Print Procurement and Production for State Entities
Do you have an item that you need to have printed?
State entities frequently need to have collateral and promotion items produced. Collateral items are handouts that are printed on paper such as brochures, rack cards, and one-pagers. Promotional items are tangible products such as displays for events, promotional giveaways, and apparel. When having these types of items produced, follow three steps below.
Step 1: Consult the List of Current Statewide Contracts
As a first step, it is important to consult the list of Current Statewide Contracts to confirm if there is already a contract in place with a vendor who offers the item you would like to produce. These contracts are administered by the Department of Buildings and General Services, Office of Purchasing and Contracting (BGS-OPC). By example, did you know there are contracts already in place for Clothing, Footwear & Uniforms?
In 2012, the Vermont Department of Buildings and General Services (BGS) implemented a statewide print procurement process. The State has an internal Print Shop run by the Department of Buildings and General Services (BGS) that can produce a number of items and should be consulted first choice for all printing projects.
The second step is to check with your Agency’s business office to see if there are entity specific processes or preferences for ordering printed items. Agency's could recommend using a specific vendor for the item you would like to purchase and may have contracting or payment guidance based upon the item or dollar amount of your purchase. Agency specific requirements and processes take precedence over the recommendations outlined below.
Below are the three questions to ask your business office to get the conversation started. Also, be sure to mention if BGS-OPC already has a Current Statewide Contract in place for the item you would like to order.
Do I need a Purchase Order (PO) number?
For significant dollar amounts (determined by your governing agency) you are typically required to have a Purchase Order (PO) number for billing and payment processing. Check in with your business office to determine if you are required to have a PO. If you are required to have a PO, make sure it’s in place before you place your order to ensure easy billing and payment processing.
A PO is different than an invoice. An invoice is a payment request sent by the vendor after an order is fulfilled. A PO is developed by your Agency and is a way to track and manage the purchase. Setting up a PO allows you to establish a contract between your agency and the vendor where you can define the terms of the agreement with the vendor by adding a scope of work and payment provisions. In addition, it helps you avoid using an insertion order.
How will I pay for the order?
When printing collateral items, the BGS Print Shop and external print vendors will send you an invoice after the order has been fulfilled. This will be routed to your supervisor and then Agency business office for payment.
Most of the time, promotional items are ordered with a purchasing card (depending upon the dollar amount), but you should confirm in advance if that is acceptable for your specific order.
Should I use a Short Form Contract?
When it comes to establishing a contract to accompany the PO, completing a short form contract is a good option. Short form contracts can be used for single print runs or projects lasting 12 months or less for dollar amounts under $25K. You can find the contract template at https://bgs.vermont.gov/purchasing-contracting/forms under “Standard Short Form.”
Below are a few other considerations if you opt for a short form contract:
- You can use the initial estimate that the vendor you select provides, but as you draft the contract it is helpful to reach back out to the vendor to confirm no other costs, such as delivery fees, should be included in the contract.
- If you think you might need additional print runs this within 12 months, those could also be included in the contract. Remember the total amount of a short form contract must be under $25K.
- Sometimes justification memos are required when using a Short Form Contract. Be sure to ask your business office to make sure there are no specific requirements, such as a justification memo.
The process to obtain price quotes and place an order is slightly different for printed collateral and promotional items. Outlined below are the steps to follow for each item
Develop Print Specifications
The CMO’s office has created a helpful tool, the Printed Collateral Price Quote Request Microsoft Form, to help you distill the specifications vendors will need to provide a price quote. After filling out the details and submitting the form, you will be emailed a summary of the information that you provided.
Request Price Quotes
Email the summary of your Printed Collateral Price Quote Request to the BGS Print Shop and a minimum of three print vendors to obtain pricing for comparison. Per Bulletin 3.5, State entities need to obtain a minimum of three competitive bids. When you email the summary, provide a date that you would like vendors to respond by.
Helpful Tip: If you need help identifying three print vendors who can assist with your project, email the Chief Marketing Office. In your email, include the summary of your Printed Collateral Price Quote Request that you generated in the previous step.
Assemble the Price Quotes
Assemble all the bids that you receive and determine the most competitive bid. While cost is a significant factor in selecting successful vendors, it is not necessarily the determining factor. Awards should be made in the best interest of the State.
Select a Print Vendor and Prepare Artwork
Select the print vendor that you would like to work with and prepare your artwork file for production. Once you have the production ready artwork file, the CMO’s office has created a Printed Collateral Production Order Microsoft Form to assist with assembling your job specifications, and proofing, shipping and billing information. After filling out the details and submitting the form, you will be emailed a summary of the information that you provided.
Submit your Print Order
Email the summary of your Printed Collateral Production Order to your selected print vendor. Also attach your production ready artwork file and cc’ your business office and department manager to loop them in that the order has been placed. If your production ready artwork file exceeds email size limits, you should connect with your print vendor to ask about their preferred method to submit large files.
Locate Potential Vendors and Collect Price Quotes
For any item that you order, you should obtain a minimum of three price quotes from three in-state and three out-of-state (online) vendors. You will have a total of six quotes, three from in-state vendors and three from out-of-state vendors. It is helpful to conduct an online search to locate the type of item that you would like to purchase and then locate other vendors that offer a comparable item.
Helpful Tip: The Office of Purchasing and Contracting states “The Buildings & General Services (BGS) Print Shop will be the first choice for all printing projects.” The BGS Print Shop has the capability to print some large format items, so be sure to reach out with them to confirm if they can produce the item you are looking for.
Helpful Tip: If you need help identifying in-state and out-of-state print vendors who can assist with your project, email the Chief Marketing Office. In your email, be sure to include details such as color, quantity, size, intended artwork, etc., about the item you would like to produce.
Assemble the Price Quotes
Assemble all the price details that you received and determine the most competitive bid. While cost is a significant factor in selecting successful vendors, it is not necessarily the determining factor. Awards should be made in the best interest of the State.
Select a Vendor and Prepare Artwork
Select the vendor that you would like to work with. If the item requires artwork, prepare your file for production. For promotional items, many State entities will use the Moon Over Mountains logo with their entity identifier. Print vendors typically need the logo as vector artwork for large format/screen printed promotional items. To make sure you have the correct branding and file type, email the Chief Marketing Office. Be sure to include a link to the item(s) and product specifications such as color, quantity, size, intended artwork, etc., in your email so we are able to learn more about your intended use case.
Please Note: The Vermont logo is a registered trademark protected by law. State of Vermont offices may use it in accordance with specifications defined for marketing and promotion of State government goods, services, and agency or department authorized sponsorships. The logo may not be altered or modified by State officials or adapted for use by private entities.
Submit your Print Order
Follow the instructions on the vendor website to complete your order and upload required artwork.
Helpful Tip: For most online orders with custom artwork, you will receive a digital proof. However, we recommend providing instructions for where the proof should be sent when you complete your order. Often, you will have an opportunity to add notes or provide special instructions. This will ensure an electronic proof is reviewed and confirmed prior to order completion.
The Chief Marketing Office is the sole authority for maintaining and creating the Official Vermont logo files. It is against guidelines to modify, create, or recreate the Coat of Arms or Moon Over Mountains logo files.
For questions concerning use or to obtain the Moon Over Mountains logo with or without an identifier for your marketing piece, please email the Chief Marketing Office. We can provide high-resolution image files in multiple file formats to State entities upon request, and to private organizations when the State of Vermont is a partner or sponsor