Companies should take advantage of changes in printing technology to greatly reduce their spend on materials related to marketing efforts, says Scott Martin, director of supply chain consulting with NVISION.
The marketing supply chain is often overlooked by company executives. It consists of "the people, process and technology used on a day-to-day basis to manage marketing materials," says Martin. Functions include sourcing, procurement, production, warehousing, fulfillment and performance management.
Of the many parts of the marketing supply chain, it's technology that is undergoing the biggest change, Martin says. Companies are taking advantage of new online ordering and inventory-management systems, as well as variable print services available over the internet.
As with more traditional supply chains, the key to managing the flow of marketing materials is to obtain a "complete and holistic view" of the process. Companies that fail to scrutinize all aspects of the chain are leaving "a lot of money on the table," says Martin. A business using metrics to enact performance improvements in the marketing supply chain can realize cost savings of between 15 and 25 percent.
A good first step is to examine product purchases. Beyond that, marketing organizations need to pay attention to outdated product. NVISION typically discovers obsolescence rates of up to 25 percent. Eliminating those unneeded materials not only saves on the cost of product, it cuts down on storage, transportation and logistics expense. Ultimately, companies with a high percentage of obsolete materials must bear the cost of recycling or destroying items that they should never have purchased in the first place.
Thanks to volatile markets, it's becoming harder to assess one's long-term need for marketing collateral. New technology reduces the cost of purchasing smaller lots, so that companies don't have to buy two years' worth of materials. Instead, they can purchase in three- to six-month quantities. "I guarantee that nine times out of 10, you won't have to reorder," says Martin. "We've found that the half life of those materials is six months, so in 12 to 18 months that material is going to be obsolete."
To view video in its entirety, Click here
Timely, incisive articles delivered directly to your inbox.