FULFILLMENT SERVICES -- Printers Getting Their Fill
Something as basic as packaging even can become an issue when handling products. Appropriate materials (such as boxes, bubble wrap, etc.) must be inventoried, which gets complicated if customers want to extend their brand identity to packaging.
For a significant portion of its business, Rochester, NY-based ColorCentric Corp. provides outsourced production of vanity books and rare/out-of-print titles for publishers. The intent is for buyers to feel as though they are dealing with just one company—the book publisher.
Integrating the shop's ordering system into a publisher's Website to maintain a brand identity is a simple proposition. Using branded packaging materials wouldn't be, so ColorCentric has taken a simpler approach to keep costs down and speed delivery, says John Lacagnina, president and CEO.
Generic materials are used to package the book, but the packing slip tucked inside and the label applied to the outside are custom-designed for individual clients, Lacagnina explains. "The books are produced on a digital color press, so these materials can be printed as part of the job," he notes.
Variations of this digital printing production model are sometimes referred to as "electronic fulfillment." Instead of manually picking and packing prepared materials, required elements are assembled electronically and then output as a set on-demand, ready for delivery. It is promoted as a more efficient alternative to literature fulfillment.
Since fulfillment tends to be a manual operation, labor management is one of the biggest business challenges, particularly since volumes can fluctuate seasonally or even within a month. That means relying on temporary labor.
Metzgers Printing & Mailing, of Holland, OH, has developed an interesting solution, which it calls the "Mom Squad," reveals Joe Metzger, president. Relying on personal recommendations, the company has recruited a dependable pool of stay-at-home mothers interested in part-time work.
Just one more example of how fulfilling needs is the name of the game.