On the down side, Peters notes that certain foreign grades, particularly in the lighter weights, do not have very good opacity.
"Overall, we're very pleased with the quality of the foreign paper we've been purchasing. We get a brighter sheet and the opacity's good on it," Peters remarks. "The only possible drawback is the paper is not as stiff; it's a little limper. For us, in most cases, it's not an issue. I find it's a good value."
Rich Skinner purchases paper for Westland Printers, of Burtonsville, MD. Westland has used such foreign grades as Phoenix Imperial, Phoeno Star, Matrix and Garda.
The disappointments that have stemmed from using foreign grades have always been rectified, according to Skinner. "A few of the papers with which we had problems in the past have been redone, and they're better," he says.
Phoeno Star is one of Skinner's favorites. "Phoeno's been great," he says. "It's not as bulky as Vintage, because there's not as much fiber used in the paper. The people in our pressroom really like the sheet—it runs well."
There are a number of factors that can be used to determine whether any grade of paper, foreign or domestic, is worth purchasing. Logistical considerations come into question for foreign grades, but some feel quality is an issue as well.
Bruce Janis, president of MSPGA: Management Science for the Publishing and Graphic Arts, outlined a list of factors that are critical in deciding whether purchasing foreign paper is beneficial, including: deliverability, quality, the chance of stockout, payment terms, storage fees and delivery schedule.
"Quality and delivery are both issues," Janis remarks. "How much faith do you want to put in Korean or Russian paper at this point? The paper merchant is the one who should have [quality] under control."
Donnelley's Kullman warns that delivery security needs to be viewed by the purchaser. He feels that, under different market conditions, transactions could become cost-prohibitive.