You Can't Print It All In-house
IT MAY not be a popular topic among in-plants, but sending work to outside printers is often a necessary part of an in-plant manager's job. After all, in-plants can't possibly print everything in-house. Still, some managers don't like to admit that.
"At some industry conferences, it has been like hypocrisy talking about print procurement," admits Joe Tucker, administrator of State Printing and Mail Services for the state of Ohio. "But what better place to have print procurement handled than with the printing experts?"
According to IPG data, almost half of all in-plant managers are in charge of procuring printing, in addition to overseeing in-house production. And this makes perfect sense. Who better to buy printing than a printer?
"We are the experts, and we understand the process and the materials," agrees Bob Keats, director of Document & Mail Services at Colgate University, in Hamilton, N.Y. "It is easier for us to talk to another printer than it is for the customers."
Each in-plant, though, has its own criteria for deciding what to outsource and where to send it. For instance, Keats turns to a small number of pre-approved vendors when faced with a job his shop is not equipped to handle.
"I can't do perfect binding in-house, and we do a number of jobs each year that require perfect binding," Keats notes. "We have two or three approved bindery vendors, so we use them. In the case of a long-run, full-color job that does not lend itself to be produced digitally, we do the same thing—we have three or four pre-approved vendors who we contact for prices and turnaround times."
Colgate's vendors are all vetted for quality, as the in-plant goes through stringent tests with all of its outside partners. If it comes down to two printers that are close in price, the work goes to the firm that can turn around the job the fastest, Keats says.