Production: Think Bigger and Better
5. Negotiate. In our special cover report on operations and fulfillment (see pg. 14), Jeff Kline makes a strong case for negotiating better parcel shipping rates. Of course, all industries are feeling the strain of the economy, and your vendors need you now more than ever. Your survival is their survival. So contact your production partners as well, and demand assistance on terms, pricing and anything that can help you, whether you have a contract or not.
If you’ve developed true partners in the past, test the “thick and thin” of the relationship. Remind them of your loyalty. Don’t be afraid to find new resources. Within the last two months, we’ve recognized savings of up to 20 percent in paper and printing just through competitive negotiations.
6. Co-mailing. Catalog Success Strategy columnist Stephen R. Lett and others have touted this practice extensively for the past year-plus. It’s obviously nothing new, but co-mailing offers only get better as we head into the heart of the recession.
In the past, your options were to co-bind in-line (catalogs paired with similar-sized mailing partners, with participation limits due to bindery pockets) or to co-mail, which could generate larger mailing pools with greater savings.
Co-mailing did provide an additional offline manufacturing step. The latest hybrid co-mailing solutions, however, combine the two established technologies into one package by offering multiple trim formats in-line. Printers continue to offer catalogers more opportunities to reduce their postage costs from 3 cents to 5 cents per piece.
Dawn Flook is director of production for King of Prussia, Pa.-based Catalogs by Lorél. You can reach her at (610) 337-9133 or email@example.com.