Lend a Reliable Hand to Distributors
A look at what one document solution company has to offer distributors.
For nearly 40 years, NPC, a full-service document solutions provider based in Claysburg, Pa., has worked with arguably the largest distributor in the country—the Government Printing Office (GPO). In fact, according to an annual list published by the ABC Advisors, NPC is the second-largest printing supplier to the GPO. Seven years ago, NPC took this invaluable experience and began offering comprehensive services to distributors.
"NPC's core capabilities include mid- to long-runs of one- and two-color books and forms with up to four-color covers," said Gretchen Weaver, marketing and sales development coordinator. "We offer full bindery services, including—but not limited to—perfect-binding, paste-on-fold and saddle-stitching. We have an on-site warehouse and distribution center, as well as a full-service postal facility."
In addition to printing, bindery, fulfillment, warehousing and distribution, NPC offers a wide array of other solutions for distributors, including project management, information technology, conversion, composition, data processing and content management.
"We receive start-to-finish work that includes conversion and composition services from only a small group of distributor customers," noted Weaver. "Most distributors look to us for prepress, Web offset printing, bindery and distribution, which sometimes includes mailing services."
According to Weaver, NPC's most requested solutions are printing and bindery for books and forms. "These services are what NPC has the longest history of providing, and we are extremely efficient at it," explained Weaver. "We also offer our customers reliable service—something that distributors value. We involve our distributors throughout the print process. They are confident that NPC will complete the work correctly and on time."
NPC is so adamant about providing reliable service, it has made "reliable delivery of printed and digital document solutions" part of its slogan. On its Web site (www.npcweb.com), NPC discusses this concept in-depth:
"Reliable delivery goes beyond timing. It encompasses the entire spectrum of the relationship—from the first interaction to the receipt of finished goods or services and beyond… Delivery is the means of getting something from here to there—not only goods, but service and information, as well. Reliability means that NPC offers open communications and solid promises."
Out of all of its document solutions, conversion is currently the least in demand by distributors. Through the assistance of universal coding such as html and pdf creation, NPC can convert any format, including paper, tape, diskette or CD. "We would love to see this service be sold more often by distributors, but I think many are just beginning to add this to their offerings," said Weaver. "It requires different expertise than print, but offers the advantage of adding true value to a print project."
A private company of over 400 employees, NPC uses numerous outlets, such as advertising, trade shows and direct mail to promote the many distributor services it has to offer. "We get many new customers from referrals, though, which is great because it means someone was pleased enough with our work to tell someone else about us," said Weaver.
Over time, NPC has changed its approach when dealing with distributors. "We have gone from simply taking quotes from distributors to working with them proactively, helping them to increase sales and add value by suggesting alternatives and additions to projects," she said.
In fact, NPC has created a customer service department that is solely dedicated to servicing distributors. "Our services have improved by focusing on relationships," said Weaver.
By Jennifer Hans