Cheap Business Printing Alternatives
Achieving high quality business printing at a low cost
Companies can spend thousands to millions of pounds sterling on printed materials. The goal of this paper is to demonstrate that by analyzing and separating the different purposes of a company’s printed materials, companies can significantly save time and money on their printing materials by exploiting new online and printing technologies.
Offset, Digital and Office Printing
When choosing a printing strategy it is important to know what type of printer to use:Offset printing is an older process which prints using metal plates to transfer the image on to the paper. Printing with this method means that the individual elements in the print material cannot be changed unless a new metal plate is generated. This process is cost effective when used for printing large quantities. Digital printing is a newer printing method which reproduces images onto the page. This print method supports variable printing in which any element in the print material may be changed without influencing the fixed costs. This process is cost effective when used for smaller quantities (approximately 10-500 pcs).Office Printing is a relatively new method of printing. With the advent of colour printers as a staple in nearly every office, printing materials at the office is a convenient advantage. The disadvantage however, is that paper and ink for printing in larger quantities can become quite expensive. In addition to the cost, not all office printers offer the professional quality desired for materials such as brochures and data sheets. knowing which printer is appropriate for the quantity and quality of the materials needed, will aid companies to make the right choice and save on printing costs.
Cheap Business Printing Strategies
The first step to cheap business printing is breaking down the function of your printed materials.
Most printed materials serve a triple function: Presenting a good professional impression to relevant parties such as, investors, clients and suppliers Increasing brand awareness by leaving relevant parties with a visual reminder of a company and product/service. Communicating information about a company’s services or products to the relevant parties. Data sheets and company profile brochures are necessary for a company’s image. These print materials also communicate information to clients about the company’s products and services. This white paper provides tips for saving money and time on planning, designing, and printing of office and promotional materials, by analyzing and separating their functions.
Datasheet and brochure printing – Strategy to save on printing costs. Data sheets serve as a communication tool to help customers and suppliers understand a company’s product. Many companies print a minimum of 1000 copies of each data sheet on an offset printer in order to gain a low cost per sheet. With the advent of digital printers, it’s possible to print smaller quantities but as the quantity increases the cost per data sheet is static while printing on an offset printer generates a decreasing cost per data sheet as print volume increase. Once the specifications of a product changes, the data sheet is outdated and must be updated. The outdated data sheets are frequently discarded.
A graphic designer will need to prepare the layout and graphics for the original data sheet template. This cost may range from approximately £300-£700. Once the template is constructed, each additional alteration cost may range from £70-£200 and then another £70-£150 for several design changes. Since the main purpose of a data sheet is to convey information and reinforce the company’s image, printing the data sheets and brochures on an office printer will fulfill the function of communicating information but it does not fulfill the purpose of reinforcing the company’s image. This issue may be resolved by printing high quality presentation folders on an offset or digital printer. This will present the clients with a first impression that reinforces the company’s image in an organized and professional fashion.
Presentation strategy – Save with folders. Presentation folders provide the perfect solution for ensuring that data sheets and brochures are presented in a professional and attractive fashion. Folders are a very useful and versatile presentation tool. Inserting a data sheet and other informative materials, into a well designed and branded folder will leave a professional impression on those receiving the information.
Although folders tend to be expensive, ordering folders in large quantities will not be a waste. They may always be used to present a wide variety of communication materials. Purchasing folders from an online printing company that offers free design templates, or a do-it-yourself design and image upload application, will reduce the cost to about £0.46 per piece.
With a folder, the data sheet’s only purpose will be conveying information and the folder will provide the professional impression needed to impress clients and colleagues. In this case, a data sheet with a simple letterhead or logo will be effective. By keeping the design simple, the template can be kept on file and the data sheet may be updated as needed. This will prevent expensive reprints at a printer. On the internet it is easy to find existing brochure and data sheet templates that may be downloaded for Microsoft Word.
This strategy is applicable to printing a company profile brochure as well. Today many companies print brochures in large quantities at an offset printer. However, many companies are changing their management, business focus, or other company related details due to market changes and such. It would save time and money to print these brochures at the office as well. However, this strategy is only effective for companies printing small quantities at a time.
The typical or offline printing process. This method of printing requires that the company pay two separate subcontractors, a graphic designer and a printing company. In addition the employee will also have to spend work time with the graphic artist.
Working with a graphic designer requires: Explaining the concept and graphic requirements, Discussing layout, design and colours, Revising and adjusting drafts.
Once the design is ready it is time to contact the printer. The online printing process. Working with an online printing company for small or large quantities can save a significant amount of time and money. This method provides companies with professional printed materials that fulfill all three functions as outlined above – presentation, brand awareness and information communication. There is no need for folders because the printing is high quality.
Why are online printers a cheaper solution? Since they are online, they may be located in low rent areas. Many are bigger than traditional printers and can reduce their costs due to economies of scale. Free design templates make it possible to work without a graphic designer. They eliminate the time that an employee spends working with a graphic designer. Reduce the time-to-market, since there is no wait time with respect to design approval and revisions.
It is important to choose your online printer carefully some offer benefits such as: Free image uploads. This allows employees to easily upload existing company logos. Free design templates. Free “design upload” option. This way a company with an in-house graphic designer or a previous design may upload for printing. Graphic designers who are always available for adjustments, or for creating custom designs. Free online storage of designs for convenient reprinting.
Comparison chart – Printing prices
This price comparison chart compares the printing and production costs for the typical printing method to the cost saving printing strategies described above. The chart compares: Typical/offline printing strategy.
Eight data sheets and one company profile brochure, Set is printed four times over the course of two years, 250 units of each item are printed each time for a total of 1000 units each, This is the most expensive method for printing business materials.
Online printing strategy- Eight data sheets and one company profile brochure, Set is printed four times over the course of two years, 250 units of each item are printed each time for a total of 1000 units each.
This strategy offers the cheapest printing solution for most companies. Office printing strategy – Small quantities each time, Eight data sheets, one company profile sheet and one folder, 1000 folders are printed only once, Eight data sheets and company profile sheet are printed 25 times – 10 units each time for a total of 250 units each. Even though less brochures and data sheets are printed (250 instead of 1000), this method still costs more than the online printing strategy. However, the advantage of this strategy is that the data sheets are more up-to-date because they are printed more frequently in smaller quantities. Office printing strategy – Large quantities each time, Eight data sheets, one company profile sheet and one folder, Set is printed four times over the course of two years, 250 units of each item are printed each time for a total of 1000 units each, This strategy proves to be more expensive than even the typical/offline method.
Printing small quantities at the office provides a strategy which allows materials to be more up-to-date because they are printed in smaller quantities and more frequently. When compared to the typical/offline strategy this method provides a saving of 47%, however the printing quality is low and in the end, printing 250 sets at the office costs more than printing 1000 sets at an online printer.
Online printing solutions offer businesses an effective and efficient strategy for producing small or large quantities of printing materials. In comparison to the typical/offline printing costs (as per the example in this white paper) the online printer offers businesses a total saving of 68%. Thus the online printer offers the cheapest business printing solution.