12 questions to ask your printer

Lucrezia Wolfaardt is general manager: production and procurement, and a bull terrier when it comes to getting the job done perfectly.

Here’s how to be sure you have the right supplier for your beautiful print product.

Finding the right printer for the job is integral to the final result. Printers compete with each other within the market place, so even though you may stumble upon the right price, you may also have found a printer who only wants to keep machines busy, without the infrastructure to handle your job. This can lead to delays, incorrect printing and ultimately it could get really costly.

The only thing that’s negotiable in printing is price. Quality and service are non-negotiable – always.

You need to weigh up the options. Smaller printing houses are generally cheaper because their overheads are lower, and they can often be more flexible when times are slow. But, they may also lack the resources when things get really hectic during the silly season, over long weekends and during holidays. Bigger companies tend to be more reliable on deadline, once groomed by our production managers.

So before you choose a printer, be sure to ask these questions.

  1. What is the minimum and maximum run you can put onto your machines?
  2. What’s the biggest and smallest size I can print in your plant?
  3. Does your paper come from sustainable forests?
  4. Which paper do you stock – is it cheaper than the paper I want?
  5. How often do you do maintenance on your machines?
  6. Do you have a green policy in place? For example, do you have afterburners on your machines to ensure no toxic fumes are released into the atmosphere?
  7. Are your inks vegetable-oil based?
  8. Are your machine minders qualified operators trained by your company?
  9. Do you have any CSI projects on the go?
  10. Do you have facilities for online proofing or hard-copy form proofing?
  11. Does your facility allow for computer-to-plate generation?
  12. Is your plant geared to safely guard inserts?

Above all, the only thing that’s negotiable in printing is price. Quality and service are non-negotiable – always.

Written by Lucrezia Wolfaardt

One thought on “12 questions to ask your printer

  1. In terms of question 3, you also need to be prepared to dig very deep if you want to get a satisfactory answer to your question. One product I worked on supposedly had all the right green credentials, but we eventually discovered that the printers we were using in China were owned by one of the worst offenders when it came to sourcing pulp from non-renewable resources. This was a few years ago, so the situation may have improved, but we eventually found that the paper quality and green credentials from suppliers in Scandinavia were better.

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