The New Role of the Magazine Printer
Printers also have had to respond to the publisher's need for specialized marketing and distribution services. Because of the complex nature of list management, printers have discovered a new profit center in list management services (LMS). LMS price lists at most printers have become quite complicated.
The basic merge/purge, CASS certification, presort and inkjet output requirements for basic mailing have grown into complicated pricing structures for co-palletization, co-binding and co-mailing. Many of these charges cannot be substantiated due to the very nature of co-distribution, and some fees appear to be randomly determined, such as a processing charge of $600—per version. Needless to say, printers are reaping postal savings for their customers, while greatly profiting from that service.
If you want to co-mail, your printer must manage the list. You are at the printer’s mercy when it comes to methodology, schedule and price. But like most new technologies, pricing will most likely stabilize with time as competition equalizes.
Many publication printers offer the United States Postal Service network tracking tool to their customers, as well as UPS and FedEx tracking systems, so publishers can monitor their issues as they are distributed.
Recently RR Donnelley (RRD) launched OneSite, a Web-based mailing campaign tracking tool that enables customers to see instantaneously where their materials are throughout the mail stream. RRD claims it is the first product to combine post-production shipment tracking and the USPS tool into one synchronized report.
THE BOTTOM LINE
Publishers are becoming more and more accustomed to printers integrating themselves beyond printing into the publishers’ operations. This has grayed the areas where publishers leave off and printers begin, but it definitely reduces response time and enables late changes.
Dependency on these tools has, however, created another concern in print procurement. First, does the printer offer tools to help you increase efficiency and profit? And second, how dependent will you become on the printer, and what types of adverse effects will you experience if you elect to leave the printer in the future?