Counterpoint: Mail is natural extension for printers

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Most printers have been involved in direct mail requirements for their customers and have invested in capabilities for a broad range of mail distribution. One might say clients are best served by printers who have expanded into direct mail because:

• Overall production cycle time is reduced. Product is often addressed in-line with the binding process.

• Reduced production cycle time not only lets customers deliver timely information to their targeted audience quicker, but also lets customers extend their file deadline to the printer, perhaps closing more ad revenue.

• Handling of the product is reduced as are shipping time and freight costs of the product from print production to distribution into the mailstream by having the printer provide the mail service.

• Fewer make-readies mean less product waste.

• Larger printers have trained management and customer support staff with extensive mailing and distribution experience. Experienced staff can help customers build mail plans to balance the costs of freight and postage in delivering mail into the postal stream.

• Larger printers have a Detached Mail Unit in their plants that lets U.S. Postal Service employees accept mail directly, straight off the shipping dock.

• Large printers also have various manufacturing capabilities to prepare and distribute mail for their customers.

Commercial printers of significant size and resources are accustomed to expanding into areas of service for customers. Digital prepress is an example wherein printers now create and process the pages for customers, replacing the standalone prepress shops that added time and expense to the process. Printers being able to handle their customers' direct mail requirements allows the use of one vendor and likely a vendor that has the resources to expand service at a greater rate such as variable data printing requirements. VDP requirements are often a complement to other commercial work, and a printer is more likely to offer alternatives in terms of manufacturing experience and expertise.

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