Bindery Management — Flourishing At Finishing
There's a famous saying to the effect of, "Keep your friends close, and your enemies closer." Whichever category trade binders think printers fall into, knowing how they think can only help.
Color Ink, in Sussex, WI could be the worse-case scenario for trade binders. Bolstered by its more than $20 million in annual sales and large customer base, the full-service printer has expanded its postpress capabilities to include specialty processes along with the standards, like folding, cutting and saddle binding. The in-house department also can handle mechanical binding (Wire-O, coil, comb) and has padding and shrink-wrapping machines.
There's nothing particularly special about the printer's strategy in the binding and finishing area, reveals Bryan Dion, company president. "Doing more in-house enables printers to cut down on turnaround times, provide quality assurance and maximize efficiencies, which makes them more competitive," he explains. "Postpress is a key ingredient in our full-service solution. When we're sitting across from a print buyer, being able to offer all these capabilities under one roof is a major selling point for us.
"Even at our size, though, there is still the issue that you can't be everything to everybody," Dion continues. "There are certain services we want to contract out, not only because the capabilities are cost prohibitive to bring in-house, but also because we lack the required expertise."
The cost/benefits analysis starts with looking at the amount the printer is spending on outsourcing a service versus the cost of the equipment, Dion says. "Then we consider whether we are coming close to not meeting our customers' turnaround demands because of work being in somebody else's queue that we don't control. A related issue is any limitations in the resources available in our area."
Turnaround times and limited outside resources were key factors in Color Ink's decision to add mechanical binding, he notes. "There really is only one other big player in our area that does coil binding. In our turnaround environment and given the amount of outsourcing of mechanical binding we were doing, it just made sense for us to purchase the equipment so we could better service our customers."