Control means never having to say you’re sorry.

As independent print consultants with now 18 years of success behind us, POG gets asked to comment on … “But the vendor will do it all for free!” Another one is … “The PowerPoint presentation looked good and sounded pretty convincing.”

First of all, the PowerPoint better look pretty good and the sales people delivering the message had best sound very convincing!! That is, after all, their job. Second, and even more important, nothing in life is free. I know. I know. We all want to believe, …and dreaming, hoping and believing is good, but we all know … deep down … it’s not free. If you gave your products and services away for free, your shareholders would not be impressed. The vendors have shareholders too, and they would not be happy with free.

So why then would your vendor want to help so very much with planning, deployment and monitoring your current or new distributed print environment. CONTROL. If your vendor has control, their revenue and profits increase. If you, the client, have control, your cost reduction and optimization targets are achieved and maximized. Control is real important, and only one of you has it. I speak from 30 years of personal industry experience. You both cannot have control and sharing the control does not work.

Control means knowing what you spend, what is working well, what needs improvement, how you benchmark to others and what industry best practices you may want to consider. Control means having a meeting with your vendor, and YOU telling them how it is going versus THEM telling you how you are doing. If you have control, you win. If they have control, you lose. I know. I know. Some of you are thinking … what about the whole “win/win” thing. By the time the contract is in place and the group hugs are complete, it will look and feel like a “win/win”. If it didn’t, the contract would not have signatures on it. Your losses will slowly creep up on you, pennies at a time. Maybe you are surprised by the type, number or size of the technology. Oh well, … after all, we have a contract. They are the pros. They know what they are doing. Maybe color volumes increase a bit … just a bit. That last invoice was higher than you expected. It was an unpleasant and unexpected surprise, but all the discrepancies have logical reasons attached. It all sounds plausible. They have control. You don’t. Their shareholders will be happy. Yours will not.

If you generate, analyze and interpret the print environment metrics, you will know exactly what is going on and you will have control. Metrics are critical. Twenty pages of data elements spewed out from your print monitoring software that no one reads or understand will not work. A print metrics report should tell you quickly and efficiently what is working, what is not, what you are spending and where you can improve. Metrics help you to KNOW. Knowing enables CONTROL. Control means never having to say you’re sorry.