Celebrating 25 years delivering exceptional print

The Edit: Managing with the paper price increase, part 2

Most printers, whether sheet fed or web-offset, have a range of “house” sheets which cover a broad range of substances and surface finishes. As the printer is able to buy in greater volume than a single brand owner, it is definitely more economical to partner with them where formats are a standard size (e.g A5 or A4) to benefit from the discount that the greater volume enjoys.

Tip 2. Purchase direct from Merchants or Mill groups

Although this may sound at odds with the above, it is worth investigating if you can bulk buy more effectively from merchants or mill groups directly while interest rates remain low. Whether buying cover or text grades, you can deliver multiple issues worth of stock to the printer which avoids the restrictions of minimum orders and the surcharges which can be levied on lower tonnage orders. Establishing a direct purchasing relationship with a merchant or mill group also allows you to increase stock levels (with the agreement of your printer) in advance of the next likely paper increase, due 30/06/17, as the signs are that Sterling is going to continue to weaken against the Euro as Brexit negotiations get underway in early April.

Tip 3. Review your product for sustainable mail benefits

Many multi-channel retailers are closely adhering to the criteria set out by Royal Mail to benefit from the postal discounts of Sustainable Mail but may not be taking advantage. With paper prices on the rise, it is certainly worth reviewing your formats to see how you could comply as this could help mitigate the effect of higher paper prices. Most advertising papers meet the entry level criteria of Sustainable Mail as paper mills have ISO 14001 accreditation, paper is FSC- or PEFC-certified or contains a percentage of recycled fibre from recovered waste using non-chlorine bleaching. Printer and mailing house criteria are also easy to meet, the main hurdle may be persuading your business to mail your brochure unwrapped or to lose that special UV or laminate finish. But with an increasing cost base, it is certainly worth a test.

Tip 4. Consider using recycled paper

Specifying cost-effective recycled grades can be a part of producing an economical and sustainable catalogue. Leipa is one such paper supplier operating one of the most modern paper machines for the production of lightweight coated (LWC) recycled paper grades suitable for text printing. These grades offer genuine and competitive alternatives to virgin fibre LWC grades and once printed, the visual appearance is very similar to that of traditional paper.

Tip 5. Always ask your printer to separate the text and cover paper values in the quote

To ensure that there is complete transparency between yourself and the printer it is always wise to make sure that the paper requirements in terms of tonnage, sheet count, reel width, sheet size and, of course, value are separate on the quote. Firstly, this allows you to cross check alternative sources of supply and secondly, when mill increases do bite, you are fully aware of the cost increase as mills will always publish either percentage increase or £’s/tonne.

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