Time was, when a company needed to purchase thermal paper they would approach a few trusted suppliers and give them an opportunity to quote the job. The process was fairly inclusive. It allowed for the supplier’s representatives to get to know the customer and their needs, which not only resulted in a more customized proposal, but also opened the doors for a personal relationship that would ultimately benefit both parties as they became more familiar with each other’s operation.
Today, many customers prefer to receive bids through a process called a reverse auction. Here, bids are submitted anonymously, and the only real variable being considered is cost.
There are certainly some advantages to this approach. It is often more efficient for the customer, in the short term, and will usually save them a few cents on a paper roll for that particular order.
But, there are also some disadvantages that could prove significant given the size and specifics of the job. This includes thermal paper that doesn’t just cost less, but is cheap from a quality standpoint as well, leading to performance issues such as jams, tears, and scuffing of the print head which could require costly repairs.
Reverse auctions also tend to apply less attention on important variables, such as the service a supplier provides, and their technical expertise. Often times these critical components are not offered by the thermal paper suppliers who offer the lowest cost. Which can be frustrating when a problem arises and there’s no one on the supplier’s side to help.
At TDG, we believe that customers should raise the expectations they place on suppliers, and hold them to a higher standard. A higher standard of service, performance, and product expertise.
When considering thermal paper suppliers, here are a few variables that customers should take into consideration:
- Custom solutions: Suppliers that have strong technical expertise are often able to propose custom solutions to certain jobs that address the needs of a customer better than the stock option being considered at the time. Customers who only use reverse auctions often miss out on these custom-tailored options.
- The right paper: Not all thermal paper is created equal. Experienced suppliers know this and can recommend the paper type that will work best with a particular machine. Often times these nuances are missing from bids obtained through auctions.
- Consistent pricing and performance: Suppliers know the game when submitting through reverse auctions. It all comes down to cost. And there are many thermal paper suppliers who will undercut on cost in order to get the job, hoping to make money down the line. What looked like a great deal at the beginning, loses its shine when it’s time to re-order and the pricing has changed, and the customer now realizes that they’re dealing with an inferior supplier that doesn’t have their best interests in mind.
The world of thermal paper has changed. Naturally, so have the rules. But, there are some things that technology can’t improve upon, such as service, expertise, and a company that cares. And, while these qualities may cost a couple of cents more per paper roll, they’ll save a customer time, money, and heartache in the long run.
So, raise your expectations, and hold suppliers to a higher standard. Expect More. Get More.
Contact Us to learn more.