Commercial Printers - Make Them Your Partners
To work effectively with commercial printers, partner with them. This means putting aside your fears of outsourcing and trying to educate one another.
No in-plant can print everything. Some items simply must get sent to outside commercial printers. Even the country's largest in-plants outsource work. Boeing, Allstate and USAA, which ranked at the top of our recent Top 50 list, outsource 22 percent, 30 percent and 39 percent of their work, respectively.
By outsourcing jobs that you can't print well in-house, you will get the best quality possible for your customers. Working with commercial printers, however, can be a tricky business. To get the best results, you should try to partner with them. This means putting aside your fears of outsourcing and your distrust of commercial printers. This isn't always easy—especially if you've had bad experiences.
You may know of commercial printers who have the attitude that an in-plant is not a real printer. Some of these printers may have tried to take advantage of you, thinking that you wouldn't know paper prices or other costs. They may even have handed you the ultimate insult by giving you a facilities management proposal—offering to take over your shop. Or maybe they tried to steal your customers by going right to them with a proposal.
Despite your experiences, it's to your advantage to educate the commercial printers you deal with and change their attitudes about in-plants. You can't let these experiences turn you bitter.
Your first step is to determine which items you print cost-effectively and which ones you should send out. Do an in-depth cost analysis of your in-plant. Compare your costs, rates and services to those of outside printers. If you see rates that are lower than yours, inspect the quality of the product being produced at those rates.