It's reasonable that a printer's capabilities (and limitations) in certain types of products will be determined by their equipment size, speed and binding capabilities. But your project may have contingencies that may not be the ideal fit for their partner network, manufacturers that handle the portions jobs they can't produce in their plant. This outsourcing is routinely done in printing with up to 3 or more additional vendors touching a job, adding time, money and varying degrees of quality control.
A good print manager is an independent agent that works for many printers and can effectively cut down the amount of outsourcing required by knowing the printers that match the job well and in the process, saving time and excessive vendor price markups for outside services they purchase. As a practice we are engaged with these operations on every project, but It's not uncommon that we might need to rely on our partners instead.
The best print managers will have many years of industry experience and a client list and references that convey their credibility. They are responsible for every step of what, where, when, how, why. This means identifying a group of optimal producers, creating specifications, selecting paper, scheduling to an end date, showing proofs, troubleshooting, doing on-press approvals, inspecting finishing processes and monitoring mailing dates and critical distribution.
Print managers award substantial amounts of work to key printers, thus have the best ability to leverage timelines and costs to keep the client's project on schedule and on budget.
Seemingly small and early decisions on publication size, page counts, paper and finishing methods, while not impairing quality, can save clients thousands of dollars on a project. A good print management company adds to the client's bottom line.
-Jeff Franklin, Production Manager