Reducing the amount you print can have an immediate impact on cost reduction. However, a slash and burn approach may not deliver the right outcomes.

Printing takes many forms - from the business cards staff use through to more complex marketing materials and signage required for events. For many businesses, reining in the spend on printing can be complex. Also, many people have tended to ignore this category in recent years with the growing focus on digital technologies - however, printing still represents a significant spend for many businesses and therefore a significant opportunity to buy better.

The simplest and most cost-effective way to reduce print expenses is to avoid the cost and not print. Unfortunately, even in this digital age, this is not a viable solution for many businesses. Marketing and other printed materials remain key to many businesses conducting their everyday selling.

What is important is to consider what you print, how you print it, and the usage of the material to determine where and when you can save. If you believe that you need some assistance in determining the areas where you can save - please get in touch.

It is also worth talking to someone as if you are looking for fresh thinking to achieve cost reduction in this space. A great example of this is warehoused print stock. While this may work for some organisations today, the rapid change in people, brands and products in the market makes this a less optimal business proposition. Highly reliable just-in-time (JIT) solutions can eliminate the need for warehousing of print stock thus reducing supply chain overheads, time and wastage all of which translates into bottom-line savings.

The reality in Australia is that there is no one-size-fits-all printer who can deliver every aspect of printed material across all types of printing. Further, brokers are not in a position to offer a cost-effective and seamless experience to reduce the amount of time your staff spend sourcing, buying and managing printed items. While there are high-end multifunction devices that can be effective in this space the suitability for most organisations is limited to those with large volumes and the associated capital investment can be high.


Unit cost mentality
While this may be a valid approach for standard items that change infrequently, it often fails to incorporate variability in stocks, finishes and quality. Further, a lower quality item is less likely to be used by staff as opposed to good quality stock. Unit Cost methodology also tends to lead to decisions that favour the purchasing of extra quantities purely because the unit cost is reduced. The reality is if you fail to use the material, you increase waste and cost.

Offshore Printing
Offshoring has become more prevalent as a method of cost reduction. However, businesses need to be aware that offshore printing is highly challenging in regard to quality control. Low-quality printing can be a poor representation of your business and also requires generally longer lead times and management resources. The adage that you ‘get what you pay for’ holds true in the printing space.

Low quality increases waste
Using a low-quality option often results in a significant increase your waste on print. Consider items such as business cards with low-quality printing and print stock lead to smudging. This approach can result in up to 50% of the items printed being thrown out over time rather than used.

Poor management of inventory
Look in the storage room of any business and you are bound to find boxes of outdated materials and excess brochures. The equation between the quantity you print and waste reduction is a key factor in cost control. Further, a benefit that is often overlooked is that lean print runs to ensure that organisations review their messages to market regularly.

Hidden Costs
Invariably when sourcing printed materials through an external designer or marketing companies you are paying for a margin added to the printed materials as well as the costs for design and handling. Simple and iterative changes such as a new staff business cards can be cost-effectively handled by many printers directly and also can reduce the amount of internal handling time across staff and departments.

False economies of scale
Resist the temptation to print extra quantities just because the incremental cost is small. Questioning whether you need the extra quantity in the first place. Everyone has seen unused or outdated brochures go to waste. Do not fall into the trap of pursuing false economies of scale when you end up putting the extra quantity into waste.


Taking control over 80% of your spend will deliver the best results. Managing the other needs by exception will deliver the flexibility that operational teams need.

To deliver the best outcome for your printing:

  • Cut out the middleman where possible - This reduces the cost of the material significantly as well as ensuring no additional margins are loaded on top of the finished print product.
  • Consider the broader costs of design and artwork as part of your printing strategy.
  • Simplify and control the distribution process of marketing material. Understand what you actually use and stop printing a certain quantity just because you always have.
  • Get expert help when you need it. Contact us if you would like to discuss further.


Supply Clusters offers a range of printing solutions through our supplier network. Through our preferred printing supplier WePrintIt, members enjoy dealing with one of Australia’s largest printing groups and one which is at the forefront of modern practices around handling, on-demand printing and technology.

Here are some of the benefits:

  • Discounted pricing structures on a wide variety of the most common printed materials.
  • Access to volume rebates for large users of printed materials (premium members).
  • The opportunity to cut out middlemen charges as well as accessing cheaper printing costs.
  • Competitively priced design services to reduce the high cost of third party designers and agencies.
  • Expertise to deliver the best outcome for your business.
  • Access to the latest ordering platforms to reduce the amount of time spent handling ongoing re-prints and small customisations
  • On-line visibility to each step of the production process ensuring that your organisation spends less time managing the print process lifecycle.


Making poor choices in your printing may cost significant amounts of money.

  • You need to understand exactly what material is used in order to reduce waste
  • Print on-demand rather than use annualised volumes. This reduces waste and ensures materials are up to date.
  • Consider the amount of time spent ordering and managing your print.

While every organisation is different and has different needs, choosing the right supplier offers a solid foundation for not only reducing the cost of printing, but also enabling better practices around management which saves time.


Supply Clusters site usage policy. by using this site, you agree to our Privacy Policy. When information is submitted via this site, you consent to the collection, use and disclosure of that information with this Privacy Policy. Supply Clusters is compensated by the merchants we promote. © 2018 Supply Clusters of Australia. All rights reserved. All advice is general and may vary depending upon your specific circumstances. General Disclaimer available here. - Membership Agreement available here. All monetary values are in Australian Dollars ($AUD). ABN: 11 060 096 960.