Improving how you manage your print inventory generates advantages that save you space, time, and money—and can actually help your business operate more successfully. So how do you get to that point? These 6 game-changing inventory management strategies will show you the way.
Before we dive in, take a look at what effective inventory management of your print assets can do for you:
- Prevent out-of-stock surprises
- Minimize the need for costly back orders
- Reduce the time and complexity of the ordering process from multiple locations
- Have a convenient print-on-demand option for complex and ever-evolving kits
- Take advantage of lower unit-cost purchasing
- Optimize your long-term print spend economics
Who can resist that? No one with an eye on growth AND the bottom line. So let’s take a look at the inventory management strategies to make it happen.
1. Warehouse your print assets off site to free up business space and take advantage of economy-of-scale pricing
Businesses that are expanding run into space limitations. And when office space is at a premium, sacrificing business square footage for storage purposes is not a cost-effective move.
In addition, you can easily lose track of print inventory if you have disorganized storage cages; office desks stacked with reams of collateral; and shelving systems that make it hard to know exactly what you have.
By storing print and related items at your printer’s facilities, you eliminate these poor storage practices. But the bottom line benefits don’t stop there.
A lack of inventory space forces you to order smaller quantities. That means a higher unit cost and ultimately lower profit margins.
Storing inventory off site gives you more room, and allows you to take advantage of economy-of-scale pricing for the high-volume assets your users depend on the most.
Pro tip: If you have storage needs beyond print assets, look for a print vendor who will warehouse and ship other items such as your branded gifts and office supplies, and even the equipment you use for trainings, trade shows, and conferences.
2. Leave the distribution and shipping (i.e., order fulfillment) to experts
Taxing your already-busy admin support, grabbing staff from other departments, hiring expensive temps—there’s a better way to assemble your multi-piece kits and handle your overall print fulfillment needs.
Find a print vendor with a streamlined fulfillment system. You’ll do more than spend smarter on labor costs. By having dedicated fulfillment specialists, you’ll greatly reduce shipping errors and possibly even enjoy discounted shipping rates from major carriers.
3. Plan smarter with 24/7 access to an automated inventory tracking system
Do you know the exact counts on all of your print assets? You should.
Reliably tracking your inventory can prevent unexpected shortages and keep expensive expedited print jobs to a minimum.
It can also reveal print asset usage patterns, so you can gauge your future needs more precisely, plan your budgets more accurately, and reduce inventory obsolescence.
So how can you easily know crucial information like this? A web-based print portal can provide 24/7 access to seeing exactly what your assets are in real time. See more on the advantages of a portal for your inventory management below.
4. Allow users to order anywhere, anytime from a single-source web-based portal
A single-source web-based portal combines document control and convenient ordering, with multiple benefits as a result.
Speed up the ordering process
With an online ordering system, users can log in, see thumbnails of available print assets, and easily locate what they’re looking for. And with the ability for you to establish pre-approval levels, those users can order instantly.
Gain faster print turnarounds
Having materials on hand means that when orders come through, your print vendor can pull those requests right off the shelf and ship your items within days—potentially even hours. (See more on shipping in #2.)
Boost brand consistency
A single-source portal keeps your brand strong and consistent across your print assets. How? When users—no matter their location—are ordering from one print source rather than multiple printers, you can eliminate issues such as color management mistakes that degrade the quality of your brand.
Keep the correct collateral in circulation
Give managers the ability to filter content and control available versions. This allows you to ensure users are ordering and distributing the current (and correct) assets.
Make print-on-demand requests easily
Sometimes docs are just too fluid to print in bulk. Give selective portal permissions for users to modify materials on the fly and then make on-demand orders in a snap.
5. Use features of your single-source web portal to help ensure items remain in stock
Managing your inventory also means taking advantage of features like the following that keep you informed of your stock, even when it’s not top of mind for you:
- Receive scheduled reports automatically
- Get alerts for low inventory
- Set inventory marks that trigger reorders
6. Integrate smarter long-term spending into inventory management with standardized pricing
You need more than helpful technology.
You need a print vendor who will dig into the economics of your print spend.
In fact, consider a print vendor who will work with you to develop a standardized pricing list that reflects your projected print needs. With this option, economy-of-scale pricing is just the beginning of the advantages.
You can stop the time-consuming hunt for multiple quotes and actually price a project yourself. You can also forecast your spend confidently and deliver budget information to management almost immediately.
These six strategies represent more than just print inventory management. They’re an opportunity to transform your print spend, and ensure your print-related decisions ultimately help your business run better.
If you want to learn more about how Thysse can help you improve your print inventory management, contact us.