“Pricing” – Where Does it Rank?

Earlier this week (April 8-10, 2019) we posted a graph and some summary comments regarding a survey conducted by RIT in 2003. We encouraged reader feedback and while we did receive two comments, we are looking for additonal feedback that we can post here.

Click artwork to download 2-p PDF

In the meantime, we have obtained permission from the original author to reprint the entire 2-page article. You need to read this article with an open-mind, rather than through some heavily tinted glasses that always seem to blame pricing for all your woes. Way too many printers often cite “pricing” as the primary cause for their lack of growth, poor profits, and the lack of customer loyalty, just to name a few.

If printers could only hear themselves talk sometimes. If they did they would realize that they use “pricing” as an excuse for their troubles. They blame printing brokers, low ball competitors down the street as well as the lack of loyalty from their own customers. If these printers did a little bit more probing, they would possibly discover that it really wasn’t pricing that caused their customers to leave, but things like consistent failure to meet deadlines, sometimes poor quality and less than friendly CSRs.

Anyway, enjoy the article and send us your feedback to: membership@printingresearch.org

Yes, we would love to do this survey all over again and see what has changed and what has remained the same, but getting our hands on a representative list of prospects to whom we could mail would represent a real challenge. Any ideas>

How Important is “Price” Among Print Buyers?

A few days ago we were making a fruitless attempt to clean up our office when I came across something that’s been up on my bulletin board for at least 15 years. It is an article that was published in Graphic Impressions magazine in 2003.  The title of the article was: The Top Questions Creative Agencies and Print Buyers Ask Of Potential Print Providers.” The subhead was just as intriguing –  In a Digital, On-Demand World, It’s About Much More than Price.

Authored by Bob Wagner, who at the time worked for the Xerox Corporation, the article discussed a survey conducted by the Rochester Institute  of Technology (RIT) in 2003. The survey was distributed to 250 creative advertising and design agencies in 2003. Yes, I recognize that is 15 years ago, but I believe the findings are as accurate today, if not more so, as they were in 2003. If you disagree with that conclusion let me know by using the email link below.

Those surveyed were asked to rank each of eight factors or considerations that typically go in the decision-making practice of selecting one printer over another. Buyers were asked to grade each factor on a scale of 1-10, with 10 being the most important criteria in selecting a printer. The graph below illustrates the findings of that survey.
 

I think if printers were to take this survey, they would rank “pricing” much higher.

I’ve always found this article fascinating because it has confirmed one of my theories on pricing – one of which being that an average print buyer, presented with a list of valid selection criteria, will inevitably select factors other than price as being the primary or #1 factor for selecting one printer versus another. 
 
Unfortunately, many printers concentrate so much on price that they fail to realize they could be charging more for their services and products if they promoted other factors as strongly as they do “Price.” I can understand why many printers concentrate on “Price” because to be blunt they oftentimes rank quite low on some of the other, more important factors cited by print buyers.
 

This job was due four hours ago.


Are you really dependable? Many printers “talk” a good game when it comes to dependability but they often perform really poorly. They are not dependable, and it is “hit or miss” for the average customer. They drop by the shop at 3 p.m. to pick-up the job they were promised only to be told it isn’t quite ready. If the truth were known, they job that was ready to be sent to the digital printer at 10 a.m. still hasn’t been sent, and it needs to be cut and folded when it is finished. The fact that the job isn’t ready often doesn’t seem to phase the staff and the reason for that is that no one in the company considers deadlines that critical.
 
What about “print quality?” Given today’s digital technology, it would seem hard to get a failing or low grade in this area, but some printers prove that it can be done! Many firms get a passing grade on the printing side, only to end up failing when it comes to finishing and packaging.
 
What about “turn-around Time?” Many printers prefer to stick to traditional time-worn schedules rather than demonstrating to customers how quickly the job can be turned around. It is frustrating to watch owners and top CSRs set delivery dates as far out as possible, not because the firm is that busy, but rather to avoid complaints from the graphics department or the back shop that the promised delivery dates are pushing the system. Really? Give us a break.
 
Ease of doing business? Believe it or not, many firms are not that easy to deal with but they don’t even realize it. Sometimes it seems like there’s a constant battle going on between the customer, the CSRs and the production team in back. The interactions between a customer and the printing staff ought to be a fun experience, not a struggle or clash of personalities. Nonetheless, that’s exactly what print buyers often report when it comes to calling up their printer to discuss an upcoming project. 
 
We welcome your feedback. Send us an email at membership@printingresearch.org and give us your feedback. We would love to gather your opinions and share them with others. Have a great day.
 
John Stewart, Executive Director
National Printing Research Council (NPRC)
 
 
 
 
 
 
 
 
 

NPRC Releases Wage Study (See Graphs)

Failing to keep up with wages & benefits can easily cost a firm thousands $$$, and that’s why NPRC decided to move ahead late this fall and conduct its latest industry survey – The 2017-2018 Wage & Benefits Survey.

2017-18wagecoverThe new, just-released Wage & Benefits Study, covering 22 key positions in our industry, is packed with valuable information pertaining to wages, salaries and benefits offered by printers from across the U.S.

Like all surveys published by NPRC, firms that participated in the survey and submitted their survey form by the Oct. 31st deadline received their complimentary copy of the study on or about Nov. 30, 2016. 

You can order this study now by visiting the NPRC bookstore.  Retail Price: $179; NPRC Member Price: $89.50. All publications published by NPRC are sold on a 100% Money-Back guarantee! No questions asked!

Below are a few of the graphs included in this latest NPRC Study. 

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The distribution of survey participants by reported SPE is quite similar to what has been reported in previous industry surveys and studies.

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Owners were asked to provide their level of profitability. The resulting data was graphed accordingly. Approximately 45% of our respondents told us they were either “above average” or “high profit firms”.

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We took the SPE data provided by respondents and ranked it from low to high; next, we divided the list of 280+ firms into four approximate quartiles or quarters and then averaged the result of each quartile. Above is the resulting data.

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This chart simply illustrates the number of individual positions for which wage, salary and benefit data was provided. As an example, 125 of our responding firms provided data on the position we described as, “Sr. Graphics & Pre-Press.” Both average and median wage data is provided in this study.

 

 

 

Improving SPE Critical to Profits

According to new research data recently gathered by NPRC, the average SPE in the printing industry has now reached almost $140,000. Put another way, if your SPE is less than $140,000 your firm would now fall into the bottom half of the industry when compared to your peers, according to findings in the soon-to-be-released 20176-2018 Quick Printing Industry Wage & Benefits Study.

Highlighting the direct relationship between SPE and profitability, NPRC sorted the data gathered from our latest Wage & Benefits Study and found that firms reporting the highest profits (20% or higher) reported average sales per employee of $152,000, while firms reporting profitability of less than 6% reported average SPE of $104,000, or an SPE 31% lower than those at the top!

2016-17-nprc-wage-benefit-backup_6244_image017The direct relationship between SPE and Profitability “There is little doubt in my mind that there is and always has been a direct relationship between SPE and profitability in this industry. Without high SPEs it is almost impossible to achieve high levels of profitability,” notes John Stewart, NPRC Executive Director. “Owners need to quit rationalizing that they can somehow increase productivity while living with a below average SPE.” (Read more about this relationship and how you can quickly improve your SPE in upcoming articles to be posted on this NPRC website.)

NPRC is putting finishing touches on its latest Wage & Benefits Study where in you can find more detail on the findings noted above. The new research study is based upon responses from more than 180 participants and is packed with wage and salary information covering 22 of the most common positions in our industry.

Check back soon for a more detailed analysis on SPE and how you can improve it in 60 days or less!