Danger Lurks Offshore for American Printers
That way, the American company remains as a technical consultant on printing projects and in good standing with the client. Bolte reveals he has encountered companies in the $20 million to $40 million range partnering with offshore printers to assist clients that would have otherwise been lost all together.
“Even medium-sized establishments really need to be thinking about this and what role they can play for their customers,” the industry consultant advises. “If printers ignore offshore printing, they are being written off as ostriches with their heads in the sand.”
Having a marketing mind-set and staying close to your largest clients will help aid in the partnership process, Bolte adds. Managing digital workflows, handling proofs and resolving production problems allows an American printer to prove it has a vested interest in its clients’ success. It also allows the printer to mark up the foreign contract enough to cover supervision costs and generate a profit, while the customer still realizes cost savings.
Naselli recommends changing the nature of clients’ use of print and embracing more value-added services to make customer relationships deeper and broader. Once that is accomplished, it’s not about the cost of print any more—it’s more about “best cost” in terms of the range of benefits of the printer-client relationship.
Relationships Pay Off
“If you are handling the direct mail services, fulfillment, design, data management and, yes, even printing for a client, it becomes very undesirable for that customer to leave or go elsewhere for their printing,” Naselli says. “In fact, print is then another project component; no longer a commodity to be sourced to the lowest bidder.”
Worzalla’s Nason stresses that printers must accept the fact that competing on price with some offshore printers simply isn’t possible for companies operating in the United States. He suggests focusing on service and quality—looking for customers who require something other than a rock-bottom price.