PODCAST: Major Procurement Bottleneck Solved, Thanks to Zaikio

Company’s latest offering bridges the printer/supplier gap to automate pricing



Greg Cholmondeley



Many top business stories in the news today involve supply chain disruptions, labor shortages, and inflation. These might not sound like production workflow issues, but they can be. Streamlining production processes extends far beyond printing. Business processes can also be streamlined with automation to save time and labor.


Consider the ordering process: every time your shop needs new materials, someone must contact one or more suppliers, locate the materials listing needed, update the price, confirm delivery dates, and place the order. This might be done online or through e-mails and phone calls, but each method takes time. This has always been the case, but changing business practices are exacerbating the problem. For example:

  • Minimizing materials inventory reduces waste, occupied shelf space, and cost, but it increases ordering frequency.
  • Paper supply issues drive frequent price changes, availability, and varying delivery times. This often causes printers to research alternate sources.


These factors increase the time that skilled workers must spend investigating and ordering materials when printers are struggling with labor shortages. Automating these tasks, however, also poses some challenges. Specifically, materials suppliers and printers use various systems and processes for ordering and managing inventory. These systems rarely speak the same language.



Keypoint Intelligence’s 2021 North America Software Investment Outlook Study found that most printers and in-plants use a commercial management information system (MIS). These systems often provide inventory management services and update flow pricing updates into estimating modules. However, contacting materials suppliers, comparing prices, placing orders, and entering updated pricing into these systems is still manual.


The time and labor involved in tracking and entering materials pricing are further complicated by supply chain issues. Paper prices, which used to change annually, are now fluctuating rapidly and unpredictably. Materials suppliers are unable or unwilling to commit to large or long-term orders, creating a need for more frequent ordering.


Zaikio has a platform and a product that addresses these issues. The Zaikio business platform provides an API to connect software in the cloud. This standard interface enables disparate systems to speak a common language to share data and requests, with Zaikio Procurement being the first solution to utilize this platform.


Zaikio Procurement streamlines materials procurement by optimizing the processes involved with communication between materials suppliers and printers. Printers can review the materials they need and connect with suppliers to determine up-to-the-minute prices and delivery estimates. This is not, however, a webshop. Zaikio Procurement is an automation layer that directly connects suppliers with MIS solutions or Zaikio apps to retrieve and communicate pricing information for paper, inks, plates, and other consumables.


I recently interviewed Matthias Prinz, Founder and Managing Director of Zaikio, who explained the process and implications in greater detail. Listen to our conversation today!


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