I’m often reminded around this time of the year about corporate annual reports. Not the kind that are filed with the SEC, but the kind many enterprises prepare for their customers, shareholders, industry influencers, and more.

Many years ago, the corporate annual report was like a high-school yearbook, complete with bios of key management team members, blocks of heavy text describing the company’s products and services, and of course the obligatory financial reports. To be honest, most of the annual reports I remember from back then were pretty dry, and I only looked through them when I had a specific question about something. But that has all changed!

Today’s annual reports can be beautiful works of art with fold-out pages, a mix of paper types, 3D pop-ups, and much more. I read a blog recently that reviewed 40 top “interesting” annual reports. You can read the blog here yourself, but here are my top 4 favorite reports:

  1. The Austria Solar 2011 annual report uses a special ink that’s only visible in the sun. Without the sun, the report is a book of white pages. Nice idea for a solar energy company.
  1. The 2014 annual report for Clear Media Limited uses laser-cut technology to carve scenes on each page, and when the report is closed, the layers combine to create a visually stunning overview.
  1. For Banques Alimentaires Quebec, their 2012-2013 annual report came in some very clever packaging presented as a tin-can coin bank.
  1. The2013 annual report for Applegreen was built from images of multi-layered 3D paper artwork. The finished report even comes in a nifty slide-out package.

Your company may not be ready for thermal-reactive inks and 3D artwork, but the reality is, most of us do want our annual reports to be representative of the ingenuity and uniqueness that make our companies better than the rest. We want to grab the opportunity at least once a year to record a history of successes, challenges, and learning. As a result, our annual reports are becoming more complex than ever, and with complexity comes higher risk for error, higher costs, and more involvement from larger teams.

Which brings me to Noosh. We love complex print projects!

When you have a print job like an annual report, fancy or not, print management software like Noosh will most certainly be a huge help. I can’t imagine using spreadsheets, email messages, or (heaven forbid) fax machines; when you’re tackling big projects and going out for bids from a variety of vendors, you want to make sure everyone is working from the same set of specs. You need a way to audit what’s going on. And, you need a way to interact seamlessly with everyone involved in the process. Now that cloud-computing is ubiquitous, it’s easy to create collaborative environments with shared access to one set of design docs, one set of digital assets, one set of kitting instructions, etc. This makes it almost fool-proof for multiple vendors to interact with you, and to be assured they are all seeing the same thing.

From a time perspective, working with a cloud-based procurement system like Noosh will improve productivity significantly. Procurement teams can handle more line items, and capabilities like shared calendars make sure everyone is on the same schedule. We did a study of more than 175,000 print procurement projects that showed users of Noosh could handle 6-times as many line items per year than the average non-user. You can download a copy here and see the numbers for yourself.

Probably the biggest impact from using print procurement software is in cost savings. Our research has shown that projects that go out to at least 3 competitive bids save on average 22%. This is very significant amount whether your annual report made my top 4 list above or not! When you ask vendors to bid on your project, you’re keeping a level playing field, especially if you tend to use the same vendors over and over again. The Noosh procurement platform supports a variety of bidding models, so you can of course use the system in a way that’s best for you. But the bottom line is, take your annual report out to bid… you’ll save a lot!

Think about the complex projects at your company. Maybe your annual report is nothing fancy, but I’ll bet you have a direct mail campaign or in-store signage program that is challenging to say the least. And, even if the complexity factor is not all that high, consider how cloud-based print procurement software will help your organization streamline materials development, reduce costs, and improve productivity. Tell us about your projects, whatever they are, and let us show you how Noosh will step up to your challenge. You can request a demo at any time.