INSERTING EQUIPMENT — Inquiring into Inserts

BY CHRIS BAUER

Although it may not be as flashy as a star-filled TV commercial during the last episode of “Survivor” or halftime of the Super Bowl, many companies are finding refuge from high advertising costs in a weakened economy by going a more traditional and cost-effective route—newspaper inserts.

In a recent Wall Street Journal article, Livonia, MI-based Valassis Communications, a leading printer of coupons and newspaper inserts, reported it is reaping financial benefits from the slowing economy. As advertisers look for ways to lure customers into their stores with sales and other ways to save, Valassis is providing much of the printing of the coupons, free-standing inserts and other materials being used as bait. And with this additional print advertising push comes an increased demand in the bindery—namely an increase in the need for inserting equipment.

As with just about every facet of the printing industry these days, automation is a key feature printers are looking for when buying just about any type of new equipment. Inserting gear is no different.

According to Greg Norris, manager of marketing communications for Heidelberg Web Systems, inserting equipment with automated features, especially for the newspaper market, are vital.

“Newspapers are extremely interested in technology that can increase speed and quality, and reduce costs by eliminating unnecessary labor—as long as that technology is cost-effective,” Norris explains. He points out there are specific reasons for these specialized needs.

“The ability to selectively target inserts for specific readers and to extend advertising insert deadlines are two critical factors that can make newspapers a more attractive medium for advertisers,” Norris contends. “Therefore, packaging and distribution centers are demanding inserting technology that is faster, that can handle increased volumes and that can deliver more advanced targeted inserting capabilities.”

Versatility Is Key
Many newspapers are interested in versatility so they can handle Sunday packages with very high insert volumes, as well as daily editions where volumes are lower, but speed is more critical, Norris continues. He adds that the ability to select multiple delivery options is an important versatility feature for many of Heidelberg’s newspaper customers.

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