15 Tips for Global Sourcing
Offshore sourcing is becoming increasingly popular among publishers who are looking to get cost-effective, quality printing and other publishing services. Forty percent of book publishers said they had worked with an overseas printer in the past year, according to a July 2006 study by the market-trend research company TrendWatch Graphic Arts. Yet, as they say, buyer beware. Global sourcing has its advantages as well as its pitfalls. To successfully navigate an offshore partnership, experienced publishers and printers offer these 15 tips.
1. Research a reputable partner.
Do your research to find the largest and most reputable printers available. Tad Crawford, president and publisher, Allworth Press (New York), suggests asking other publishers for recommendations.
“This is the best way to find vendors …” he says. “Another approach is to ask the vendor to provide references,” and be sure to check them, he adds.
2. Consider an offshore partner with an onshore office.
Charlie Clark, director, C&C Offset Printing Co., which is based in Portland, Ore., but prints in China, suggests the best situation is when publishers work with printers who have offices in North America staffed with Americans.
“This cuts down on any sort of cultural or linguistic issues that can be hidden in e-mail-only relationships with those having only offshore contacts,” he says.
However, buyer beware, cautions Mala Morris, business development manager for publishing and data services company Newgen Imaging Systems, based in India. “If you’re paying a premium for a U.S. office, make sure that you are getting something for your money—not just a middleman taking a cut of the revenue.”
3. Check its certifications.
Clark suggests asking about the company’s certifications, such as ISO 9001, ISO 14001, ISO 18001, etc. Also, does the printer specialize in the publisher’s genre? As with any printer, expertise can vary greatly from photo books to guide books to fiction, bibles and children’s books.