Tag Archives: printing

Benefits of Outsourcing Literature Fulfillment

28 Jul

Literature Fulfillment, also known as Print Fulfillment, includes storing, gathering, packaging and distributing printed materials such as catalogs, membership packets, brochures, postcards, how-to manuals, and sales sheets. When done right, literature Literature Fulfillment Servicesfulfillment is a cost-effective way for businesses to reach out to new or existing customers. However, it is also time-consuming and tough to maintain, which is why it makes sense to outsource literature fulfillment to a fulfillment parter.

Using a fulfillment partner simplifies distributing promotional literature to your customers, and operational and support literature to your field reps, branch offices, franchise locations, and dealers. A fulfillment partner has all the resources and expertise needed to perform these tasks efficiently and economically.

Literature fulfillment programs are set up to distribute literature as part of a special, one-time project or as part of an ongoing service. Often, a company will use a custom e-store or web portal to simplify the literature ordering process.

Integration of Services

Literature fulfillment is more streamlined than most other types of outsourced fulfillment because a fulfillment partner can often produce all the printed pieces for you. This eliminates the need for you to have the materials produced in advance and shipped to the fulfillment partner. By eliminating several intermittent steps,  you save time, money and hassles.

Many extremely successful literature fulfillment programs include sending personalized printed pieces. Using a fulfillment provider with print-on-demand services expedites this option.

In addition, a fulfillment partner can provide folding and collating services, as well as the assembly and insertion of printed components needed to create binder sets and presentation folders. A fulfillment partner is also a distribution expert, and will match your project to the most efficient and cost-effective shipping or mailing method.

Saves Time

Preparing literature for distribution is a time-consuming task that takes employees away from working on your core business.

Outsourcing literature fulfillment lets you benefit from an outside company’s specialized facilities. Fulfillment centers are designed to allow for efficient processing, packaging, and distribution of materials and have a trained staff. This enables fulfillment providers to perform literature fulfillment faster than your employees would, and frees your workers to focus on their other tasks.​

Saves Space

Boxes of printed material are heavy and take up valuable space. By outsourcing your literature fulfillment, your materials are stored in the firm’s warehouse. This not only lets you eliminate present space concerns, but if you ever choose to expand your inventory, it’s simply a matter of leasing additional warehouse space.

Saves Money

It is easy to think that performing something in-house is less expensive than outsourcing the work, but that is not always the case. Fulfillment systems require a large upfront cost in software and space, and additional expenses come from employee time, plus liability and maintenance. By outsourcing literature fulfillment, you benefit from a company’s already existing infrastructure, software, and internal problem-solving methods.

By outsourcing your literature fulfillment operations, your company benefits from more affordable ways of getting materials to customers. Mediascope is an expert in both literature and product fulfillment and will save you money, time, and space.

 

Fulfillment Services . . .so much more than filling orders!

11 Mar

A common misconception in the business world is that fulfillment services consist of nothing more than filling orders. Let us take a look at why that isn’t true, and what a full-service fulfillment provider offers.

As you can see from the chart, fulfillment, when done correctly, has many components to it. While each of them could stand alone, integrating them together provides added value for both you and your customer.

  • Website/Shopping Cart CreationMS Fulfillment Pie
  • Order Management
  • Processing Payments
  • Custom Kitting
  • Inventory Management
  • Warehousing
  • Shipping and Logistics
  • Customer Service
  • Reporting
  • Procurement & Printing

Each of these pieces is important and we will talk more about them over the next few weeks. For now, however, let’s look at the overall picture. Why is it so important to have all of these components?

Imagine having a Thanksgiving dinner with only turkey. No potatoes, no cranberry, no stuffing, no vegetables. No dessert, even. A Thanksgiving dinner with only turkey is like a fulfillment center that does nothing but fill orders. The core element is present, but the rest of the experience is missing.

A full-service fulfillment center not only fills the order but makes sure inventory is available, pre-packages sets or kits to save you and your customers money, coordinates and negotiates shipping to get the best possible rates, answers customer inquiries, and much, much more. Using the Thanksgiving dinner analogy once again, rather than serving only turkey, a full-service fulfillment company provides a coordinated package designed to give your customers the very best possible experience.

Six Things to Look for in a Fulfillment Provider

24 Jan

When people think about order fulfillment, they usually think about pick, pack & ship. However, order fulfillment is about much more than the ability to pick items off a shelf and fill boxes. A good fulfillment house is a partner to you in many ways, including print, procurement, and kit building. Here are a few key points to consider when looking for a fulfillment partner.

  1. What is the accuracy rate of the prospective fulfillment company?
    Ask the prospect for their pick-error rate. While industry average is a 99% accuracy rate, many companies have a much lower rate (and many will have much higher). Pick errors are expensive in terms of time, shipping and product expenses, and–probably the most important of all–customer satisfaction. Make sure you choose a fulfillment company with a low pick-error rate.

    Quality Fulfillment

    Fulfillment is more than just pick, pack, and ship.

  2. Will the vendor do procurement if asked?
    Fulfillment partners who are willing and able to take of your procurement needs can help shorten turnaround times, reduce shipping costs, and save you valuable employee time.
  3. Can the fulfillment vendor save you money on printing costs?
    Printing at or near the fulfillment company means reduced shipping expenses. One thing to consider, too, is whether the vendor has internal digital print capabilities or outsources their printing. Costs will be lower if they print in-house.
  4. Does the vendor do enough shipping to offer savings on postage and freight?
    Fulfillment centers use overall volume to negotiate discounts with freight carriers. This allows them to spread shipping and handling costs across all their clients. Taking advantage of these discounts will help offset the costs of hiring a fulfillment center.
  5. Can they save you money by combining literature with premium items or products?
    Rather than using two separate fulfillment vendors for literature and product/premiums, consider finding a vendor who can handle all types of fulfillment. This will simplify ordering and save money. Often times, too, orders can be packaged and shipped together, reducing costs. And, you’ll also have better accountability with only one company managing your fulfillment operations.
  6. Does your vendor have an experienced team of people who will be working on your behalf?
    Quality fulfillment centers train their employees on products, processes and safety. This means you have a happier customer and lower costs due to efficiency, accuracy, and safety.

As you can see, having the right fulfillment partner can not only make things easier for you, but can save you time and money. Next time you are in the market for a different fulfillment services company, consider what else prospective fulfillment suppliers have to offer besides pricing, packing and shipping.

Don’t Go Against the Grain . . .

30 Sep

Paper grain direction plays a big role in every printing and binding job. Using the proper grain will ensure a quality job, not only in looks but in durability.

What is Grain?

Grain Direction

Grain Direction

A paper’s grain is the direction in which the majority of the fibers lie. The grain is determined during the manufacturing process and is referred to a couple of different ways. Grain short papers are those papers on which the grain runs parallel to the short edge of the sheet. Grain long refers to papers where the grain runs parallel to the longest edge.

How do I know which direction the grain runs?

Paper mills specify grain a couple of different ways. In addition to calling papers grain long or grain short, they may underscore the dimension number which runs parallel to the grain. For example, 12″ x 18″ specifies that the grain runs along the 18″ edge, or is grain long. Many mills list the grain direction last when listing dimensions but this may fluctuate from mill to mill.

If the paper isn’t marked and you need to determine grain, try folding a piece of paper twice, once with the fold parallel to the long edge and once with the fold parallel to the short edge. One fold will be a cleaner edge than the other. The cleaner edge is folded with the grain.

What grain should I use?

As a general rule of thumb, if bindery processes such as folding, perfect binding, or mechanical binding are part of the finishing work, always try to have the grain parallel to the folding or binding edge. Not only will you have a better looking final piece, but in the case of books, the finished product will be more durable. Never mix grain directions within a book as the different grain papers will actually work against each other.

If no finishing other than cutting is needed, most pieces benefit from printing on long grain stock. Long-grain stocks will give business cards, postcards, posters, letterhead and other similar items stability and make them resistant to drooping or buckling.

Economics also play a role in grain determination. The most efficient cut may not leave the sheet in the proper orientation for printing and/or binding. In this case, it is up to you to find a balance between design, printability, and price.