More Than 'Ink on Paper'
Zuccarini describes R.R. Donnelley's role in the procurement process as "paper management." He explains, "The least amount of paper a cataloger can have on hand the better. This is called just-in-time inventory management."
There are advantages to doing it yourself, Minix notes. "You may see a slightly lower price than what your printer will quote. And a good broker can help you take advantage of falling paper prices by passing on the lower price before delivery." Also, if you work through a broker or buy your own paper, you can stock up when paper prices are low. But if your printer does the buying, it reaps those savings and may not pass them along to you, says Minix.
The problem with doing it yourself, Minix continues, is that when you get involved with supply components, you run the risk of mishap in the transaction. "This is the No. 1 reason I recommend not buying the paper separately," he says.
Other potential problems include: the wrong paper getting delivered, late delivery, wrong quantity or bad quality. And if the press has to be taken down because of a paper problem, the onus is on you to fix it, and you could rack up charges for down press time.
Many printers also provide postal and mailing services. Letting your printer handle mailing issues can give you access to postal discounts you may not have qualified for on your own.
Banta provides all necessary postal documentation, BMC sequencing and mail sortation. Its D.I.R.E.C.T. business offers computerized mail-pool distribution, allowing smaller mailers' runs to be joined with large runs to achieve the same postal discounts. R.R. Donnelley also helps with postal work. Zuccarini says, "On the print logistics side, we're helping clients maximize efficiency through zone skipping."
When it comes to merge/purge for mailing, all printers don't have the same data and list capabilities, warns Susan McIntyre, president of catalog consultants McIntyre Direct. She recalls, "We worked with a printer who forced all the data processing through its in-house vendor. Its printing was great, but the DP department provided some of the worst service and made the most mistakes of any one we had ever dealt with."