Fulfillment Services -- Delivering Value-added
Courier's introduction to the world of fulfillment went relatively smooth, especially in comparison to the learning curves encountered on the more challenging press hardware. Conway points out that the financial commitment for fulfillment is considerably less than that required of a four-color press.
"It's not much at all. You're dealing with racks, storage, flow racks, cartons, a few mailing machines," he says. "You're talking tens of thousands of dollars as compared to a press, where many types run in the millions of dollars."
As for printers who hesitate to undertake an offering that does not speak to their core competencies, Conway advises to think of the client. "You know you have to add capabilities like fulfillment and other services to your business, because customers don't have as many people to handle it. If you can add services that will make it easier for clients to deal with one player rather than two, three or four different suppliers, then that's going to save the customer time and money. In the long run, it's a great return on investment and a way to win market share."
Keeping in Mind . . .
Printers offer their thoughts and advice for companies adding fulfillment for the first time:
Dan Plunkett, K/P Corp.: "A lot of companies have a tendency to think that the business can be treated as an offshoot of a printing company. You make a mistake if you enter this business without realizing that you're now part of the fulfillment industry. Although we began in the fulfillment business with the intent of filling our presses, we soon realized that it was a viable business in and of itself. This led us to becoming part of the fulfillment industry rather than just doing it ad hoc because our primary focus had been printing for so many years. This is very important for people to understand. It is a different industry and you have to be willing to be a part of it."