Writing on the Wall in the 21st Century: Print Outsourcing as a Way to Minimize Costs
Even though many businesses have dedicated much of their internal communications to the digital world, print media still holds an important place in the smooth functioning and effectively executed tasks. It’s an acknowledged fact that digital media do cut down on wasteful memos, casual updates, and even advertising briefs. But print is here to stay and its value can be seen in the estimated doubling of the print industry’s holdings. It’s been forecasted by those in the know—the International Data Corporation (IDC)—that in the five years from 2011 to 2016, the international print services and procurement sector will grow from $6.6 billion to $13.2 billion. What might this mean for you and your business in the years to come?
Outsourcing is the New Delegation
Savvy managers know that delegation is a part of executing a successful business plan. Each team member has a strength, and using that strength—to create better product, analyze data, or foster new client connections—makes more sense than a single person taking responsibility for every task. No matter what your business is—manufacturing, data analysis, or sales—cost management is one of the major priorities for managers or business owners.
Keeping the printing in house for communications, advertising, and product drafts can be unexpectedly expensive. The reason many companies have not yet hired out their printing needs is that they suffer from the misapprehension of the cost. They are laboring under the concept that the Middleman—in this case, outside printers—will run up the cost of doing business by nickels and dimes. In fact, quite the opposite is true.
Rather than seeing the outsourcing of print needs as hiring a middleman, look at it from another angle. These printing companies are valued partners in business, and assets to be cultivated. When your fortunes soar, so, too, do theirs. Their continued success is contingent upon the success of the companies that rely upon them to produce top-notch product. And since printing is their primary focus as a business, they have time to hone their skills—which translates to hiring the best people in the field, using the most advanced software and machinery, and making good use of the latest knowledge in the field.
Specialization and Reinvestment
Much as with human social groups many thousands of years ago, specialization is the key to thriving. While generalist approaches were sufficient to keep a group—in this case a company—afloat, because everyone was trying to do everything well enough, no one did anything very well. Only when everyone focused on doing one or two things in the best way possible did entire groups begin to flourish. Within the modern business environment, managers should consider their company as an individual when seen from the outside. Making an outsourcing partnership with another individual—a printing company—is an alliance focused on success.
In house printing setups are riddled with hidden costs. Printers cost money to purchase, maintain, and supply. Then, there’s the environmental impact of using those printers with less than efficient methods employed by people who have other things on their plates. It’s estimated that even an average company with modest printing needs can save up to 30 percent on their printing budget simply by outsourcing to a specialist company. That’s nearly a third of the most scrupulously outlined in house printing budget.
Once an agreeable arrangement has been found, the money saved can then be invested elsewhere in the company—materials, training, product or new technology can be paid for without drawing on any other resources. Whatever their business, companies can focus their full attention upon refining their business plan because they aren’t devoting energy or resources to trying to keep up with the competition’s printed materials.
With the high degree of personalization in printing needs and the high level of refinement for printing software and machinery that is currently available, outsourcing simply makes more sense. When a business owner contracts with a company whose sole focus is to purchase the best machines and software, hire the most knowledgeable people, and produce the best material to order possible, they are investing in their own success. Outsourcing, like delegation, is about ensuring success and utilizing each member of a group in the way that allows everyone to thrive.