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What would you do?

Discussion in 'Digital Printing' started by jsmoritz2000, Nov 28, 2012.

  1. jsmoritz2000

    jsmoritz2000 Very Active Member

    We had been having some issues with a printer who does our digital printed marketing materials such as business cards and brochures. We do a few dozen digital print jobs a year thus far, having only been in business less than a year, so I'd say we're doing alright in this department.

    Anyway, we switched to a print contractor who was referred to me here as being a top quality printer. We have ordered about $2,000 or more from them in just the last month. Today we had two sets of business cards come in, one order for 1,000 and one order for 250. When I opened the box of 1,000 I knew right away they shorted us. We took the time to count them and counted 933 actual cards. In the order of 250 we counted 243. Normally, I wouldn't have even counted either order, but the order of 1,000 was noticeably short.

    So we wrote up a ticket on their website and found out that they will reprint the order of 1,000 but the order of 250 won't be done because they have an over/under policy of 5% of the quantity of merchandise ordered...

    Dear Customer,

    Please see our over / under policy below the amount indicated is less than 5% so I can't offer any compensation.

    Over/Under Runs
    Although we endeavor to ship the quantity ordered, 4over reserves the right to ship within 5% over or under the requested quantity. If a minimum quantity is a necessity we recommend that you adjust the total quantity ordered to account for the possibility of an under run.

    Ummm....is that normal? I mean seriously if my customers order 1,000 of anything I would presume they expect to get what they order and not a bit less. Should our policies reflect this 5%, which I think just makes us look terribly unprofessional anyway, or should I start looking for a new printer again? Argh! This is very frustrating.
     
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  2. Gino

    Gino Major Contributor

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    We don't do offset printing or whatever it's called today, but when we screen print we always get extra in case of mis-prints or any other problems. We actually use around 5% as the increase of our numbers. So, if our end count is to be 250 panels, we'll print about 10 or 12 over. We generally don't have the mistakes, but ya never know. If there aren't any mis-pprints, we keep one as a sample and give the extras to the customer. On one or two occasions, we goofed and maybe instead of 500 pieces, they might've gotten 498, but we alert them to the fact and if necessary adjust the cost a little.

    Mistakes happen, and unless you're doing jerseys for a team with their names on it, what does one or two matter ?? But 10% goof-ups would be considered above industry standards in any field.

    I'd tell them them this is unsatisfactory and you expect the shorted number to be fulfilled within 72 hours. Anything less and you will deduct what it costs to have the order filled correctly by another vendor. That should get them listening and a call back.
     
  3. mudmedia

    mudmedia Active Member

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    Shortage is no good at all
     
  4. CanuckSigns

    CanuckSigns Very Active Member

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    5% over/under run is pretty standard in the promotion products industry.
     
  5. john1

    john1 Guest

    The printer i work with locally when i don't outsource to others vendors for a UV gloss finish always does a overage since they know mistakes happen while producing the jobs.

    It's not fair if someone orders 250 cards and only gets 200.
     
  6. Xcesiv

    Xcesiv Member

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    In Australia I have found this as a common practice, but the price also reflects the quantity received.

    If you only received 933 instead of 1000 they give me a discount, and again, if they are over, they charge me more.

    The offset printers i use run with a 2% over/under rule. so its not a massive variation and I guess if they have less than 98% they print more.

    I think it is fair as long as they are clear and upfront with it before you process your order.
     
  7. petesign

    petesign Very Active Member

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    I have had problems with 4over. Their pricing is good, and usually their quality is too... but if they mess up, good luck.
     
  8. CanuckSigns

    CanuckSigns Very Active Member

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    To tell you the truth i'm not sure, I've never had an order come in that was obviously short and I'm not about to count out 1000 pens/business cards/lapel pins lol! in 18 years we've never had a customer come back and complain that they were shorted, so we've never thought twice about it.

    Thanks for the well wishes! We've got the new location pretty much set up, got our first piece of equipment in today, the rest will be in soon. It's all starting to come together nicely, our stress levels have come down a bit in the last week. :toasting:
     
  9. jsmoritz2000

    jsmoritz2000 Very Active Member

    Here's what I mean by the order was obviously short. Tell me you wouldn't have counted them. Lol. But really between me and my business partner I'm sure we counted them in all of three minutes and put them in stacks of 100. When we wound up with 9 and 1/3 stacks I was thinkin' what the !#$%? I just wish I had known about that policy before we got involved with these guys. Our previous orders seemed fine, but we recently ordered a large number of business cards, tri folds, and presentation folders for a company and I'm thinking to myself "what if they count and they come up short?" But I mean really if I were my customer and I ordered 500 presentation folders and only got 476 I'd be a little bent, especially paying somewhere in the neighborhood of a dollar a folder.

    Sooo...any suggestions as to another printer that may make us happier?
     

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  10. Mosh

    Mosh Major Contributor

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    I have more than I need now so I would give most away to churches and hospitals around the USA!
     
  11. insignia

    insignia Very Active Member

    I've seen as high as 10% over/under from offset printers, so IMO 4over isn't too out of line here and I think you'll have similar results from just about any printer. This is more or less industry standard. If you want a printer to guarantee a quantity I suspect you'll end up paying significantly more than any gang printer. For the money you'll find 4over hard to beat, even considering the occasional underrun.
     
  12. Mosh

    Mosh Major Contributor

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    I said MOST..I would drink the rest away...kinda like I do now...
     
  13. IGD

    IGD Verboten

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  14. jsmoritz2000

    jsmoritz2000 Very Active Member

    As you are a merchant member I value your input. Considering I'm really new to this industry, especially the printing part, I guess perhaps I should have better familiarized myself with industry standards. I really don't know anything about the processes involved so I guess it's not for me to judge whether these guys are doing anything right or wrong. But I've been ordering business cards for myself and recently others for more than 10 years and I've never seen a box that I thought needed counting. I always assumed there were 1000 cards in the box, as I'm sure most unsuspecting people might.

    From my own personal experience, when we screen print t-shirts we order extras as Gino mentioned or we place another order if something gets messed up and we didn't order enough extras. Regardless of how we have to do it, we get it done in the quantity ordered, in a timely fashion, and never short customers. I suppose if we did, we would offer a discount but we've never had to yet. It just seems like an unfair practice from where I stand, with my limited knowledge.

    I'm not even sure how to approach customers now with this. It would seem as though we should be upfront.

    Customer: Hey, I need 1,000 business cards.
    Me: Well, I can only guarantee you between 950 and 1,050 cards.

    Okay, maybe that's not the right approach.

    Me: Well, we have a 5% over/under policy due to "the nature of the business".

    I don't know. Somehow it still doesn't jive with me.
     
  15. royster13

    royster13 Very Active Member

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    No idea......Their prices are different......
     
  16. lazaros

    lazaros Member

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    The problem i see with this practice appears in jobs in larger quantities, like flyers where you might have orders of 10 000 or more. Are you going to be taking the time to be counting every order you place with them? My printer here always prints a few more than the actual quantity ordered. Less is not acceptable!
     
  17. FatCat

    FatCat Very Active Member

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    I worked in the offset print world for over 15 years, and for gang-run printers (VistaPrint, 4over, etc.) 5% +/- is pretty much standard policy. Why? Because when they run your 1k biz cards it's usually run by itself with another 40-50 cards on the same sheet. Issues during the print run or during finishing (cutting/folding/etc.) could ultimately affect the quantity you receive.
     
  18. thinksigns

    thinksigns SnowFlake

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    Business cards or brochures I can kind of understand.

    Have you noticed this on quotes from Grimco? If I order (100) custom blanks, they reserve the right to send me (95) !!!
     

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  19. Gino

    Gino Major Contributor

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    Well, if this is industry standard for offset, I've never heard of it or noticed it until this thread.

    Seems to me if you give a 5% or 10% +/-, you're taking the easy/lazy way out. If anyone was ever shorted it showed up on your invoice as 933 and you paid for 933 and the back ordered was usually delivered.... on them for the screw up.

    So, let's take this kinda business model and break it down.


    If someone orders 10 signs from us, I can bill them for all 10, but only deliver 8 or 9 ??

    When they go to put the signs up and come up two short, I just tell them..... it's written in your contract with us.... we can do this.

    Guy orders 35 jerseys for his softball team. I give him 32 shirts. What do the last 3 people wear on opening day ??

    Guy has 15 trucks in his fleet and I letter 14 and he says, you didn't letter them all........ ?? I can just say, too bad, it's in your contract. Read the fine print.

    So, realistically, I can't do it, but a printing company may ?? C'mon, that isn't fair and y'all know it. This was not an industry standard years ago. I worked in that field, too, along side of one of my best employees. It's a recent fatman's lazy way of doing lousy business. I'd never do business again with someone who shorted me and then hid behind some stoopid disclaimer.
     
  20. royster13

    royster13 Very Active Member

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    Terms like this are only acceptable if you accept them.....If you talk with your wallet and take your business elsewhere suppliers will get the message.....
     
  21. genericname

    genericname Active Member

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    Whole-heartedly agree. They short order you because they couldn't be bothered to gang up a few more cards on their next run? On a printer that's more than likely going all day? Bollocks.

    If I screen an order of shirts, and screw one up, I get another shirt and reprint it. My problem. My cost. Nobody should ever pass that kind of crap onto the customer, even if that customer isn't the end user.
     
  22. MikePro

    MikePro Major Contributor

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    Fellers used to do this, as well, with their custom banners. We got the quantities we ordered, but sometimes we'd get an order where 10/40 banners we received, the pole pockets had "pinch points" that were half the size that were spec'd.
    we got the line "+/- room for error, etc" but if i want a 2" pole pocket, then why the heck would I accept a banner that I could only fit a 1" pole into?

    no matter how many disclaimers you can write up, a customer should always receive what they paid for.
     

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