Choosing the right quantity | Learning Hub | Fineline Print & Web

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Choosing the right quantity to order might be one of the most important questions you can consider.

Get it wrong and it can cost you loads.

Order too few and you’ll have to put up with higher unit costs and downtime while you wait for a reprint to come through. Order too many items and they go to waste.

But an unseen consequence of ordering more than you need is that you go on using them long after they should have been binned. If some of the information is out of date or product specifications have changed then you are risking sending out poorly performing print which, somewhere along the line, is going to impact on your bottom line. 

Ok, so where do you begin?


1:  Start off with how many you think you need

You wouldn’t believe how many order quantities aren’t based on this one simple question. More likely they are based on what your printer guesses that you might need and then gives you seductively priced print runs with low unit costs which actually may be way, way more than you really need.

Regularly used items are a little easier to work out because you have a fair idea of how many you use over a given time period.

But, here again, don’t get seduced in to taking advantage of higher quantities and their plummeting unit-costs and end up ordering supplies that may last for several years.

Even if you are using a lot of a particular item, a good rule of thumb is to not order more than a year’s supply. So much can change in that time and you don’t want to be left with a redundant printed matter on your hands whose only value lies in binning it.

But what about things like new projects? Where do you begin to start calculating how many items you need for them?




2: Well, here are a few pointers

Let’s take an example of a business card order for a new member of staff.

If they are customer facing and their job is to meet and greet then they’re going to need an awful lot more than an office based colleague who may have only limited opportunities to hand out a card.

But let’s get down to specifics.

How many appointments are they expected to make every month? If its 50 per month, then a year’s supply is likely to be around 600. If they are new in a post they’re going to be proud to hand business cards here there and everywhere so it’s best to add on a few more. In this instance, 1,000 Business Cards would be a good guess/estimate for you. 

Someone who does a lot of networking and regularly attends such events may need more. A rough calculation of the number of meetings they have scheduled in their diary and the number of people they might meet will, again, give you a sensible best guess as to how many cards to order.


But what if it’s a brand new product or service with no track record. How many items are you likely to need then?

Well, it might be worth your while popping by for a chat with your market research guys. They’ll have more than likely scoped out the size of the market or locality you are targeting and will have a very good idea on the numbers of leaflets or brochures you are going to need.

If you are a one-man band and staring up a new venture as a landscape gardener you might take a look at your Local Authority’s population numbers to have a better idea of how many potential customers there are available within a given area.

Another port of call if you are planning a leaflet drop is the Royal Mail who will have very up to date information on the number of households in your target area.


Ok, none of this is an exact science but an educated guess along with a bit of quality thinking is better than a wild stab in the dark.


And there’s on last consideration you may want to bear in mind and this is …


Printed material can be heavy and bulky. So, if you do need lots of brochures or catalogues, for example you could be in for a shock about how much space they can take up.

I’d always recommend that if you are ordering sizable quantities of anything much bigger than 1/3rd A4 Compliment Slips that you ask your printer to give you the box count and consignment weight before you order. It may just save you from a nasty surprise.


I hope this quick skim through has been helpful and thanks for dropping in,


But before you go …

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