Print is not alone in the arena of services that are highly technical and sensitive to buyer needs. It is a service that requires a lot of data and education in order to purchase. For these reasons, it is imperative for publishers to develop strong relationships with print vendors. As a printer, if we can help our customers succeed then we will also succeed. The following elements are very important when building a relationship with your book printer.
Education and Training
Finding a print vendor that can help you understand why a process is necessary, how different equipment can affect quality or any other aspect about the manufacturing of books goes a long way toward building a healthy relationship. Publishers are often left frustrated when they cannot understand why a particular ship date wasn’t met or why their books don’t look as promised. Sometimes a little education about the manufacturing process can shed light on otherwise ambiguous explanations. Find a printer that will allow you to tour their facilities or that provides educational courses on basic aspects of the book manufacturing business. Education on the manufacturing process allows publishers to plan effectively and deal with problems more quickly when they arise.
It doesn’t matter if you are talking about a relationship with a spouse or one between a customer and a multi-million dollar organization, communication is key for the relationship to thrive and grow. When there is little or no communication between the parties in any kind of relationship, each side is left to make its own assumptions of what the other is thinking which almost always ends badly. Publishers will be far more successful with vendors that keep open lines of communication or that provide tools for the open sharing of information, even if the news is not good sometimes.
Guidance On How To Use Capabilities
Just because you have the most advanced tool in your garage, does not mean you will know what to use it for. Publishers may see a new service from printers, want to take advantage of it, but have no idea how. Printers can help their customers determine if a capability they possess can help in some way. Education on how machines work and what strengths they offer to publishers can go a long way toward helping them make the most of their time with a print vendor.
Realistic Expectations — Avoid The Printer That Over Promises and Under Delivers
Publishers should investigate print capabilities with more scrutiny. While many printers know the quality and speed their equipment is capable of, sometimes these numbers can be misleading. For example some publishers may visit trade shows or conventions to see the capabilities of a particular piece of equipment. Demonstrations are often setup using optimal conditions and material and may not be reflective of the actual output of a machine for a publisher’s specific needs. In other words, a piece of equipment may in fact be capable of producing at a certain speed and quality yet only if certain materials are used. Get an estimate from your print partner about how long your particular job will take based on the materials you have selected. If deadlines are a priority, find a printer that can do guaranteed or expedited schedules for your work.
Developing trustworthy and solid relationships with the vendors that help you succeed is very important for publishers. If your vendors are late, then you will be late. If they produce poor quality then you will produce poor quality. Perhaps most importantly of all, if you don’t succeed, they won’t succeed.
Is developing and maintaining relationships with your print vendor important to you as a publisher or author? What other aspects of a business relationship are important to you?