July 6, 2022

8 Ways to Save $$ on Printing and Packaging That You May Not Have Thought Of

Although during a recession it may not be possible to boost product sales to increase profits, below are seven cost-saving opportunities that usually evade notice by even the most print-savvy buyer or package designer.
1. Maximize Dimensions of Press Sheets
Since the cost of paper accounts for 30-50% of printing costs, it's important to use as much of each press sheet as possible to maximize value. If your project is made up of multiple versions-such as several data sheets, each with the same specs-you'll be able to save money if you combine their printing. Assuming the overall flat size allows you to put several up on a press sheet, this will not only reduce the number of sheets needed but will also save on the cost of additional plates and press setup.
2. Pre-Order Custom-Sized Rolls
If time allows and you're planning on printing a job that requires 5,000 lbs or more of paper or board, ask your printer if it makes sense to order custom-sized sheets or rolls. If the mill or paper broker offers the paper or board you need on a roll, trimming the role to size before shipping it to the printer can save your company a considerable amount of money.
3. Nix Press Proofs
If color matching is essential (i.e., if you're printing a specially branded spot color), request a printed press proof to ensure color accuracy. However, if your color requirements are not exacting, and if your vendor is adhering to ISO, SWOP, or GRACoL 7 color standards, it's perfectly fine to proof your job online, saving you money and time.
4. Yes, Quickpay Discounts Are a Thing
If your printer feels confident that you'll pay quickly, they'll be more willing to negotiate their prices. Offering to pay a large deposit on a print or packaging order may encourage them to give you a better price. If not, ask that the contract include a 2% quickpay discount.
5. Don't Be Afraid to Ask for Ideas
Ask your printer or packaging partner for suggestions on how to trim costs. (Remember, no one understands the printing market better than they do!) Sometimes just using a different paper brand or weight, adjusting the page count or trim size, or using a UV coating rather than a varnish will save you money.
6. Price Out Finishing Options
Planning to use a specialty embellishment on your printed piece or package? Before sending the job to press, ask your printer to price out all the options. For instance, if you plan to include holography, costs and benefits vary widely, from inexpensive Cast and Cure™ to more expensive laminated board and foils. You may find that the effects you're trying to achieve can be accomplished less expensively AND more effectively with new inhouse equipment so you can avoid the expense of sending your job to specialty finishing house.
7. Use Printer/Mailers for Direct Mail Jobs
Are you planning on printing a direct mail or kitted piece? Unlike a commercial printer, printer/mailers are expert at USPS postal regulations and requirements. They can suggest sizes, binding, and tabbing that meet postal regulations or that there's adequate white space for bar codes and addresses, each of which will save on postal fees. A printer/mailer may even be able to commingle your mailing with another customer's printed piece to take advantage of bulk mailing discounts.
8. Less Inks = More Vibrancy (and Saves Money!)
If you have large printing jobs that regularly require numerous colors (CMYK + 3 additional inks or more), ask your printer if they are utilizing Expanded Gamut (EG) and if not, get some price quotes from printers that do. The idea is simple. A press dedicated to EG printing adds orange and violet to the traditional CMYK inks. By doing this, a printer can create over 90% of all PMS colors and significantly improves the overall gamut of color. Since a press using EG won't have to change colors in the fountains/stations, there is no time-consuming press clean up necessary at each fountain or color tower, and less money spent on multiple inks. From a creative perspective, EG printing provide a more vibrant, even color result.

Collaborative software solutions for print, paper, and packaging buyers, PaperManager and PrintMedia Manager enhances the efficiency and management of your print production processes. Learn more here.

Many thanks to Andrew Lipinski of Ferring Pharmaceuticals for providing some valuable tips!
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