Better Outside Than In
Outsourcing printed products is a popular trend among end-users.
Outsourcing has become a premium among distributors. Not only is it a major part of the distribution business, but for some resellers it represents all of their business. The reason is that end-users just don't have the time and money to handle the inventory, delivery and maintenance of printed products in-house. A justifiable conclusion, considering that most companies want to allocate a majority of their time to handling the business in which they specialize.
Distributors, on the other hand, do specialize in printed products.
"I think that end-users realize how consuming it is to handle something that is not the focus of their business," said Cliff Bregstone, president, CBI, Schaumberg, Ill. "It's just too difficult for them to do it cost effectively and correctly on their own."
Today, outsourcing represents more than 50 percent of CBI's volume—a significant jump from 10 years ago.
"We produce a lot of print-on-demand jobs for seminars," said Bregstone. "That involves matching the printed work with books and binders and sending them to where the courses are being held."
In addition, Bregstone reports processing about 3,000 change-of-status information requests per day for companies with 401K and health benefit programs.
"Most of our customers wouldn't ask us to do this work if they didn't feel it would cost them less to do it externally," said Bregstone.
According to Steve Hawes, president of Advent Print Resources, Seattle, "Outsourcing is the means by which we get products produced for the customer. We operate as a brokerage in that regard."
He explained that one of the obvious reasons for outsourcing is constantly changing technology. "No sooner is there a new piece of equipment that can do all sorts of great things, than it becomes obsolete. We are able to find the source that has the best technology for our end-users' demands."