Posts Tagged ‘Search Engines’

19 Excellent Reasons Why Print Brokers are a Godsend

Friday, May 7th, 2010

Print Brokers and search engines

I keep a close watch on the words and phrases that readers use in search engines to find this blog.  Questions about print brokers lead the pack. I guess I should have figured this out on my own because when I’m asked what I do for a living, and I say I’m a print broker, most respond by asking, “What is a print broker?” They wouldn’t do that if I said I was, for example, a stock broker, or even, as I saw on a television commercial recently, a shrimp broker. There’s something about the conjunction of print and broker that creates confusion, and often curiosity.

Why are print brokers attracted to the business?

I don’t know why others become print brokers, but I did because I wanted to provide better service for my customers. I reasoned that as chained print sales rep I was strictly locked into the capabilities, pricing, and business philosophies of the printer employing me. My customers, however, often needed either print production we couldn’t provide, or a redesign of their job to make it fit our capabilities. Either way I found myself in an awkward situation. What should I do, send them away or frankensteinize their project?

(Don’t bother looking up the word frankensteinize, it isn’t dictionaryized because I just created it, and neither is dictionaryized for the same reason.)

What services do print brokers provide?

In my experience a print broker typically performs these duties:

  • Consults with customers regarding parameters of the print order. Reviews and discusses any job particulars that will affect the outcome.
  • Suggests ways to decrease cost and/or improve quality depending on the requirements of the project.
  • Provides samples like paper dummies, paper swatch books, foil stamps, or any other visuals the customer requires to make informed decisions about the print order.
  • Aids the customer in determining and clarifying the specifications so that printers will bid apples-to-apples and identify production problems before they ruin the project.
  • Pre-qualifies printers or other providers to determine which is the best match for the job.
  • Submits bid specifications to qualified printers.
  • Consults with printers as needed to answer questions or address production concerns. This is particularly critical when the job is complex.
  • Gathers competitive bids.
  • Scrutinizes the submitted written bids to make certain the directions were followed, and nothing added or neglected.
  • Submits bid with specifications to customer. This gives the customer an opportunity to double-check the specifications at the same time as they receive pricing. The objective is to make sure all parties are in full agreement about the scope of the job.
  • Facilitates the transfer of files, or other art to the printer.
  • Works with both printer and customer regarding terms of payment and makes sure all conditions are met.
  • Arranges and facilitates all necessary proofing steps.
  • Attends press checks. Helps the customer understand the printing process and translates printerese into business normal.
  • Arranges for delivery of the product to the required destination.
  • Oversees and coordinates all parts of the job, this is especially critical if the project consists of multiple pieces.
  • Invoices the customer for the work.
  • Pays the printer. The customer writes one check and the broker takes care of the rest.
  • Most important–deals with problems that may surface during or after the job is delivered. The broker acts is a shield between the customer and the printer in the event of a disagreement.

What is the most valuable service print brokers provide?

The bottom line is that both customers and printers need brokers. Brokers provide the most valuable service of all, we facilitate smooth communication between customer and printer, and that in itself, prevents a whole raft of problems that could occur. Printing, as I always say, is not an exact science. The process, from creative idea to finished product involves so many steps and demands that every one of them be done right. It is a miracle anything turns out as planned, but despite the odds 95% come out great. It’s the 5% that keep us in the graphic arts industry awake at night.


Defending Myself–Printing, Publishing, and Observations

Friday, December 18th, 2009

I was half-watching Stephen Colbert on television yesterday. It was his final show for this year. He spoke about the recession and at the top of his list of suffering industries was printing. Boing–he got my attention. Finally, the world has started to recognize how badly damaged we have been. In a way that is ironic, because printing created the Union and is the backbone of  history. And yet, when filling out a form or survey and the question is asked, “What industry are you in?” you won’t find printing. It’s like we no longer exist. I sometimes feel like Mr. Cellophane from the Broadway show Chicago. Hey world, printing is an industry. We do exist.

Printing, Publishing, and Observations

A friend called the other day. This is the same friend who introduced me to blogging almost a year ago. He said that my blog posts aren’t like other blogs. He finally figured out the difference, he says that I’m not writing traditional blogs, I’m more of a columnist.

Sometimes it is about the observations.

I’ve thought about it and believe he is on to something. My posts tend to be longer than what other bloggers do. I tackle subjects outside of my “stated purpose.” Maybe that is true, and perhaps the search engines get confused when they send out their crawly spider things, and they go back and report that my printing and publishing blog includes the economy, big business, and social injustice. It makes it hard to nail me down.

“Government of the people, by the people, and for the people.”
The last honest president?

The last honest president?

I can’t help it. Maybe it is my maturity–I am sliding into senior citizenship quicker than I want to admit. After a certain age, you start realizing what you knew before, but only philosophically. You have seen enough, and experienced enough, to know that life isn’t fair. In my case, I truly know that life isn’t fair, but I haven’t given in. I still believe that it isn’t too late. I believe that if people gather in large enough numbers they can make the government listen. Is that naive? I suppose so, because millions of citizens contacted their representatives and the White House begging them to withhold TARP funds from ailing banks. Those millions had zero impact. For those financial institutions, the recession is over, and they can double their executive compensations, but for the rest of the country the recession they created continues. Mortgage foreclosures are still happening at an incredible rate. Is this “Government of the people, by the people, and for the people?” —Abraham Lincoln

We want it, but the government denies us.

We are still in the throes of health care reform. In survey after survey, the American public proved we overwhelmingly  support  the public option. The percentages range from 61% to 77%. The public option is a no-brainer. We want it. Why then do our representatives continue to insist that the public option is dead?

Do you smell the stink of sellout?

Let’s think about it–the citizens want it, congress doesn’t. Where is the disconnect? It stinks of sellout. Someone owns the congress lock stock and barrel, and it isn’t the citizenry–is it? I’m willing to bet everything I own that the final health care reform bill will do more to benefit the health insurance companies than the people. It’s just like the prescription drug plan. The government said it was for the old folks and it is, a little bit anyway, but the real winners were the pharmaceutical companies. It has made it possible for Senior citizens to pay the high drug prices with public money. How do the drug companies benefit? People who couldn’t pay for their medicines before, are now able to. They hit the jackpot and the pharmaceutical executives are smiling all the way to the bank with their bonus money, perks, and lavish lifestyles, while the rest of us are destined to pay more taxes. What, you don’t think you pay more taxes, you do, it is just deferred. It is called the national debt. Someday the piper will come calling, and then we’ll find out what deficit spending has really cost us.

The lucky ones are those who are gone before the collapse.

Like I said, I’m sliding rapidly into senior citizenship, and maybe, just maybe I won’t be around to witness the final collapse because of all this selfishness, greed, and foolishness.


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