Master Manufacturer: 7 Tips for Analyzing Printing Prices
3. With a variety of presses on the price schedule, you also face questions about when it’s cheaper to print, say, a 16 2-up using a double web 4x2, versus a single 16 on a single web. To solve problems like this, and also analyze the range of 6x2 versus 4x2 combinations for page increments like 24s and 40s, you need to locate the convergence between makeready and run prices. Find the difference between the two makereadies and the two run rates, then divide the makeready difference by the running difference. This is the quantity, in thousands, when the two press approaches would be equal. If your typical count is higher, then you want the lower run rate. If it’s lower, go with the lower makeready of the two. By the way, printing estimators sometimes don’t run this test and occasionally produce pro forma invoices with a more costly imposition selection.
4. The three calculations above are useful to perform with paper costs included. Do them once to analyze the press pricing concepts the printer is espousing, then add in paper to see the impact on your total costs.
5. Printers vary a great deal in how they price ink, for reasons that are too complex to discuss here. But you want to avoid either being seduced by cheap ink or miffed by apparently costly pigment. To see how the ink price really integrates with the printer’s overall offer, combine presswork and ink costs for a full signature on a per M basis. You may discover that highs and lows offset each other, and two printers may be closer than they appear.
6. Another combination that may shed some light on analyzing printing prices is fusing binding run rates with addressing rates. Unless your publication is either all newsstand or on co-mailing equipment, the binding line runs in lockstep with ink-jet or paper labeling. It’s not unusual to find very low mailing rates combined with high bindery costs, and vice versa. Printers themselves have a hard time tearing these costs apart to see where efficiency may lie, so addressing and binding prices are often extremely different from vendor to vendor. Before you decide which vendor is truly high or low, put the two rates together for a typical pocket count and see if the differences between vendors persist. Then you can negotiate either price component, but with a clear eye toward what a realistic total should be. (A note: Moving your subscriber copies to a co-mailing program is a lot more important than negotiating a good addressing price.)