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Reducing Costs
Do you have any suggestions on how I can reduce costs in my print projects?

There are many, many opportunities to reduce costs in printing - while still maintaining quality and service and being fair to your printers.

One often overlooked opportunity is in reducing Author's Alterations (AAs), which are also called Change Order (CO), costs. These are charges that you incur for changes that you make to the job once it's gone to your supplier. Many print buyers have told me that AAs account for 3-15% of the cost of their jobs. If you look at the total amount of printing that you buy a year, that number can be very significant.

Granted, you may never be able to reduce all AA/CO costs. You may not even want to as last minute changes are often necessary. But if you analyze these costs over the sum of your jobs, you'll often see repetitive mistakes that can be eliminated.

An easy way to start this process is to enlist the help of your core suppliers. They should be able to provide you with useful information. They can:

  • Help you identify specific problem areas
  • Provide you with a report on how many AA costs they have charged you in the past year
  • Provide advice how to avoid these costs in the future. (Many printers don't offer this information proactively, because they don't want to step on your toes and make you feel like you don't know how to do your job!)

I would also encourage you to ask all your suppliers to notify you in writing of additional costs within 24 hours of the change. (If not, by the time the job complete and you receive the invoice 20 days later, you probably won't even remember what those AA charges are for.) A good supplier will detail the reasons for the charges. An extraordinary supplier will also systematically document what you can do next time to avoid those costs.

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