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Q&A with InnerWorkings CEO Eric Belcher

Chicago-based InnerWorkings, a print procurement and management company, reported on May 3 record first quarter 2012 financial results. CEO Eric Belcher briefly talked with WhatTheyThink about his company, waste and duplication in printing, and offered some business advice.

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About Stacey Skotzko

Stacey Skotzko is a journalist in Washington, DC, and reports on various aspects of Congress for Congressional Quarterly and Congress.org. She has lived in the nation’s capitol since 2008 and is originally from the Chicago suburbs. She graduated from Miami University of Ohio with degrees in journalism and international studies.

Discussion

By Clint Bolte on May 10, 2012

Innerworkings is the largest and most successful of all the print procurement and management firms in the private sector. With fiscal pressures on corporation to outsource all administrative services they should continue to prosper.

However, one caveat should be kept in mind. They and their competitors are all paid predominantly by their print buying clients. Consequently, any disagreements between the print provider and the buyer will always be settled in behalf of the buyer. Print buyers will be told, "You can make it up on future work." This come on has no validity. The most obvious and prevalent dispute will be schedule compliance. When the client is late, the printer is expected to still meet the deadline.

The sole exception to this characteristic and trait is the U.S. Government Printing Office. The GPO's regulations state that for every day their Federal Agency is late in having a complete package (electronic file, etc.) ready for print production the supplier is given TWO DAYS extension to the contracted delivery date. Similarly all disputes between print supplier and GPO/Agency client are settled by an independent Federal judiciary.

Unfortunately I do not know the solution to Innerworkings delimma, but it is very real. The printer will always end up on the short end of every dispute as there are always more printers to take his place.

 

By Greg Garlich on May 10, 2012

If you are a printer, InnerWorkings is not your friend. The printing industry enables them, thereby contributing to it's own destruction. The solution to the InnerWorkings dilemma is don't deal with them.

 

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