Mailing & Fulfillment — Five Steps to Become an MSP
Here’s a five-step approach to becoming an MSP. While market conditions will determine the sequence in which you might add services, this would be an ideal order for you to approach the MSP goal.
1) Add Mailing Services. Mailing services are the easiest to add to the service mix, because mailing is viewed as an extension of bindery functions. If possible, it should be co-located in the bindery. The business model for mailing is similar to printing and can be managed with existing print software.
The equipment is no more sophisticated than current printing and bindery gear, and can be absorbed easily into production processes. The only additions to the organization will be some new software to prepare the mail and a person knowledgeable in U.S. Postal Service regulations and mail preparation. This person can be educated internally or recruited from the mailing industry.
There has been a reluctance by some printers to add this service because of the low revenue experienced from mailings—many times less than $1,000. However, by adding mailing services, the printer learns how to handle data with records and not graphic data. It starts the value chain/account control cycle. Furthermore, the addition of the next step will most certainly require the printer to add mailing services.
2) Add Variable Data Printing Equipment and Web-to-Print Services. These services are an extension of the commercial printing industry and, while the copies may be generated by utilizing toner rather than ink, it is still basic printing that fits within the basic framework of the company’s operating system.
The addition of a digital printer and software, which provide the capability to produce color variable printing combined with Web-to-print utilities, elevates the printer’s usefulness to marketing departments and allows the printer to provide support in one of the basic fulfillment applications: lead inquiry fulfillment. Some variable printing project sales are transactional, but many are programs that require the addition of sales personnel who are data savvy and consultative. You may need to add a specialist from outside the organization to assist in this sales cycle.