No matter what the size of your organization, you likely have peak print requirements, typically around the end of the month and the end of the year.

Many organizations choose to outsource for these periods, especially for items like monthly pay slips, monthly magazines, and annual reports.

Unfortunately, you’re likely spending a lot more on those third-party print jobs than you ever would by paying for equipment to print in-house. This is especially true if you contract with a managed print services provider, and doubly so if you already have this kind of contract and aren’t sourcing that equipment from them.

Meeting peak print usage with managed print services offers dozens of advantages, which will help your organization improve processes, costs, and results.

Reduced Time Pressure

Outsourcing print jobs to a third party typically means having a complete and printable draft for that organization anywhere from 3-5 weeks in advance of when you need the print-job.

For an annual report, that means you typically have to push your completed draft to the organization somewhere in the middle of November at the latest. You won’t be able to include the final months of the year, and you’ll have to ensure everything is final based on what will likely be a single test-print run.

Working with a managed print services provider to ensure your graphic design department has the tools to print needed documents without asking an external print company. This will greatly increase the room to print, especially if print needs are spread out. This will also save you money, because you can immediately reduce the upfront number of prints as you can simply print more as-needed.

How does that work? If you’re outsourcing to a print company, they require a minimum number of copies to make it worth their time, they also likely charge fees related to simply running a job rather than simply cost-per-item. Ordering a second print run will be expensive, so your organization has to account for any possibly-needed prints in one go.

If you’re printing in-house, you can print the number of copies you need on release day (with some extras) and then print anything else literally on-demand.

Control Over Results

Moving anything to a third-party will result in minute changes to color, print-size, font-size, and margins. Unless you’re designing in their software, you’ll lose some control over the end-results, even with strict guidelines and pantone color codes.

Printing in-house means your graphic designers can control everything and can design for the capabilities of the printer you’re using. This will help with branding and continuity, because everything you put out will remain completely consistent.

Maintaining control is especially relevant if you frequently switch third-party printers, have already had to switch providers, or don’t have an ongoing contract with a single third-party print company. Nearly every organization has had some experience with sending something into print as the “final” print, only have to have brand colors come back in the wrong shade. “Insourcing” your print means this won’t ever happen.

Even more importantly, in-house printing means you’ll have the option to manage variable data printing, where you update print and documents to display different details. This allows for one-to-one marketing, recognizing specific sponsors or stakeholders or teams, and personalizing print material to individuals. It’s extremely costly to manage with third-party printers, but generally a simple update per file for in-house printing.

Decreased Costs and Overhead

While you’ll never be able to make up for the costs of purchasing a high-end continuous digital laser printer, chances are, you can meet most or all of your needs with an MFP designed for digital or glossy print. Your managed print services provider can offer that for a small monthly fee. At the same time, you’ll reduce a considerable quantity of overhead.

Let’s take a quick look at some of the average overhead involved in an outsource annual report print job:

  • Sourcing and researching a print company
  • Researching and communicating print standards to the organization
  • Maintaining communications (someone has to be assigned to communication, alternative parties have to be assigned should they not be available, meetings (possibly in-house at the print-service) have to be paid for, etc.
  • Data has to be transferred to the print company, which can be costly, especially if the print materials contain sensitive data
  • Costs of test prints and sending data and files back and forth for review
  • Costs of shipping or physical pickup

In most cases, this works out to an annual report costing anywhere from $2,000-$20,000 + in billed fees, without counting your own extra man-hours, project management to incorporate a third-party, shipping, or extra work.

You’ll also want to look at what you pay for extras such as glossy print, specific weights of paper, or anything other than “basic” prints. If you run the print job yourself, these supplies will cost a minimally larger amount. If you do so with a third-party printer, it can as much as double the price.

Cost-savings also apply to in-house work, because in-house printing means you can integrate workflows and therefore collaboration directly into the print-job.

Rather than printing and sharing files, having individuals edit files after moving them to different tools, or otherwise editing and collaborating through roundabout routes, you can integrate workflows so individuals can make changes in the same application, with direct access and documentation as changes are needed.

This will greatly improve the speed and quality of collaboration, especially on documentation and approval-heavy files like annual reports.

At the end of the day, it’s crucial to ensure that making the switch to in-house printing will be cost-effective for you. If you already work with a managed print services provider, ask for a consultation on the total yearly costs of maintaining this type of service, determine if your provider offers temporary solutions to meet specific demands (such as annual reports-printing), and compare the costs with the total cost of outsourcing to a third party.

If you see a gain or similar costs, you’ll likely save through other benefits. Even though you only have to meet peak print usage a few times a year, chances are, you can save by bringing it in-house, providing you source the technology in the right way.