Posted by: AG | February 11, 2010

Printing trends: proximity

The second trend to consider is that the proximity of a printer to the customer is becoming less important.  Obviously, when you have a choice, it is always more convenient working with a printer near your business office.  It’s easier to drop off work, do press checks, review changes, and pick up the job when finished. But for large direct mail marketers in today’s competitive world, other factors will overshadow your need for proximity.

For instance, as mentioned before, greater specialization means that the odds of finding a printer who offers the most competitive prices and the best quality for your exact needs are slim.  So plan on investing more time to travel depending on your product.

Take book and magazine publishers for example:  In the Midwest, especially in Illinois, you will find many large “web-press” (paper on a roll) printers that manufacture much of the printing and mailing. Why the Midwest?  Mostly because their geographically centralized location gets material shipped and delivered quicker on a nationwide basis.

There are other factors about proximity worth noting, such as the skill and cost factor of labor.  Generally, the further away from metropolitan areas, the less the cost of production.  Such things as real estate expense and the overall cost of living will usually be higher within cities.  Since printing companies usually need a lot of square footage and many employees, a company that can keep their overhead costs lower will usually offer the most competitive pricing.  At the extreme end of this process, many companies have their books or other expensive publications printed overseas for that reason.  Therefore, proximity is a major factor explaining why print prices can vary tremendously for the same job.

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