More Than 'Ink on Paper'
By Alicia Orr Suman
Getting a catalog produced used to require a complex network of vendors and service suppliers and a dedicated staff person with a detailed schedule to coordinate them all.
Today, many large catalog printers say they can take that burden off your hands. They now offer a variety of non-printing services—from digital photography and prepress to list selection and mailing. Some even will handle fulfillment for you.
You may pay slightly more for some of the specialized services, but it may be worth a few extra dollars for the convenience that one-stop shopping provides. Perhaps a more important aspect to look at is expertise: Determine if your printer can provide the same level of service and experience in non-printing services as it does in printing your catalog. Only then can you decide if it makes sense to buy through your printer.
What Are Your Options?
Quad Graphics is one of several large catalog printers that has expanded its service offerings over the past decade. "We've become a communications company, not just an ink on paper company," says Scott Stadler, manager in catalog sales. Quad now offers prepress, digital photography, list services, postal and parcel transportation, in addition to traditional printing.
Stadler recalls that when the company began to expand its service offerings several years ago it was in non-traditional web printing. "We began to notice a lot of blow-ins, bind-ins and complicated inserts being bound into the catalogs and publications we were printing," he says. "We decided, with the prompting of customers that, instead of waiting for those inserts to come from other printers, we should do them ourselves." The company installed sheetfed and web presses with in-line finishing capabilities to produce bind-ins, blow-ins and more complicated direct mail products to meet the demands of its customers.