Many organizations outsource printing for marketing materials, invoicing, and other high-volume print runs. Outsourcing can provide some good benefits such as no labor costs and an easy business process but...
What about the drawbacks?
- Lag time – When sending out a print job, you are at the mercy of the printer's schedule. Turnaround can be quick or it can take days. When revisions are needed, you experience additional lag time for each round of revisions you request.
- Loss of Control – Your company gives up a certain degree of control when outsourcing. If your needs are specific, it takes a lot of back and forth to get the results you are looking for.
- Cost – Naturally, commercial printers charge a premium for their services. While the total margin for printers is relatively low, the individual image costs are exponentially higher than in-house printing. Their are hidden costs associated with unused prints. In order to reduce the cost per unit, many times companies will order materials in bulk. If you have an error or would like to pivot your messaging, the remaining stock has no value is trashed. This drives up the real unit cost tremendously.
Do I spend enough to benefit from In-house production printing?
Often decision makers overestimate the cost and difficulty of bringing printing in-house and miss some of the major benefits. $1,000 per month in outsourced printing is a good benchmark to research internal solutions, however, your team can realize tremendous benefits even if you don't spend that much per month on outsourcing.
Perhaps the single biggest advantage to in-house printing is speed. Even if you have a department other than your designers running the equipment, there is little lag time between file submission, proofing, and the final output. Turnaround time for printing is minutes or hours instead of days or weeks.
Having an in-house production solution means you are the only client. The solution is there to serve you and you alone. Often our new production clients accelerate the frequency of their messaging because they can design on a dime. From concept to creation, bringing your printing in-house removes friction from the process and allows your marketing team to move faster than ever before.
Color control is a huge advantage gained when you bring your printing in-house. A nearly universal requirement of brands is to ensure your brand colors appear as they should in both digital and print media. Truthfully, many marketers overlook this output expecting that commercial printers are always providing them with the "real color." In fact, Pantone (PMS) colors can vary widely from device to device. Keeping machines calibrated is both a technological and business process. Do not take for granted that your printer is running frequent color calibrations to ensure their machines are staying calibrated.
When your team brings the process in-house, you gain control over the technology and the business process. We dial in your machine to meet your company's specifications and tailor your technology to your desired output. You can always inspect the process and be confident that your brand is consistently represented.
Make Printing a part of the Design Process
Being a designer for UBEO, I can tell you first hand that I could not live without our production systems being in-house. Experimentation is a huge part of our design process. Whether I am using the EFI spot color module to replace specific colors in a spread or using the Xerox Iridesse to push my designs with white, silver or gold dry ink, having the equipment in-house is critical.
Our team will take our designs down to the showroom floor and spend hours testing and refining. This is not possible with an outsourced process. Because the communication turnaround is so long, you may only have a single round of revisions before producing a job.
Having the ability to design, print and review in a single space allows our team the flexibility to make changes quickly and see our results in real-time.
No Waste Printing
Another big advantage of having your print production in-house is no waste printing. As I said before, if you make a change to your materials or want to pivot to a new design, any remaining stock becomes wasted. We have worked with clients that have trashed thousands of dollars in overstock prints because they shifted their message.
When your solution is in-house, you can print smaller batches on-demand and eliminate excess prints and associated waste.
"But I don't have a team member that knows how to work that technology."
We've got you covered. Our Production team will work with you to build your perfect solution and we provide continuing support to ensure your team is able to fully leverage the technology.
If you still do not have a candidate in-house or are not wanting to hire a person to manage your shop, UBEO also provides implant services. We can source talent and staff them in your location as part of your solution. These implanted team members are UBEO employees that are dedicated partners and work exclusively for your team.
Let us help you
If you are considering bringing your outsourced printing in-house, let us help you. Our team will assist you through this process and help you determine if now is the time. Talk to our team about a free consultation today!
Ronnie Hay is the Marketing Director for UBEO.