Throughout the course of business management, an office will need to make countless decisions ranging from the trivial to the tremendous. Somewhere in the middle of two extremes are the choices to make involving printing projects – that is, reproducing those items that may turn out as distributed publications, in-house promotional brochures or a fancy glossy mailer. Whether it is a postcard or four-color booklet, decision makers everywhere should keep a few basic considerations in mind for using commercial printing.
Choosing to use a third party for printing as opposed to just using the in-office copier will often, honestly, simply come down to the issue of price. Just as the originating office has to deal with a supply budget that includes paper stock and toner cartridges, so too does the print shop have to charge to make up for their supplies of materials and ink, not to mention time of labor. When seeking to determine the best course of action in regards to potential commercial printing, it would be wise to establish an estimate for how much it would cost to perform the project in-house, then compare that figure to quotes garnered from at least a few different potential printers.
Issues of cost aside, often the most important consideration for a printed-product project is the timing. From concept to graphic design to taking to the post office, typically a printing company can get the job done much faster than the originating office, considering that this is their entire gig. Unless the issuing organization is an enormous corporation with their own graphics, printing and shipping departments, using a commercial printer will likely make sense from a timing standpoint. From time-sensitive letter mailers that go to a broad audience concerning a sale taking place on a certain weekend, to simply making it possible to send out a huge quantity of pieces, printers can usually include an estimated time of completion in their quotes.
Even if the commercial printer is able to form the graphics, make the necessary folds, cut in the right places and even pre-sort the mailing, what then? The contracting office will need to have a clear vision in mind, from start to finish, of how the project is going to go. Details such as whether the order will be shipped to the customer, picked up or taken to the post office directly at an extra charge can make an enormous difference in the potential success of a marketing piece or promotional material. One of the basic considerations for using commercial printing is to ensure that the client can meet the printer halfway in getting the job done. For example, if that were to mean having someone available who can pick up the job in a company truck when it was completed.
The above considerations for commercial printing will comprise the majority of the components necessary to make a decision or at least figure out if it is necessary to use an outside printer. Experienced managers recognize which projects need to be outsourced and which can be done in-house, while new managers will likely learn very quickly which printers in their area can offer the best service at the quickest speed at the lowest cost. Solving the puzzle of which printer to choose can be an integral part of long-term business success.