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When it comes to operations management, many organisations practice vertical integration ie the policy of trying to perform as many activities within its supply chain as possible. Many see this as attractive as it gives a high degree of control over performance and cost, however the big drawback is that the majority of organisations cannot excel equally in all the activities involved in their operations. This is especially true within the SME market purely because there is usually less resource to draw from.
This is where outsourcing provides a solution. The advantages of outsourcing include factors such as access to suppliers’ expertise, increased capacity creating faster time to market and more flexible supply, reduced capital expense, reduced cost and the ability to focus on core business activities.
At Tempus IME we provide outsourced solutions for our clients print management and information management needs. This ranges from us managing the production of printed business stationery and marketing collateral, to direct mail marketing campaigns and data aggregation, to document workflows and localised re-branding, through to us helping manage their digital assets using our content management solutions. The whole point of what we do is to save our clients time, money and improve the efficiency of their organisation.
Not only do we sell outsourced solutions to our clients but we practice the same ethos within our own organisation. We work with a partnership of suppliers in varying disciplines to ensure that the benefits of our business model is passed onto our clients.
So how does this work in practice? As an example, Organisation A has printed material produced within various areas of the organisation. These include business cards and other business stationery, marketing material such as brochures and catalogues, advertising and statement mailings, signage for their buildings, branded workwear, banners and corporate merchandise for events and annual reports and audit documentation. These materials are ordered by various people in the organisation using multiple vendors. The design and content files used to produce these items are held across the organisation and controlled by various people. This process works fine, so what would we advise?
The first task we would carry out for Organisation A would be to carry out a three part audit of all their printed material. Most organisations do not have a full overview of what they are actually producing or sometimes don’t consider it printed material and it is accounted for elsewhere (workwear is often a prime example). This would give a true picture of the items and costs involved. We would then benchmark all these items for Organisation A, looking at price (including ancillary costs such as mailing or graphic design), process (often the same result can be achieved using a more cost effective process), quality, production time and ethical/sustainable sourcing with the goal of showing improvements in all areas. Secondly we would look at resource involved with a view to improve efficiency ie how many people are involved in managing and ordering these items. This can be in obvious areas such as the design, content and ordering of a product but equally in less obvious areas such as the finance or sign off on an item. Thirdly we would review the process, what levels of risk are involved if any and can these processes be improved through the use of technology.
So what benefits would we hope to bring Organisation A? In the first part we would be looking to save money for the client whilst ensuring the quality, service and sustainability of output is at least of the same level if not better. On average we achieve savings of around 20% for our customers. How do we do this? We have a partnership of suppliers who we vet for excellence in specific areas rather than generalisation in most and make use of economies of scale. In the second and third areas we make use of our customer service experience and our technology stack. We have software tools that make the management of this material simpler by collating files, data and content into one secure area allowing simple updating and ordering of material and workflow technology that manages the flow of ordering, stock control and delivery. Additionally, our team can take over the project management of ordering and producing this material only involving our clients when appropriate and delivering information to them in a form that the client wants. We deal with any issues and solve problems so that our clients don’t need to spend their time doing that and our clients find that they are freed of administrative burden as a result.
The control remains with the customer but we provide efficiency and cost savings by carrying out the work on their behalf. As one of our customers told us after they outsourced their print requirements to us “We are a charity, our focus is to raise money to help our clients anything that deviates us from that focus is just a distraction and with limited resource I would rather someone else managed it for us and it costs us less than before”. This is a prime example of someone benefiting from our processes in their own organisation.
So if you're interested in learning more about how we can help your organisation save money, save time and improve quality please contact us.