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Is printing the CFO's business, too?

Sandra Gittlen | June 16, 2011
More companies say so, including InnerWorkings, which targets companies with more than $1m in out-of-house printing expenses.

This recession and post-recession season have CFOs going blind trying to eke pennies out of the bottom line. Many are likely summoning their inner Scotty from "Star Trek" and saying to the CEO, "I'm givin' her all she's got, Captain!" But a managed print services firm believes you might have missed one big savings opportunity.

"CFOs around the world, including myself, are always looking for cost-savings, especially in a recession and slow-growth recovery period. Many of us have run out of plain-old headcount reductions and we're searching for something else," says Joseph Busky, CFO for Chicago-based InnerWorkings Inc.

That "something else," he says, can be found in managed print services. His firm, which caters to Fortune 2000 firms that have more than a $1 million in out-of-house printing expenses with its IW Enterprise service, encourages companies to revamp those strategies.

Pitching to the CFO

"A lot of companies have an in-house print services manager who has built a close relationship with a local printer. Chances are, they haven't looked around at other options or renegotiated prices in a long time," he says. Busky concludes that organizations have to be awakened to the costs of a lax print-services situation, and that is why InnerWorkings targets its pitch toward the CFO.

"Printing is a non-core function for most businesses, so outsourcing it is logical," he says. InnerWorkings' approach is to replace the in-house print services manager with a contracted one. That person then uses InnerWorkings' proprietary database of 8,000 printers to find the best price for each print job's requirement. "We call up the right equipment in the right geography for the right price," he says.

The company claims its approach can save 10% to 15% in direct print costs, and another 5% to 10% in payroll savings. He adds that the database can be directed to comply with corporate mandates, such as doing business with minority-owned or woman-owned printers.

'Wide Open Marketplace'

The InnerWorkings service also provides job-by-job cost reporting to show exact savings. The company, which has $10 million in annual revenue, counts Advanced Auto Parts, John Deere, ServiceMaster, Rent-a-Center, and Unilever among its clients.

Busky has no qualms about saying that InnerWorkings aims to take a chunk of this nascent managed services industry, in a step that he believes will revolutionize commercial printing. Overall, the U.S. commercial printing industry "is a wide open marketplace valued at $100 billion." he says.

It's also an arena that has proven attractive to Hewlett-Packard, Xerox and other heavy-hitters. H-P and Xerox each recently made acquisitions that signaled their interest in moving deeper into managed print services for small-to-midsize markets.


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