Envelope Industry Hopes for Improved Marketplace
Envelope manufacturers place focus on service to improve customer and distributor experience.
According to Steve Brocker, vice president of sales and marketing at Western States Envelope and Label, Butler, Wis., the envelope industry is evolving from being product-focused to being more service-oriented. "We want to give customers the buying experience they want, as well as be an information resource for distributors," he said.
Consistent with the growing emphasis on service, Ron Pollock, associate marketing development manager at Wisco (a Quality Park brand), Tullahoma, Tenn., said that the company's delivery times have been shortened. "A number of our printed items are now available within 48 hours, and some custom items are available within six working days," he said. He added that the company's return and allowance rate is now less than 1 percent. "Our motto is simple—do the product right the first time, and ship it on time or sooner."
While manufacturers continue to focus on better service, they said that product quality remains just as vital. Brocker said that the overall quality of envelope products is better than 15 years ago. "Servo-motor and computer-controlled folding equipment not only run faster, but they also produce a better, more consistent product," he said.
He added that printing quality has also improved. "Flexographic print quality is much better now because of technological and plate material improvements," he said. "We have also seen an increase in requests for customized and value-added products using a wider variety of paper stocks and multiple windows."
Brocker said that Western States Envelope and Label manufactures three grades of machine-insertable announcement envelopes that are generally used in direct mail when end-users want an "invitation look." "The machine insertability of these envelopes saves the mailer money by eliminating the hand work usually required with envelopes that are used for announcements," he said.