Tenders for Printing Contracts

Our expert team of tender writing specialists and bid management consultants have proven experience in winning print management and printing services contracts. Make sure your business competes successfully and wins more printing tenders.
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Where to start?

Print, print management and printing services of all varieties are regularly outsourced, so one of the most difficult tasks is to sift through the large number of printing tenders and recognise not only the tender you want, but also that you have the capability to successfully bid for.

Printing covers a vast range of products and services including:

1

Managed print services

2

Short run (e.g. leaflets, brochures, posters, stickers, banners, postcards, greetings cards, guidebooks)

3

Ad-hoc / print on demand

4

Newsletters, magazines

5

Web to print (web-2-print)

6

Print to mail (print-2-mail)

7

Electoral services

8

Transactional printing and data to mail

9

Direct marketing

10

Print fulfilment

11

Print finishing

12

Print storage

13

Multi-channel printing

14

Secure printing (e.g. payroll, cheques, banknotes, passports)

15

Books and prospectuses

16

Exhibition and event printing

17

Merchandise

18

Printing machinery (including 3D printers)

19

Printing consumables (e.g. paper, card, ink)

20

Signage

21

3D printing

22

Printed electronics

Consequently, you may have to read through several printing tender specifications to find one that is relevant to your business and appropriate to the level of experience you have. Ensuring you have an efficient system to sort through information and make an informed decision to tender will help achieve a much better return on your tendering investing.

Top tips for winning printing sector contracts:

1

Understand the buyer and their priorities

Read through the tender documentation carefully to fully understand the buyer’s requirements. If anything is unclear, ask a question through the official defined channel (usually a procurement portal, but sometimes via email). Try to get an understanding of the buyer’s priorities in relation to the print they are buying. Is cost efficiency most important to them? Is high quality most important? Or is the speed of delivery key? You can then focus your bid on your ability to deliver in accordance with their priorities.
2

Quality assurance

Do you have a robust Quality Management System in place, e.g. ISO9001? How do you ensure that your products are of high quality? Do you proof-read prior to printing and quality check the finished product? What technology do you use to manage the quality of your service delivery? What is your procedure for dealing with print problems, non-conformances or complaints?
3

Environmental awareness/sustainability

Due to the very nature of the printing industry, you will need to demonstrate that you have excellent environmental awareness including sourcing all materials sustainably and following strict waste management procedures, e.g. by recycling all excess printing consumables, and only using paper with FSC Chain of Custody Certification. Consider the ethical ramifications of the source of your materials. You are likely to need good environmental policies and procedures and be able to demonstrate the environmental credentials of your supply chain. Can you provide evidence to support your commitments? Have you calculated your total carbon footprint? Consider how much energy and water consumption you will save your customer by awarding you the contract.
4

Contract management

Should you win the contract, there will be regular communication between yourself and the buyer, so you will need to demonstrate robust print contract management processes including your ability to monitor and meet KPIs. Provide evidence of previous experience such as management reports and adherence to the print SLA (Service Level Agreement) or KPIs (Key Performance Indicators). If you don’t have this information, start collecting it for your existing customers.
5

Flexibility

Printing contracts often require flexibility from the supplier as an element of design is often involved. Clients will frequently change their mind at the last minute, changing colours, volumes, layouts or materials. Demonstrate your ability to cope with these last-minute changes, show how you have done this in the past with the efficient systems you have in place to quickly reprioritise work and the additional print machine capacity you have to cope with additional demand.
6

Cost efficiencies

Even if cost efficiency is not the buyer’s highest priority, everyone expects value for money. Do you have a continuous improvement process with evidence of what you have achieved for other customers? Do you suggest alternatives to customers in order to reduce costs? How do you work with suppliers to drive costs down? Having a set of real figures to back up your statements on value for money is critical to demonstrating to the buyer that you are a supplier that delivers.
7

Meeting timescales

Timescales are hugely important with printing contracts (e.g. electoral printing, payroll printing, print on demand, print-2-mail). Can you describe how you will ensure you meet the timescales in the specification? Do you have delivery reports that evidence how well you have adhered to timescales and delivery KPI’s? Consider collecting evidence to show how you have met print prioritisation, print production and print transportation timescales for example. Do your delivery drivers have tachometers? If you are a local business, make sure you highlight this to show how traffic will be much less of an impact on your service delivery.
8

Suppliers/supply chain management

With printing contracts, issues with the supply or quality of printing consumables can cause huge issues with quality or timescales. Buyers will need to have confidence in your supply chain and that you have contingencies in place if e.g. the ink dries up from your main supplier. How can you demonstrate the quality of your supply chain? Do you have system in place to regularly audit your supply chain to check they are adhering to environmental and ethical trading standards?
9

Case histories

Pull together case histories, preferably with corresponding testimonials, to provide supporting evidence for your bid. The public sector is particularly risk averse, so any opportunity to show that you have done this successfully before, with a similar organisation, helps any buyer to reduce their risk.
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I would like to say a big thanks to you and your team for enabling us to successfully tender for this opportunity. Your help, support and guidance has enabled us to compete toe-to-toe with the ‘big boys’ and has ultimately resulted in us joining a framework that will hopefully lead to a large amount of work for us. I look forward to working with you on future tenders and would recommend Complete Tenders to anyone seeking success with the tender process.

Ian AbrahamsJNB Publishing Ltd