Special Report: Paper
When catalogers do seek better pricing on paper, they need to go to the bargaining table with a set of standards, says Richard Holben, paper sourcing manager at Allentown, Pa.-based business-diary/planner cataloger Day-Timers. “We’re always looking for different paper stocks that are available for substitution when needed,” he says. “That new stock of paper must meet the quality specification for each product, however.”
Tougher to Negotiate
Day-Timers works with vendors who've arranged competitive pricing, but Holben notes that price negotiation is becoming harder. “That challenge will be with us for the next three to five years,” he predicts. “It seems that the remaining paper companies will be in the driver’s seat, and we customers will be paying more if we purchase the same paper.” Day-Timers’ strategy is to buy as much standard paper as possible, avoiding specialty papers whenever it can.
Before committing to a full-blown change in paper quality, Wilson encourages catalogers to conduct test runs at the end of regular runs. This way they can determine how far they can go in downgrading paper quality while still achieving maximum returns.
Rather than changing anything, Wilson suggests adding it onto an existing run on the end “as long as the press doesn’t have to go through a major setup change. Then see how it performs.” The printer will know what can be done with various paper stocks to create the best possible printed image.
Some sacrifices have to be made in print image as lower quality paper stocks replace better and heavier paper, Wilson notes. “If those trade-offs don’t negatively affect the financial results for the catalog client, then everyone wins.”
Carolyn Heinze is a freelance writer/editor based in Vancouver, B.C., Canada. You can reach her at carolynheinze.blogspot.com.