Value-Added Services — Banking on Binding

by chris bauer

With the economy stubbornly refusing to shift back to the economically favorable gear of a few years ago, commercial printers continue to search for ways to make a buck. One opportunity many printers have found is to provide more ancillary services, including expanded finishing options.

According to recent data from the Printing Industries of America (PIA) and the Graphic Arts Marketing Information Service (GAMIS), the current competitive business climate has forced many operations to diversify and adopt new products and services to remain profitable. As such, respondents to the PIA/GAMIS survey reported that nearly $1 out of every $7 earned by these printers is created in the bindery/finishing department.

These figures are no surprise to commercial printers offering full bindery services.

“Value-added services and all ancillary additions to a basic printing project can represent a positive profit center for commercial printers,” advises Lucia Panini, market research analyst and corporate public relations manager for Santa Clara, CA-based Citation Press. “However, cost consciousness on the part of end users also forces printers to curb their margins and to avoid hefty charges for additional services.”

What counts, she says, is value and how it’s communicated to and perceived by the customer.

“The bindery is, indeed, becoming a more significant profit center for commercial printers,” adds Tom Tran, Citation’s president and CEO. “This is true for those printers that look at costs plus a fixed markup (not time and material). Handling bindery work in-house means being able to control quality, turnaround times and direct costs. Not to mention being able to streamline production start-to-end, passing efficiencies and cost savings on to the customer.”

Dave Stump, president of New Washington, OH-based Herald Printing, agrees. “The bindery has always been a profit center for Herald,” Stump pronounces. “We have always had a full bindery operation. It’s always been a strong portion of what we are. I look at every department as being a value-added profit center.”

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