In-House Versus Outsourced Printing for SMBs
To Print or Not to Print, That is the Question
Every business uses print materials. However, not every business relies on the same production methods. Some businesses outsource when it's financially profitable to do so. Meanwhile, other businesses rely on a tight in-house printing operation. Neither approach is wrong. Some make a clear decision to pursue both strategically while others assume that one or the other is superior.
Below, we discuss when it makes sense to print in-house and when it's more advantageous to outsource. Let's start with a little background.
What Gets Printed and Who Sees It?
Small and midsized businesses (SMBs) print invoices, packing slips, letterheads, business cards, flyers, information sheets, etc. Meanwhile, specialized businesses print specific materials such as menus, user-instruction leaflets, manuals, plus sales and marketing brochures about products and services. Many also print special materials to complement online inbound marketing campaigns. In general, print products are seen by employees, customers, and investors.
How Print Can Impact a Brand
Everything that a prospect or client sees can impact "brand awareness." Your brand image tells everyone what your business stands for and how your products and services can deliver intrinsic benefits better than those offered by competitors. You want consumers to know that your brand is friendly, efficient, reliable, trustworthy, and delivers value for money. Everything you print either reinforces your brand – or it doesn't. We can safely say, therefore, that printed materials can hugely impact how profitable your company will be.
Experts or Generalists
Most people can balance a checkbook and add up a sales receipt. However, not every employee is an accountant by training. Similarly, most people can drive but not everyone can service an engine.
That said, you may have employees who exhibit artistic tendencies. But, do they know how to leverage high-quality design to attract the eye? Are they versed in how to choose print colors, fonts, and textures to reinforce your company's brand image? And – let's get really practical – how good are they at using high-quality, state-of-the-art equipment to produce high quality print results every single time? Finally, how good are they at maintaining that state-of-the-art equipment and ensuring that materials are used at optimum levels?
All questions aside, how many SMBs actually have the equipment for an effective (and efficient) in-house printing operation?
Let's drill down to the basic costs of printing.
The Costs of Printing
You know print budgets can be expensive. Many companies spend 3% to 5% of their total operating costs on producing, storing, and delivering printed materials. That number includes materials, wages, storage costs, overstocking, waste, etc. Midsized businesses with several locations may "transfer" such costs to other departments in the company, so they don't always show up as "printing costs" in the accounts.
Another thing a P and L account won't show is how many outdated print materials were sent to prospects who ended up not purchasing due to outdated information. It has been estimated that up to 25% of print materials are either thrown away because they're outdated or are used even though they could damage a company's brand image.
One estimate of the expenses saved by using a specialist design and print house is 23% in hard-dollar costs. So, a 23% saving on 3% - 5% of total operating expenses works out to between 0.69% and 1.15% of annual operating costs. We'll round it up to1%. That 1% goes straight to the bottom line. When you add in the potential increase in new business (with prospects getting the latest marketing materials), most companies will see a noticeable improvement in profits.
The Advantages of Working With A Specialized Printing Service
Some things will always and should always be printed in-house (invoices, monthly statements, payroll stubs). Also, some small print runs can also be handled in-house without any adverse results. Other things that have a direct impact on sales, marketing, and brand integrity, plus large print runs should be looked at from a cost-reducing point of view and a revenue-increasing point of view. Working with a specialist print house will:
- Reduce operating costs
- Free up employees to focus on their primary activities
- Reduce or eliminate buying, leasing, and maintaining the latest high-quality equipment
- Minimize over-run and print-quality failure wastage
- Provide expertise in design, color, font choice, and layout to maximize visual impact and response
- Support brand integrity
When employees spend their time productively by doing what they're good at, revenues increase. Simultaneously, when specialists leverage their expertise to help businesses, overall costs go down and revenues go up. If you'd like to figure out the ROI of outsourcing your printing needs and learn more about how we can help you increase your revenue takings, contact us.
(Source for stats quoted: The Case for Outsourced Print Management by Hubspot).
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