Do you do everything in-house?
It is tempting to feel that we can do everything that we need to ourselves. However, this is often not the best use of our time. Most companies outsource at least some of the tasks that need to be done on a regular basis.
For instance, you are unlikely to be asking a member of staff to carry out the cleaning or the building maintenance. IT support is also usually carried out by someone outside the company. Equally, there are some specialist tasks, such as end of year accounts, which are best left to the experts.
At what point is an activity best left in-house? Many companies offering print fulfilment services are often keen to carry out all the core tasks themselves. For example, many companies prefer to buy more finishing equipment than outsource this part of the work. Equally, mailing fulfilment is usually regarded as a core activity. However, it is time to challenge the idea that activities such as these should always be carried out in-house.
Printing companies should consider outsourcing more
Those organisations that use specialist partners often achieve better results. They leave complex tasks that are not their core activities to specialists. This gives them more time to actually focus on creating the right relationships and partnerships with their customers.
Printing companies that continue to do everything in house will spend more time on the manufacturing and fulfilment process. They will not spend as much time on client relationships. That can be bad for business.
Here are three key advantages to outsourcing:
1. Outsourcing reduces costs
Specialist companies are often able to carry out tasks a lot more cost effectively. There are three main reasons for this.
Firstly, they spend more on these areas. For instance, someone who is providing large-scale direct mail services or mailing fulfilment purchases a lot of post. They are able to use this volume to drive more competitive pricing. A smaller printing company will struggle to achieve the same postal rates.
Secondly, a specialist company is likely to have invested in more efficient machinery and workflow. Services such as brochure fulfilment and catalogue fulfilment are carried out much more cost effectively if you have the latest high-speed mailing lines. However, many printing companies do not have enough volume of work in these areas to justify investing in this sort of machinery. Equally, specialist companies will have invested in the mail sortation software that allows the use of the most cost effective multi-provider postal solutions.
The final element of reducing costs is based around the knowledge of specialist companies. Let’s move onto this next.
2. Outsourcing increases expertise
Today’s print and fulfilment customers are demanding more and more complex solutions. With the best will in the world, few companies have in-depth knowledge of all areas that these jobs require. Not everyone can understand all the manufacturing issues that, for instance, specialist varnishes can cause. Equally, it is hard for a general printing company to have an in-depth understanding of all potential postal and courier solutions.
This lack of knowledge causes two issues. Firstly, companies can waste a lot of time trying to work out the right solution for their customer. Equally, they can waste a lot of time trying to work out how to manage the solution once it has been found.
Just as importantly, these companies may be missing out on the opportunity to offer clients the right solution. This lack of knowledge can mean that a company simply isn’t aware of opportunities that may help them and their customers.
Specialist companies have this knowledge. They are able to find the right solutions and opportunities quickly. In addition, they will always be focused on trying to move the boundaries.
3. Outsourcing leads to innovation
Specialist companies survive and thrive by being market leaders in their chosen niche. That means that they are always researching how to improve what they offer. For a mailing solutions provider, it is important to keep offering new ways of print distribution and alternative print fulfilment services.
Specialist companies are more likely to invest in offering new services before a printing company is able to justify a similar investment. In addition, they will be encouraging people to use these new services. A printing company is more likely to become aware of new opportunities through an outsourcing partner. The outsourcing partner is helping the printing company to build its business by helping them create new opportunities for their customers.
So how does this work in practice?
Here’s an example of how outsourcing mailing fulfilment services can help a company
Imagine offering a wide range of printing and fulfilment services to your clients. You may be well placed to carry out much of the fulfilment yourself. However, it may be far better to outsource certain large or complex jobs.
An outsourced provider such as Mail Workshop is able to fulfil these projects more quickly than most printing companies. Fulfilling a large single project can suddenly bring a company to grinding halt. The finishing department can be fully occupied trying to manage the organisation and packing of this one project. Naturally, that has a knock-on effect on all the other projects going through the factory at the time. So it makes sense to outsource this to a fulfilment partner that has the capacity to manage large, complicated jobs swiftly and efficiently.
In addition, an outsourced provider can often reduce the pricing of courier print services for these projects. They will be placing more volume than most printing companies and will benefit from this. A good outsourced provider will regularly review the service to ensure that the best solution for the end customer is being offered and that the price remains competitive. That means that the printing company has the best possible opportunity to reduce costs and maximise profit margins.
How can you achieve similar results?
Here are three action points to help you put outsourcing into action:
1) Review your major areas of spend. Are there areas of high spend which might be better suited to being outsourced?
2) Review opportunities. Do you feel that there are areas where you could offer better solutions to your clients if you had the help of a specialist partner?
3) Create a shortlist of potential partners. Naturally, if you are looking at postal or distribution partners, make sure you include Mail Workshop on your shortlist.
Sometimes it is tempting to feel that we will create better results if we do everything in-house. However, finding the right outsourcing partner often leads to a better outcome for everyone.
P.S. Find out more about how AlphaGraphics improved their fulfilment services by using Mail Workshop – read the case study right now.
About Mail Workshop