Why Use Commercial Printers?

By Dr. Ronnie H. Davis, Senior Vice President and Chief Economist, and Tai McNaughton, Economist, Printing Industries of America

Even companies with in-house printing capabilities rely heavily on commercial printers for their business printing needs. Why?

A recent survey of 400-plus marketing and business executives jointly conducted by Printing Industries of America and FedEx Office revealed the answer. The survey respondents were managing marketing activities at medium and large companies across different industrial sectors.

According to the survey respondents, there are several important reasons to use commercial printers—nine specific reasons listed in the survey were cited by over 7 out of 10 respondents. Product quality was given as the number one reason to rely on a commercial printer, followed by volume considerations, cost issues, color consistency, and color accuracy. A key takeaway is that customers recognize the array of advantages that commercial printers provide compared to their own in-house capabilities.

The survey delved further into the quality and color complexities inherent in print jobs. According to the customers surveyed, commercial printers outperform in-house printers in meeting these challenges. Overall, respondents confirmed that there were lower instances of content being displayed incorrectly, color consistency problems, color accuracy problems, and product quality challenges when using a commercial printer over using an in-house printer. The most significant advantage for commercial printers over in-house shops was in product quality and color accuracy.

Which of these Challenges Has Your Company Faced in the Last 12 Months?

Customers also expressed the belief that commercial printers are better at addressing the various challenges of processing print projects, such as budgeting, time management, and communications issues. This is particularly true for completing jobs on budget. The only print process challenge in which in-house print shops outperform commercial printers is communicating the requirements for the job, and the difference was small.

The findings, contained in an eight-page Flash Report, show a competitive advantage for commercial printers compared to customers’ in-house print capabilities. PIA Member companies can read the full report.

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