There has been a lot of fuss about the paperless office over the past few years, but the fact remains that the business world cannot survive without letterhead, business cards, and other paper documents. Companies have traditionally done their own printing, but print and mail outsourcing gained momentum in the 90s. Each option has pros and cons worth considering if you are to make an informed decision.
Most companies do in-house printing to save money. It is, however, important that you note you actually save money when you outsource the service since it means you do not have to invest in the equipment and supplies needed for printing and you do not have to pay for office and storage space. Maintenance costs of complex printers are also high. Some require that you hire someone to man them, which adds to your overhead costs. Color printers and black & white printers that are capable of high speed & high volume copying are too expensive for an average sized business to run and maintain.
According to a report by the National Association of Purchasing Managers, print procurement is the 2nd biggest cost reduction opportunity. Keep in mind that American corporations spend over $150 Billion dollars on brochures, direct mail, catalogs, sales collateral materials, and annual reports. This figure does not include such paper products as letterhead, business forms, point-of-sale materials, and packaging materials.
Some of the companies that do in-house printing of architectural and engineering copies do so to preserve the integrity of highly sensitive work. However, the fact is that sabotage happens even in the workplace. When you outsource the printing of sensitive documents such as engineering copies, you will at least have the guarantee of the printing company. Another reason to outsource the printing of oversize copies is that the printers needed to make oversize copies are large, complex, and expensive.
Another of the main reasons why companies opt for in-house printing is that they want to do the work as quickly as possible (such as if there are strict deadlines). However, this is a non-issue because top printing services work on strict deadlines. These companies are actually more likely to give quick results because they have the necessary equipment and technicians who have the necessary training and experience.
The printing process is not as easy as click on ‘print’ on the computer. As an example, when it comes to bulk mailing, printing involves data transfer, data processing to extract key information, document formatting, variable printing, automated envelope inserting, and USPS mailing. The entire printing process, as can be seen in the bulk mailing example, can be time and energy consuming. It is better that employees concentrate their effort in the tasks for which they were employed.
A process like document formatting should only be done by a professional because it requires the programming of a composition rules engine, design considerations, content considerations, and formatting to include barcodes.
Printing services have employees who have the training, skills, and experience necessary to do a good job. When your employees do the work, there is a risk of damage to paper and ink worth thousands of dollars. If such damage occurs when you have outsourced the work, the printing company will be responsible.