Before the Postal Storm Hits...What to Do Now
2. Don’t get hung up on the measured numbers of each sheet when comparing to others for brightness, opacity, and gloss. “The true comparison should always be with recently printed samples of each product,” Norman says. “Brightness numbers are often confused with shade. Gloss numbers will change after the ink and water hit the paper, and it takes an opacity difference of two points to be visible to the human eye.”
3. Don’t confuse per-hundred-weight pricing with total cost. “I would be leery of paper that does not contain a mill label on the wrapper,” Norman says. “Mill labels have ‘intelligence’ built into their roll numbers that allow material handlers and press operators to run rolls by deckle position that improves efficiency. They also ensure that the paper was made to spec and can be traced back to the original mill run.”
On the other hand, generically labeled paper can rarely be traced back to the mill of manufacture, it doesn’t typically have deckle position data, and can be off-spec to what the end user is expecting. As a final note, when per cwt pricing is the goal, the lowest pricing often, although not always, tends to gravitate back to the mills with the oldest equipment and the least quality of paper.
If you’re looking for per-hundred-weight pricing, which is often the cheapest, you’ll often find it at the mills with the oldest equipment and lowest-quality paper.
4. Don’t make assumptions about mill-grade number designations and groundwood content. Instead, Norman suggests that you look at recent printed samples and find the right paper for you.
5. Consider hi-bulking options, particularly in the lightweight coated #5 and uncoated offset grades. “A hi-bulking product will feel heavier (thicker) than other sheets with the same basis weight,” Norman says. “This allows you to print on a sheet that is lighter. That often gives you lower postal rates and more yield without you having to give up the ‘feel’ of a heavier weight product.”