Print Copy

| | Paper Consulting | Contract Reviews | Workflow Analysis | Bio | Home


The following information outlines the procedures for the printing-bid and distribution analyses performed by Steven W. Frye, Frye Publication Consulting (FPC).


Before any request can be made for printing bids we establish what type of products and services are being purchased. This may only be a simple listing, in order of priority, of approximately six to ten items that is important to your publications and organization.

This list does not have to be elaborate and can even be done in bullet form. Obviously, all items in the manufacturing and distribution process are important, but only those that truly need special attention are listed. Such items may include specific schedules, distribution methods, technologies, paper stocks, or payment terms. This list tells the printer the items that you find's an expectation list of what you are buying.

This list is also used after the bids are received to establish the true value of prices offered. If a printer meets all your goals and priorities and offers competitive pricing, their bid may be the better value as compared to another printer who offers lower rates but does not meet your needs.


FPC will supply a list of qualified printers to the Publisher. From this list, printers will be selected and invited to bid on the printing of the publication(s). The current contacts that you may already have will also be included.


The preparation of a bid solicitation package or RFP, Request for Proposal, is next. We create a package of information to give to the bidding printers. This package will include information, such as, mechanical specifications, production schedules, growth projections, distribution schedules and a sample issue of each publication with their respective blanked-out invoices and print orders.

This package also includes a list of information that is requested from the printer. This list includes requests detailed price schedules, proforma invoices for the sample issue(s), samples of printing (from the plants they’ve proposed and on similar stocks used by your titles), production schedules, equipment lists, and references.

The Publisher is the printers’ client and FPC is not. Therefore, all bids and correspondence will be sent directly to the involved staff at the Publisher and FPC will receive copies. FPC will, however, be the principal analyst, performing all services required and listed in this proposal. The Publisher will be involved as little or as much as desired throughout the process.


Research then takes place with the checking of their references and other customers who were not referenced, reviewing equipment lists and investigating geographic locations of bidder’s plants.

Very thorough cost analyses are performed based on the sample issues and on the printer’s base contract rates. The bidder's costs will be compared to the incumbents’ current and revised costs.

Material analyses for both ink and paper consumption are performed. Using consumption rates for both covers and body stocks offers the best comparison as any paper basis weight; grade, brand, roll width, or cost can be applied and analyzed. The sourcing of paper is also part of the project. We look at all options from buying from the printer, merchant, broker or mill-direct.

A postal cost analysis is performed. Duplicate mailing lists along with copies of 3541 postal forms and/or Mail.Dat files will be sent to each bidder and they will respond with their optimum method to achieve the fastest postal delivery at the lowest cost. If applicable, a newsstand distribution analysis is also performed.

As prices are revised, updated analyses are submitted as the project progresses. At no time during the investigative process are prices discussed or negotiated with the bidders. The analysis will offer us a side-by-side cost comparison of each category. The bidders’ strengths and weaknesses will become very apparent and areas for future negotiations will be targeted.


Working with the Publisher’s involved staff, we will select the final bidders, including the incumbent(s), and all candidates will be notified of their selection status. This process happens their proposals are analyzed for schedules, costs, and the meeting of goals and priorities.


We (FPC and your involved staff members) will tour the facilities of the finalists to meet their staff, check equipment, organization, workflow, and cleanliness of the plant and get an overall impression of their operations. The time involved for touring plant facilities are included in the package cost, however, the Publisher is responsible for any travel-related expenses. It may be possible, however, that the printers will pickup some or all of those expenses.


Cost analyses and comparisons will be submitted to the Publisher throughout the process. A final report of advantages and disadvantages of each bidder will be reviewed and rated and recommendations will be submitted.


All negotiations related to the project are included in this package. Once the preferred printer is determined, the list of targets for negotiation is prepared and submitted to that printer. We will negotiate with only the best-qualified printer and will not “pit one printer against another”.

Negotiations cover prices, production schedules, quality standards, and contract terms. It’s been proven that price will move much further and faster when the printer realizes that we are sincerely trying to close a deal with them and no one else. The printer’s contracts will be amended to protect the Publisher from nonperformance, insure against damage of supplied materials, offer escape or termination clauses, define printer obligations, et cetera.


FPC will always represent the Publisher in the up most and professional manner and will never divulge anything regarding this project to anyone, including the bidders, without the Publisher’s knowledge and permission.

FPC offers a total commitment to achieve the goals and priorities of the Publisher within the time allotted for the project. If additional time is needed, for any reason, that time is also included within the project. There will be no extra charges beyond the cost stated in the original proposal, with the exception of the travel-related costs already mentioned.

It is also standard policy that if FPC does not reduce your annual costs by at least the amount of the project fee, FPC will not charge any fee to the Publisher. We feel strongly that consultants should pay for themselves…otherwise, why hire one?