How will the new specialty printer exclusive contracts help SMU save money?

After reviewing data that showed an opportunity for savings up to $700,000 annually in specialty printing, the Purchasing department conducted a competitive solicitation process for vendors to provide specialty print services to the University using an exclusive provider contract model.

Thirty-one (31) vendors were invited to participate with nineteen (19) responses received.  An evaluation committee representing academic and administrative areas reviewed the responses and selected eight (8) vendors to provide pricing on a market basket of common print jobs across campus.  Three (3) vendors were chosen and their submitted pricing indicates that SMU should save a minimum 30% on off-campus printing by employing the exclusive provider contracting model, though projections indicate that the savings could be as high as 50% of last year’s spending.

Effective September 1, 2016, the Specialty Printing exclusive providers are now mandatory sources for the main Dallas campus, SMU-in-Plano and SMU-in-Taos.  Examples of custom printing services subject to the exclusive contracts include:

 Perfect bound books




 Annual reports

• Flyers, postcards, self-mailers

 Folded carton packaging & presentation boxes

• Forms

• Invitations

• Announcement cards and envelopes


 Presentation & pocket folders

The Specialty Printing services exclusive providers are divided into two categories. 

1) Full-service printers offer complete pre-press capabilities, color correction, photo manipulation, customer file library and archiving, graphic design, direct mail services, on-line interfaces for inventory management and warehousing, wide format printing and other specialty printing services. SMU’s exclusive full-service printers are ColorDynamics  and Quad Williamson.

2) Print-ready printer offers low cost print solutions and works from ‘print ready’ PDF files with limited pre-press capabilities and file manipulation, and no design capabilities. SMU’s exclusive print-ready printer is Ennis Graphics.

Contact and ordering information for each of the providers can be found here: Specialty Printing Providers. Additional price quotes are not required when using these vendors. Although as a best practice, the Purchasing Department recommends requesting pricing from all three vendors during this initial start up to determine which vendor offers the best solution for a specific project. All exceptions to using these exclusive providers must be approved by Purchasing.

In addition to these new partners, the Purchasing Department encourages the use of SMU Copy Central for smaller and less complex projects.  SMU Copy Central offers an on-campus solution, online ordering capabilities, and quick turn-around.  Visit the website and bookmark the page

SMU Mail Central is also available to assist you with your direct and bulk mailing projects. Visit the website and bookmark the page to learn more about the services offered.

Specialty print projects originating from all SMU departments must follow these procedures, including those paid for by restricted funds. For additional information, please contact Cathy Heckman at or 214-768-2174.

By Nick Rallo