To stay on time, on budget, and meet quality requirements, print projects must adhere to production standards and specifications. Ours is a custom manufacturing environment, and production control is the tool we use to manage the process. That’s not something we made up – that’s just the way it is in custom manufacturing.
There is one department in our printing company that you don’t often hear about… our bindery. This is where we take printed sheets to finish the job. There are often many small operations that need to be completed just before the job is ready to be delivered. Even though they are frequently rather small and seemingly insignificant operations, together they combine to insure that the final product has a very professional appearance.
The bindery in our company is where we create the final product from flat press sheets; products like a folded brochure, a booklet, a pad, a numbered invoice, pages with holes ready for a ring binder, a spiral bound manual, or a ticket with perforations to make a tear-off stub. The bindery is where we trim business cards to final size and trim the edges of booklets to make them even. It’s where we apply the glue that makes individual sheets of carbonless paper into a set. It’s also here that we package the order and do the final quality control check. So even though we rarely mention the bindery when talking to you about a project, it is a very important part of the printing process.
Man drinking lemonade from boy’s lemonade stand
Imagine this scenario:
In your business or organization, you are the person responsible for sales and marketing activities. It’s the time of year to formulate next year’s plan and determine how much executing it will cost. Will investing in transactional marketing strategies or building relationships with customers yield the best results?
On the one hand, transactional marketing – which focuses on single point-of-purchase sales transactions – can be maximized for transaction efficiency. This means less overhead costs associated with each sale and therefore a higher potential net profit. Transactional sales are appealing to buyers in today’s busy world because they take less time and can happen 24/7.
In contrast, relationship marketing focuses on generating sales by first developing a relationship with the buyer. This means the business must gather and analyze information about each buyer’s needs and wants in order to offer products and services that are useful and relevant. Such an approach takes business resources (time and money), which compromises efficiency. The tradeoff is that a relationship with the buyer can lead to customer loyalty and long term purchasing habits.
What’s your company’s budget for printing? Is it a measurable part of overall expenses, or such a small amount that it doesn’t even have its own line item? Whichever it is, we’d like to offer eight ways to make the budget dollars go farther.
We don’t always have the lowest price. But we always do have the best price — the price that represents the balance of job specifications, production time, quality, and on-time delivery. If you are not experiencing this level of performance with your current printer, we invite you contact us at 513-248-2121 to discuss how we can be of assistance to you.
The resources your business or organization devotes to sales and marketing is its marketing budget. We purposely use the term resources because a marketing budget may be time and materials as well as cash. It may be a specific amount based on a written plan, or it may be an informal recognition that some time and money is required to support a sales effort.
So how can you manage your marketing budget to maximize its effectiveness? In this issue of Printips we will offer some strategies, ideas, and activities to get the most out of your marketing budget.
Tip#1: Evaluate current marketing activities
The best way to make the most of your marketing budget is to actively manage it.
Are you the person who buys printing for your company or organization? If so, we want to talk to you! Whether you are ordering business stationery, functional forms and documents, or marketing materials and sales collateral, we’d like to help you get the most from your printing budget. So keep reading to learn our secret that will help you save money on printing.
Printing = Manufacturing
Printing is a custom manufacturing process. When we fill your order, we aren’t taking something off the shelf and shipping it to you. We start from scratch each time, with paper (either blank or preprinted for business card shells or newsletter templates), ink or toner, and a digital file containing the images to be printed (either provided by you or retrieved from our secure file storage).
All printing jobs have at least two manufacturing steps: prepress and printing.
Once upon a time there were relatively few places that a business, organization, or individual could go to buy printing. General commercial printers, as we were known back then, had large, noisy printing presses best suited to areas zoned for manufacturing and away from retail centers.
Technology changed that in the 1970s when small, clean presses and photo direct plate makers gave birth to the quick print segment of the printing industry. Quick printers could operate in a 2000 square foot retail storefront, readily visible from the street. Another shift in technology added copiers, then digital output devices that eliminated the need for chemicals to process press plates and run the presses. Now printing could be done in an environment less like a factory and more like an office.
Digital technology also enabled printers to expand their offerings beyond offset printing to include high speed digital printing (color and black and white), large format graphics, posters, banners, signs, and even mailing services – a complete range of services needed by businesses and organizations to communicate, market, and sell.
Regular readers of Printips know that over the years we’ve consistently recommended PDF as the file format of choice for printed documents. We were early adopters because of the significant benefits to our customers that extended beyond print to data exchange, archiving, and publishing on the Internet. Because of these benefits, PDF is now firmly established as the worldwide standard for many diverse applications.
Once upon a time, printing equipment was big, noisy, dirty, expensive, hard to operate, and therefore impractical for most businesses to own. When copies of documents were needed, they were made using carbon paper or mimeograph and ditto machines.
Things began to change in 1959 with the introduction of the first plain paper copier – the Xerox 914 – and continued with the invention of laser printers, color copiers, and desktop publishing systems. Today’s modern office couldn’t operate efficiently without its desktop laser printers and copy machines.
So does all this internal printing capability mean that it is faster, better, or cheaper to “do it yourself” rather than having a commercial printer do the work? Or are there some overlooked costs and other issues that should be considered? In this issue of Printips we’ll explore these topics.
Consistency. This is our aim as we work on each order you place with us. The same paper, the same colors, the same fold, the same binding, each order matching all previous ones. We think you’ll agree that we’re pretty good at it. So how do we achieve this consistency from order to order? By following the same set of specifications each time we do the job.
Specifications are a way to describe unambiguously how the finished order should appear and can include the smallest detail (such as how the order is to be packaged and shipped). As printers, specifications are as important to us as a set of plans is to a building contractor. In fact, at TechneGraphics, our production manager reviews the specifications on every order to be sure they are clear, understandable, and unambiguous. If anything is missing or in question, the order is not placed into production until the specifications are perfect.