Outsourcing your company’s printing needs is often a wise move, particularly if your business lacks the necessary resources to take care of them internally. However, you’ll likely reach a point where in-house printing could prove even more beneficial.
Here are some compelling reasons why many business owners decide to handle printing needs internally rather than relying on another party.
1. Increased Waste Reduction
Most print shops require customers to place minimum orders. As those clients buy more, the prices they pay typically go down. That’s a positive thing in one respect, but it can also mean that business owners purchase more than needed.
Lauren Hanna, director of sales at office technology provider Blue Technologies, explains, “Companies that outsource their production printing might have to order 10,000 copies of a catalog, for example. But, if a part or product changes, that catalog is no longer up to date. When they outsource, they have to use all of that collateral until it’s gone and they can change the messaging, or they throw it away.”
Having an in-house printing setup facilitates producing exactly what the business needs at any given time, with no excess. It also enables printing a small test run and getting feedback from the marketing department or other groups, then adjusting aspects of future batches if necessary.
The overall waste inevitably goes up if a business owner orders a large printing batch from a third-party provider and realizes they’d prefer something done differently only after receiving the results. Such instances are often not because of a printing error but due to personal preferences. In-house printing gives more oversight, which cuts down on unwanted or unnecessary materials.
2. Tighter Security
Maybe your business operates in a tightly regulated industry or one that requires regular handling of confidential printed material. In such cases, fulfilling print jobs at your company instead of externally gives more control over security measures.
For example, the busy nature of most print shops means there are probably more people who could see your documents and view confidential information, even if unintentionally. Also, because print shops deal with large document volumes for so many customers, there’s a chance that your order could go home with the wrong person.
Fortunately, you can take several in-house measures to boost the protection of print jobs requiring stringent security. They include:
- Equipping the printer with an ID card reader or PIN pad so that confidential jobs only print with an authorized person present.
- Encrypting print jobs on the device and in transit to prevent unauthorized parties from gaining access and easily reading them.
- Using specialized printing software to support security by activating features that disallow document access from unapproved parties and require people to enter passwords before starting print jobs.
- Managing and overseeing print jobs from a centralized, secure portal, making it easier to verify that only the expected employees print confidential documents.
3. Reduced Costs
Tackling print jobs at your business can also have a positive effect on your budget. For example, asking an outside provider to fulfill a rush order almost certainly results in more costs. However, if getting the order done means using equipment that your company owns and has readily available, there are no such extra expenses.
Additionally, the costs can result in expenses associated with clients you serve. Maybe you’re a designer that offers money-back guarantees of work completed within a particular timeframe. Print shops often have turnaround times of several days, which may mean you can’t get the printed materials in hand as fast as you promised customers.
Perhaps you know that your company often makes last-minute changes to print jobs that get sent elsewhere. In such cases, a representative from your printing company may say that making them requires paying an extra fee. Having an in-house printer minimizes these additional expenses and may even eliminate them.
4. Better Quality Control
You may experience occasional disappointment in quality levels, even when working with a generally reliable printing company. The benefit to printing in-house is that you can immediately tell if printed materials have strange streaks, smudges or other unwanted characteristics.
Plus, it’s easier than you may think to fix common printer problems. Start by figuring out whether an issue stems from the device itself or the cartridge. A buildup of paper dust or a clogged printhead could cause unexpected device behavior, including suboptimal results. Plus, many printers have error codes to alert users to issues such as misaligned or damaged cartridges.
Engaging in proactive measures can also help you get beautiful printed materials with every attempt. Color calibration is the process that makes a color printer demonstrate repeatable performance. Get started by printing 25-50 sheets of paper to warm up the device. Calibration only takes approximately five minutes in most cases, and it’s something you can carry out again when print color quality begins showing inconsistencies.
Doing relatively simple things like keeping your printer well-maintained and properly calibrated will go a long way in ensuring it always gives the high quality you expect. Improved control over the results could also support your business, especially if your printed materials end up in clients’ hands.
5. Improved Flexibility
Print still has a prominent place in today’s highly digitized world. A survey revealed that 7 in 10 Americans use both print and digital resources in all aspects of their lives. That suggests it’s worthwhile to use both methods to connect with your target audience.
Maybe you want to print a premade logo announcing a special sale or create a tag that describes a new type of muffin sold in your bakery and alerts customers to potential allergens. Having an on-site printer lets you quickly address those matters without submitting a print order to an external provider. Having a printer at your business also allows you to target unexpected needs that arise while doing business.
Perhaps you own a bookshop and have had an increased number of people looking for a certain title after the author appeared on a national TV show. You could use your printer to create window signage to capture the attention of passersby. Relatedly, printing a batch of coupons to give people a percentage off of other books when they buy the in-demand title could increase overall sales.
In-house printing equipment also lets you make smaller but still important changes. It might become apparent that customers respond best to a particular font or paper color. After learning those things, it’s easy to rely on your on-site printer to make the necessary changes for maximum effect.
In-House Printing Is Often a Wise Investment
Due to the reasons described here and others, many business owners prefer in-house printing to outsourcing. If you’re thinking about making a similar switch, take the time to collect data about how many items you print per month and how much those jobs cost. After looking at that information, you may find that it makes good business sense to purchase a printer and that it’ll more than pay for itself over time.
Eleanor is the editor-in-chief at Designerly Magazine. She was the director at a marketing agency prior to becoming a freelance web designer. Eleanor lives in Philly with her husband and dog, Bear.