Is Your Printing Contract Working Against You?
• Third, the contract must stay smart. Provisions for performance, quality, specifications, schedule and payment must all work to the mutual advantage of the publisher and printer for as long as it’s in force. For example, if the quality of the work materially declines, the publisher needs to have the right to terminate. If the volume of the work increases, the prices should change to reflect it. The contract must allow for dynamic changes that would make both publisher and printer sign the agreement all over again under the new conditions.
Publishers don’t want to shop for the sake of shopping. Selecting a printer is a tough enough decision without the need to wonder if the price basis for that choice will crumble in your hands during the life of a contract.
Now, we may well be moving into an era of rising prices, trading one set of problems (contracts that drift away from market norms) for another (a wave of increases in manufacturing costs). The contract can control the pace and intensity of possible increases if the escalation structure is well-designed. PE
Alex Brown is a consultant to magazine publishers specializing in manufacturing and magazine management. She founded her consulting company, Printmark, in 1984, and is a frequent speaker at industry events.