Rising Costs Spur Diverse Reactions from Print Suppliers
With increased fuel prices and the current nature of the U.S. economy, both print buyers and suppliers alike are experiencing ramifications. In September, Print Buyers Online.com asked our major print buyer members, "By what percentage has the prices of your print projects increased in 2008 (due to paper, energy, transportation or other costs)?" Cost increases of over 7% were reported by 35% of the print buyers who responded.
Because of this, print buyers are doing their best to stretch their budgets in an attempt to make them go further. As one shared, "We are looking at ways to offset any price increases whether it be by design, quantities or delaying shipments from vendors for a couple of days to benefit from full truck loads, etc."
Hal Garstein, Director of Manufacturing and Distribution at The Deal, LLC, is obtaining his organization's greatest savings through more careful strategizing, such as using versioning and variable data. "We've fine-tuned our print order quantities," he said. "We've also become more adept at matching jobs with vendor capabilities. The more your printer can do inhouse or, better yet, in-line, the greater cost-per-unit savings we can realize. Soliciting multiple bids from vendors with similar capabilities is our most effective means of keeping costs down without sacrificing quality."
So what are print suppliers doing to insulate themselves from rising costs? When our print supplier members were asked how they were reacting to the rise in energy and fuel costs, 77% stated they were rolling these costs into the total price of the job. The other 23% said they were not raising their prices. (It is interesting to note that 0% said they were adding a separate surcharge onto their price quotes.)
Daryl Hylla, Palmer Printing, was one of the companies not raising their prices. "Currently, we have not increased the cost of energy to the clients," she said. "And we typically will hold until all is settled down in the market. We continue to focus on technology and methodology changes to soften the impact and/or minimize it. With that said, we continue to monitor all costs and how they impact our clients while balancing the needs of the company."
Sales Manager Doug Andreassen has a different take on how he is dealing with the current state of the economy. "We are experiencing not only energy costs but paper costs that are escalating at an unprecedented rate," he said. "Thus, we have to raise our prices by 10% in many instances. With the current economic issues that are facing our industry, these price increases will force all of us to re-work our business plans."
We'd like to hear your take on this in the Comment section below -- With both print buyers and their suppliers struggling to make it in this chaotic climate, what are you doing to meet your clients halfway?