paper supply

Paper Demand Creates A Need to Strategize

Paper and packaging manufacturing are feeling the squeeze as demand for printed goods continues to outpace the supply of paper. It’s a sign that industries are recovering from the pandemic, but what does it mean for consumers? Consolidated Press is ahead of the curve with a healthy supply of materials in stock, and we want to share just a few tips and tricks that will come in handy for our clients who purchase printed goods. Our goal is to help you save time, money and more than a few headaches in the future.  

Plan Ahead 

Preschedule the print jobs you know are on the horizon, particularly as we enter the crucial holiday catalog season. If you can provide your print service provider with estimates of the number of projects, materials needed, and page counts, they can, in turn, place supply orders now for paper goods to have in stock at a later date.  

What’s Happening 

There are critical shortages in the supply chain required for the manufacturing of paper. International imports of paper are at a lower volume than normal forcing domestic mills to try to pick up the slack. COVID-19 protocols and short-staffing are also causing slowdowns in production cycles and port operations across the globe. This perfect storm of circumstances leaves inventory low for many paper suppliers. It also means that paper prices are increasing.  

How We Can Help 

We constantly manage our customer expectations and make every effort to not disappoint anyone or delay work unnecessarily because of supply shortages.  

  • Work with your sales rep to identify projects well in advance 
  • Be creative about the size, shape, or type of paper you’re using for your printed piece to help with both supply and costs 
  • Consolidate projects into one print run to save time, money and paper 
  • Target or segment your audience for greater impact at a reduced volume 
  • Look at other printing options like roll-to-sheet versus sheetfed 

The road to economic recovery will have a few speed bumps along the way, but we’ll get through this together. Ultimately, the temporary supply shortages are a sign that more and more companies are investing in the future of commerce, and that’s a win for all of us. Know that we have your back and, when in doubt, pick up the phone to discuss your options for print success with Consolidated Press 

 

 

direct mail

Direct Mail is Worth a Thousand Words

According to a study of commercial printing trends, direct mail campaigns are on an upward swing. It’s expected that almost 72% of corporations will use direct mail, including catalogs, postcards, brochures, and books. Well-executed direct mail campaigns have a higher response rate than digital tactics, and direct mail reaches audiences that online campaigns don’t 

An outstanding metric to note is that companies of all ages – even new companies founded in the digital age – use direct mail. Companies 10 and 20 years old are leveraging direct mail at rates of 14.5% and 15.8%, respectively. Google, Amazon, Door Dash, and industry leaders in real estate, health care, leisure and travel are all using direct mail marketing to reach consumers.   

direct mail

Sending a postcard as a direct mail marketing piece is a quick and versatile way to get consumers’ attention. Using eye-catching graphics, an attention-grabbing headline, and quality card stock gives a postcard heft and authority. A brochure mailer has the advantage of giving consumers more information than a postcard, while still providing contact information and calls-to-action. Staying in front of your customers with relevant, targeted messages and offers can help keep your business front of mind.

One cost-effective method to reach customers is with self-mailers. A quick way to get your offers or branded materials into the mailstream is by creating a self-mailable piece or publication that can be inkjet addressed inline as it is printed—no inserting into envelopes or additional assembly work. The printed piece catches the eye as soon as it lands in the mailbox.  

More Direct Than Email 

  • Consumers like getting mail, and they especially seem to like postcards and catalogs.  
  • Because of their tangibility, direct mail pieces last longer than emails.  
  • Direct mail postcards are perfect for coupons. Putting a coupon on a postcard makes it easy to hold on to, and easy to use. 
  • Direct mail is also perfect for images. On a postcard, a powerful image paired with short, concise copy tells the receiver everything they need to know at a glance. With brochures and catalogs, companies have the opportunity to tell a longer story, and still emphasize image and copy elements. 
  • Response rates to digital interactive elements, also called digital calls to action, have doubled in the past four years. These callouts include social media channels, QR codes, and prompts to visit a website. 
  • Postcards and brochures are versatile. These types of direct mail come in a variety of sizes and card stocks, with specialty coatings and graphic elements that can make an immediate impact. 

Consolidated Press is your printing partner for direct mail. Contact us to talk about specialty printing, unique sizes and special mailing rates. 

 

Quality Assurance

International Standards for Print Quality Give Sensitive and High Profile Pieces the Attention They Deserve

Quality assurance provides peace of mind for our clients, especially those in critical industries like medical and pharmaceutical.

Consolidated Press offers Quality Assurance on each and every one of our projects. We pull pages from every run, and examine them for defects, splotches, wrinkles and more. Those pulled pages are set aside and stored for three months. Quality Assurance, or QA, focuses on sampling in process and final production to identify, isolate and report defects.

Quality Control, or QC, prevents defects in the first place. Using quality attribute based checklists, in process inspections are performed to identify and correct defects throughout the production process. QC is a proactive quality system element. Both the QA and QC elements of CP’s quality system are ISO 9001 based, with focus on actively developing and improving processes with a focus on eliminating defect root causes.

Consolidated Press has applied international standards of quality assurance to the printing industry to ensure our most sensitive clients and high profile pieces are consistently printed with the highest quality every time. This is how we do it:


CP
hired an experienced and highly qualified Quality Assurance Specialist. Our QA specialist, Heidi, has been in the print industry for 32 years. She knows the print process thoroughly, and is devoted to building and controlling processes to prevent mistakes and defects at every step.

SOPs STOP problems before they start. Standard Operating Procedures (SOPs) have been written for all departments within CP, from estimating to billing. As these documents are created or updated, affected employees are trained. The quality assurance specialist maintains training records and assures that all documents are readily available for employee access and use.

Documentation is king. Documents that are necessary to assure the quality and consistency of CP products and services are maintained electronically and stored on the CP network. Documents are assigned a control/revision number and entered into a document log maintained by Heidi. As documents are updated, the control/revision number is refreshed and affected employees are trained on the new/revised document.

Each individual job is assigned a quality process level. CP developed print grade guidelines to establish acceptance criteria for products printed by CP and for material provided by subcontractors. Print grade 1 guidelines are used for the medical and pharmaceutical industries, annual reports and high-end marketing collateral. Print grade 2 guidelines are used for direct mail pieces, magazines and directories.

Grade 1 jobs get extra attention. Print grade 1 jobs go through an additional quality step and are tagged to receive formal sampling by the quality assurance specialist. The pulls taken from each operator are examined, defects are identified, with inspection results recorded/charted. Charting the defects is used to identify trends and to pinpoint opportunities for improvement.

ISO based quality assurance is a rare find in the printing industry but customers find it here every day.

At Consolidated Press, we help the pieces fall into place.