Cost cutting

It’s tough times now as print shops slowly get going again after the shut-downs and lock-downs. And “tough times” in the end is just a euphemism for “cash flow concerns.” And the first thing we do when faced with cash flow concerns is look for where we can cut costs. And where do we look? At the most visible items such as materials and consumables like inks, chemicals, and emulsions. That’s a mistake.

List everything that can be improved for cost savings. Make the changes.

It’s a mistake because there are not-so-visible items that can bring you greater cost savings without damaging your brand by compromising the quality of your work with cheaper materials.

Look in the print shop for inefficiencies. Are you investing in an inventory of dead ink by buying in quantities in excess of what you need and then never using those colours again? Why don’t you have a mixing system that does away with an inventory of excessive, dead ink? Staff time is expensive, so check to see if the shop is laid out to make the best use of staff time. Are your employees working efficiently and producing the maximum output possible in the time you are paying them for?

What about utilities? For example, are you managing your consumption of electricity? What about consumables such as cleaning chemicals? Are they being used efficiently or wastefully?

And don’t just look in the shop. What about the office? Are your routine processes for ordering, billing, paying, bookkeeping, and record keeping efficient? It’s easy for admin functions to lapse into time-wasting, paper-shuffling exercises. There may be more efficient and less costly ways of getting these tasks done.

The real cost savings don’t come from switching to lower-grade materials; that’s counter-productive. Pennies per print isn’t going to do it. With a little effort you’re bound to unearth significant cost savings when you start looking in the not-so-obvious areas.

List them. Do the math. Start with the most beneficial items. Make the changes.