In the age of digital files and communication, printed materials still play a big role in the vast majority of businesses. Everything from posters to flyers to brochures is used extensively to help a business grow and compete within their industry. However, the cost of outsourcing printing has many businesses thinking twice about placing their next order. Is outsourcing these print jobs the way to go, or should businesses seek to bring their printing needs in-house with production printing equipment?
There are a number of considerations at play here for businesses to examine. Cost is the most obvious concern for any business, but there is much more to the equation than just dollars and cents. Both options carry their own pros and cons. The better a company understands them, the easier it will be to make the best possible choice for their unique needs.
Comparing the Costs
Every business from small mom-and-pop shops to multinational corporations must adhere to a budget. Money does not grow on trees and printing budgets are no exception to the rule. In the past, outsourcing printing has often been seen as the more budget-friendly option, but that is beginning to change in the minds of business owners facing higher printing costs.
Part of this increase in the cost of outsourcing printing is that print providers have increased costs themselves, and then these costs are passed on to customers. For examples, USPS has reported increasing their rates on shipping. This means that printing companies must adjust their own rates to reflect the new costs their budgets must absorb.
However, building a printing production facility from the ground up is also a costly investment. Businesses that do not have the capital to purchase or lease their own production printing equipment may find that outsourcing continues to be their best option.
Ultimately, in-house printing equipment is an investment that will pay off down the line. Companies that want to bring their printing needs in-house may face high upfront costs, but will see savings as they print more and more materials. Businesses that don’t have the capital for this investment or do not feel they will use the production printers to their full potential may benefit most from using an outsourced print provider.
What Materials Are Being Printed?
Businesses that decide to handle printing in-house must carefully examine what kind of materials will be printed and if the volume will justify having the equipment on-hand. Printing small posters or brochures may be feasible for businesses, but other items, like large banners or window decals, may require specialized equipment that will not be used frequently enough to justify the cost.
Sometimes, businesses may want to consider a combination of in-house and outsourced printing solutions. In-House production printing equipment can handle the basic, high volume jobs while outsourced printing equipment is perfect for more niche jobs.
Who Will Manage the Printing and Design?
Depending on the needs of the business and the size of the operation, in-house designers and managers that focus on the printing needs of the business may be necessary. One huge benefit of this arrangement is that the business has complete control over their materials and campaigns from beginning to end.
However, the obvious downside to choosing this route is the cost and effort that goes into hiring and maintaining this kind of staff. Consider a professional in-house graphic designer. According to Indeed, they could command a wage of nearly $20 per hour. When outsourced printing, the costs and logistics are managed by the print provider. Since they service multiple clients, the cost of staff is essentially spread out, which helps keep printing costs low.
The ultimate question to ask is whether or not a business wants to take on this kind of responsibility associated with in-house print production. High-volume printers with unique needs may feel the cost is justified, while lower volume businesses may not be willing to take on that kind of expense.
Who Has the Control of Timelines?
Bringing control of printing in-house versus using outsourced print providers can have numerous benefits and downsides. One important consideration is timelines. In-house print production means that the business is absolutely in control of the turnaround time needed for a project. This is one of the main advantages of in-house production compared to outsourcing. There are no other clients being serviced and, as a result, the job can be completed on schedule.
Of course, the risks of timelines and schedules can be mitigated by placing orders with outsourced print providers well in advance. What a business must ask is how valuable complete control and rapid turnaround is to them. Most outsourced providers deliver quality work quickly, but nothing can beat the scheduling benefits of printing services being brought in-house.
Outsourced and In-House Production Printing Equipment: Two Great Options
There is no right or wrong way to do printing. There are many advantages of in-house production while the cost of outsourcing printing simply cannot be beaten for businesses that do a lower volume of printing.
To learn more about the benefits of printing services and production printing equipment, and whether or not printing should be brought in-house or left to an outsourced print provider, contact RJ Young today.