No Pulp Fiction
The fact is, rising paper prices need not be budget-busters and quality-killers
JOHN MAGUIRE, director of marketing for Dallas-based Clampitt Paper, (www.clampitt. com), and Laura Shore, senior vice president of communications for Mohawk Paper, Cohose, New York, (www.mohawkpaper.com), acknowledged that higher prices for everything from natural gas to diesel fuel and raw materials costs, and the rate of migration from paper-based forms to digital formats are all impacting paper mill prices. "The shift to higher brightness paper was not handled as efficiently as the mills had promised, either," explained Maguire. "Inventory shortages and longer lead times have also had a significant impact on everyone. Indications suggest 2006 will continue to be a year of incremental increases in paper costs."
Still, focusing solely on paper costs fails to see the forest for the trees when it comes to finished projects, and both contributors urged consumers to place emphasis on selecting the right paper for the job, rather than concentrating on the raw price of paper. "For example, it's been documented that quality paper improves press performance in digital printing for savings that far outweigh higher nominal paper costs," Shore noted. "It's important to look at the total cost of a project rather than just isolating individual cost components."
As Maguire noted, "Quality design work on the appropriate paper, with a properly targeted campaign, yields a more dynamic finished product and superior return on investment for customers. We try to avoid the commoditization of the entire industry."
Shore went on to say that when performance is equal, she recommends reviewing properties such as stiffness, opacity and basis weight. "A higher opacity paper may allow you to go down in basis weight, which will save money," she continued. "To further control costs, larger shops may also want to review their ordering patterns. With today's high shipping costs, it's more economical to invest in higher inventory levels and avoid small repeat orders of frequently specified products."