to send your products to several different locations or ship during busy times of the year, such as the winter holiday season.
Nail down your project specs. Decide what paper type you’d like to use, the exact sizes you’ll need for everything you’re printing, and whether or not anything will be double-sided. You should also think about the importance of color. Does everything have to be in color or is black and white an option for some pieces? Will you be using traditional offset printing, which uses printing plates and wet ink (and can take a little longer) or digital printing, which is faster but isn’t ideal for every paper type or job? The sooner you sort details like these out, the sooner your project can get under way. If you’re unsure about any of these details, a good commercial print vendor can offer guidance on what will best fit your needs.
Identify your finishing requirements. Will the print project be bound? Will it require lamination or other special coatings? Whatever you select may add more time to the job. Here again, your project will run much more smoothly if you make these decisions early on
Make sure your artwork is ready. The art should match whatever specs you’re requesting so that it’s set to the correct size and has the appropriate crop marks to ensure the printer can trim correctly. Make sure you’re also delivering your files in a universally print-ready format like a PDF.
Be available for questions and approval. Last, but not least, you’ll want to avoid bottlenecks during the approval process. Questions will inevitably come up and approvals will be needed throughout the process. The right people need to be on call to provide input. Their availability can go a long way toward ensuring everything runs smoothly.
In sync with the right vendor
Anytime you’re looking for a commercial printer, you will want to work with an organization that is efficient, experienced and responsive, and that has set the industry standard for turnaround and distribution.
We operate 19 closed-door commercial print facilities — in addition to our retail locations and vast shipping network — extending our reach into every major market in the United States. While many people only see our FedEx Office storefronts, these commercial print locations can handle the large-scale needs of Fortune 1000 corporations. Not only that, we can triage orders that need to be shipped around the country so they are printed at the location closest to the ultimate destination. We provide real-time tracking for everything we ship so you always know exactly where your order is. This logistical foresight can dramatically reduce shipping time and costs.
While most commercial printers can take up to two weeks to complete jobs, and require another three to five days for shipping, when you work with us, in many cases, you’ll have materials in hand in days, not weeks, while maximizing your shipping budget.
As a retailer with over 2100 locations, we understand how important it is to coordinate your releases, to respond quickly to changes and to stay ahead of your competition. When you take the right steps, your organization can worry less about project management of print jobs and focus on exceeding customers’ expectations.