Print Finishing Concepts

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Keeping Your Binding and Finishing In-House vs. Outsourcing

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The decision to keep work in-house versus outsourcing binding and finishing is a challenging one.   Here are a few things to think about.

  1. Think ahead when quoting projects. Keep in mind target margins and promised timelines. If you sense complexity or volumes that could be a problem in the future, give yourself room for options. Set a project fee that gives you the choice of keeping it in-house or sending it out. Either way, you should be able to preserve for the most part your target margins.
  2. Handling single or multiple finishing steps. Most in-house finishing departments can handle multi-step finishing, but it may require several different set ups and multiple passes to get an end product. What are the fully-loaded time and labor costs of multiple steps and passes compared to an outsourced binding and finishing specialist?
  3. Third-party perspective and advice can be valuable. Sometimes you can get too close to a project and tunnel vision sets in. Outside binding and finishing experts can help you engineer and design a project from the beginning that is better for a customer and more cost-effective to produce.

For larger and more complex projects take a minute to consider all your options. It can make all the difference in hitting your margin goals and meeting your scheduling deadlines.

How to Hire the Best Bindery and Print Finishing Partner for Your Project

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Putting your bindery and finishing projects in the hands of another company is a serious business decision. Here are three questions you should ask of any bindery before you hire them for your project.

  1. Do they have a partial customer list and references we can contact immediately?
    The social proof and credibility of other experienced printers willing to attest to the responsiveness, professionalism and quality of work should be a critical factor. Does the bindery have happy customers who trust them?
  2. What are the experience levels and tenure of customer service representatives, project managers and team leaders?
    Companies that treat and train their people well will do a better job. A company should be able to point to long-term and highly experienced employees that know printing, print finishing and binding processes.
  3. What professional associations are they involved with?
    Companies that are involved with their trade associations are investing in education, knowledge and best-practice sharing. Look for active members of printing and bindery association chapters at the local and national level.

Finally, look for culture fit. Nice, smart and successful partners are always more fun and productive to work with!