The Team Approach
“Ten days gives everyone time to handle any issue that develops along the way. Many times, the design team wants to make changes after they’ve seen the first proof. At 10 days, there’s still time to do that,” he says.
There’s no shortage of niche printers like McAdams Graphics (which specializes in blow-ins, bind-ins, cover wraps, envelopes and direct mail). Other companies include B&W Press (bind-in order forms, order-form envelopes, reply cards, self-mailers and brochures); Champion Printing (bind-in order forms, blow-ins and self mailers); and TRANSCO (flexible packaging and four-color poly wraps). Many already have long-term relationships with catalog printers and can manage the printing and delivery of ad materials on time with ease.
“The lead time varies dramatically depending on the type of program and the individual requirements,” explains Goldstein. “Most blow-in and bind-in programs can require a lead time from one to six weeks prior to printing the catalog.”
Dan Kimball, plant manager at B&W Press, Georgetown, MA, adds that today’s technologies, such as PDF file transfers and computer-to-plate production, have significantly shortened lead times. The result, he says, is that a company like B&W Press can produce 45 million pieces every week.
Building ample time in the schedule for printing and shipping inserts, tip-ins and wraps is essential for guaranteed success. Time is very much of the essence, Goldstein stresses: “The print job cannot, and will not, typically wait for an insert to arrive. If the mailer wants to be in a certain catalog, the deadline must be respected.”
“Size can make a difference in the sheet that’s required,” McAdams says. The minimum size of a reply card is 3-1/2˝ x 5˝, and the maximum is 4-1/4˝ x 6˝, says McAdams. Any card that’s larger than 4-1/4˝ x 6˝ must then be printed on nine-point stock, which can add as much as 30 percent or more to the cost of the job.