Site logo

Trade Printing VS In-House Production

In this video Jamie Xuereb from Mediapoint discussing the benefits of Trade Printing VS In-house Printing

In this article we discuss the various benefits of Trade Printing VS In-house Printing so you can decide which is right for your print business.

What are the benefits of Printing In-House?

When printing in-house, it is likely that jobs will be completed on entry-level equipment with a smaller footprint, and lower volume. You’re likely to achieve a decent quality from these machines – when running at their best these printers have a good output The caveat here is that these machines require longer time and minimal strain.

In-house equipment also gives you the power to print on any stock ad-hoc. Due to the lower volume and accessibility, you can chop and change stocks after each sheet or load. This makes it easy to pump out small orders in a rush and even same day – from the same machine.

On the flip side, you will see that your cost in ink, stock and labour per square meter are much higher. Your pricing then needs to reflect this to be profitable. 

Add to that the inability to run multiple, different jobs in tandem and you will hit your equipment’s max availability (and therefore max revenue) earlier in your schedule.

So you then need to determine whether it is worth running your equipment on an overtime shift and paying higher rates for labour outside of your normal operating hours. This is where trade printing becomes the better, more economical option.

What is Trade Printing

Trade printing is a service where you outsource your printing to another supplier who then produces the work on your behalf. This leaves you with higher equipment availability for priority, short-run or custom jobs, and more time to focus on selling / growing your business. A quality trade printer (also known as a Wholesale Printer) will deal only with you – not your customer – allowing you to focus on growing relationships and your customer base, without the financial outlay for new equipment.

What Are the Advantages  of a Wholesale Printer?

1. Inventory, Experience, and Equipment

Trade printing partners like Mediapoint have invested in the factory space, high-end equipment, staff, inventory of stock, and processes to deliver quality at much higher volumes.

For example our high-volume Durst printing equipment, means we have the capacity to handle 150+ jobs daily. This is achieved by batching and printing stock once a day alongside multiple production shifts in the schedule. That allows us to offer an ultra-fast 24-hour turnaround time for most jobs do.

2. Lower Costs for Us, Higher Profits for Customers

Our consumable cost per square meter is much lower than entry-level and mid-range printing equipment that you may have in-house. 

Since the volumes we are producing for trade print clients are much higher than your average print shop, we tend to buy stock in containers which means we have a lower stock cost.

This means we can focus on printing to a model that gives our reselling partners more margin to work with. We pass the volume savings on – it’s a win-win situation.

When Is A Trade Printer Not Suitable?

Most trade printing models are designed on set products with preset options. That means: set stock, print quality, finishing and packing methods. 

If you are looking for anything a little more off the cuff or bespoke then a trade printer might not be suitable. Generally, the trade printers with the best margins are not nimble. In this case, speaking to a general retail printer, or signage company, might be your best bet.

To make the model work, batching and automation is needed as a trade printer. So doing things like same-day / rush orders would not be suitable. However, turnaround times of 24 hours (even on some solid volumes) is still possible.

A trade printer’s number one priority is to give its resellers the most margin. To do this it has heavily invested in its manufacturing capabilities. All other areas of the business including the frontend, prepress and dispatch need to be fairly automated. So if you require personal service on every order, a trade printer is not the optimal choice. You will be directed to an automated system for the aforementioned benefits of speed, efficiency and cost.

What Can a Trustworthy Trade Printer Like Mediapoint Do For Your Business?

At Mediapoint we believe we are the best trade printers in the market as we allow our resell partners to:

* Add different products to their mix.

* Make more margin from their existing customers without the outlay.

* Downsize whilst becoming more profitable.

* Cut out products that they traditionally produce that are not profitable.

* Focus on the strengths of their business which might be design, selling, or marketing instead of production.

If you have a gap with trade printing products such as mesh banners, corrugated plastic boards, stickers and posters, then feel free to register on our trade pricing page. Mediapoint has been servicing high volume print resellers and brokers exclusively for over 16 years. We have the experience, knowledge and equipment to cater to any requirement.

How To Pick The Right Material For Mesh Fence Panels & Fence Banners

We are constantly asked what the best mesh banner stock is for mesh fence panels & fence mesh banners. Being a trade printer and having a lot of knowledge in this area we know that one size does not fit all when it comes to the best type of material for fence banners.

We understand that being tied into one way or one stock is not suitable when it comes to all of the solutions you will need to provide for fence mesh banners. See below for the range of different fence banner materials used and in what scenario they are used in.

PVC Vinyl Fence Banners

fence bannersThis stock is suitable for fence banners needing a more solid construction. As it not perforated the whole image is printed and lands on the material, the whole image is shown. So the benefit here is for anyone who wants the maximum impact of their mesh fence panels as the most punchy print is visible. As it is a heavier stock (we offer a 510gsm), it also means the banner is going to be more durable over time.

On the other hand, as this has a solid construction, it naturally does not allow any wind flow through the banner. Because of this in high wind flow area’s the banner may tear over time or cause temporary fences to fall over. Some companies use wind slits to combat this but in our testing, we have found that this weakens the banner and can cause tearing.

 

12×12 PVC Mesh Fence Panels

mesh fence panels

As this is a tight-knit mesh it is often referred to as a ‘premium’ mesh. Because of this more of the image is shown on the print so there is less show through compared to other mesh options. This stock typically comes in a 280gsm weight so it has a solid tensile strength. Because of the above, this stock is used more for smaller fence mesh banners as the better print visibility and strength on a smaller banner is good in most instances. It also has the longest life in outdoor conditions than other mesh options.

On the flip side as this is a closer knit mesh, the compromise comes with the amount of air flow through the fence mesh panels. In high wind loads, this stock can turn into a sail as not all of the wind can flow through the banner. So typically a strong fence or install is needed when installing these banners. As this stock is made of PVC, as the dyne level of the stock drops, UV ink is susceptible to fail on this stock. At Mediapoint we print on latex inks to avoid this issue. And the inks are more environmentally friendlier as an added bonus.

 

6×6 PVC Fence Mesh Banners

fence mesh banners

Often considered a more ‘open’ mesh this stock is perfect for longer fence mesh banners. The reason being is the stock is constructed with a 180gsm makeup which allows the most air permeability compared to any other PVC mesh fence panel options. What this means is this stock allows the most wind to flow through it which is suitable in high wind loads where there is a risk of the banner turning into a sail. This can potentially cause the banner to tear or a fence to fall over.

The compromise with this stock though is due to the more open makeup of the stock, less of the print is visible. This really dulls down any colors and you are not able to get any vibrancy on any colors because of this. We also avoid the issue of ink failing on this stock by using latex inks. With UV inks, as the stock ages, there is a risk of the ink coming off. Latex inks do not have this issue and have the added benefits of being more environmentally friendlier as well.

Shade Cloth

fence banners

Shade Cloth has the benefit of being considered the ‘cheapest’ option of the fence banners range. It is often constructed of cotton or HDPE Mesh depending on the supplier. The print quality is decent as the knits are closer together.

Where the compromise is on this stock comes down to the type of print, finishing, and strength of the product. This type of stock can typically only be printed with less environmentally friendly solvent inks. This is not as safe as the latex inks that we use. This stock also comes pre-finished with buttonhole edging. This is nowhere near as strong as hemming and eyeletting which will cause banners to tear after a bit of wind exposure. As this stock is a closer knit it does not handle wind load like a more open weave mesh to does. This is why it is considered more of a short-term banner mesh panel option. At Mediapoint, we do not offer it because of these factors and recommend our customers to look at a more open weave mesh which is not too different in price point. But it provides a host of added benefits.

 

Polyester Mesh

mesh fence panelsAs this stock is constructed with polyester, it is often considered as a fabric mesh. Typically it has a 115gsm weight, it is the lightest option out of the mesh fence panels material outlined in this post. This makes transporting this stock the easiest out of all of the options here. Due to the makeup of the threads, a lot of the print can be shown which makes this a fairly punchy print stock. This stock is often used for outdoor events.

As it is a fabric through, it can only be printed with a dye sublimation process. This is great for producing a punchy print but it is also only a short-term outdoor ink solution. Also as this is a fabric it needs to be sewn for the hem which is often a costlier process. Being a fabric as well it naturally will only hold up short-term outdoors.

 

If you have any queries about which stock is best for your customers mesh fence panels and fence banners, then have a chat to us if the above is not clear. Also don’t forget to checkout our pricing product to get instant online pricing about some of the options we offer from the above.

How To Grow Your Print Business

In this article, Jamie discusses his top tips for how to grow your print business.

We are constantly getting feedback from our customers and even our suppliers to how much we are growing. In the current market climate, it is not easy to grow your print business. But our formula over the last 13 years is below.

KNOW YOURSELF

The key thing we found which switched us from being just another print business to really surging, was knowing yourself. Several years ago, we realized our advantage was being a production house and most of our top customers were trade customers. So, we pivoted Mediapoint to be a trade-only printer.

GET LEAN IN THE RIGHT AREAS TO GROW YOUR PRINT BUSINESS

By knowing yourself it will allow you to get lean in 3 key areas which are your processes, people and products. By knowing your target area and your target customers you can tailor your setup towards them. It also allows you to focus and make decisions with a target market in mind.

PROCESSES

One of the biggest issues we see with a lot of our customers is they do not have time as they are working on unprofitable tasks. By knowing yourself you can drill down on your processes and cut anything out which is not relevant to your target market. When someone requests something outside of your processes you can say no to them as they are probably outside of your target market.

PEOPLE

By knowing yourself and having tight processes it makes it easier to bring in a good team. The reason being is your team will be given clear instructions as well as fewer areas to manage. One of the key issues a lot of print businesses face is being spread too thin and expecting a lot of their team.

PRODUCTS

With the above points working in synergy, it is important that the products that you offer, and the specifications reflect this. If you do not do this, your whole system will fall over. Also, by following the above system you can adequately price products knowing all of the true costs.

We use the above formula to cut a lot of waste and save a lot of time so we can give our print partners more margin. That is our distinct advantage. We have been refining the above for 13 years. Also, do you notice how in this post we have not talked about marketing and sales?

WORD OF MOUTH

Retaining your customers and getting customers via word of mouthis the first step you should get right before plastering the market. To grow your print business you need a solid base and reputation or else you will waste a lot of your marketing dollars. A lot of our customers that try to grow waste a lot of their budget in marketing as they do not have the points outlined above solid within their own business.

Our Secret To Hiring Print Staff

https://vimeo.com/351738194

From what we hear from our trade partners, it seems that hiring print staff is one of the trickiest parts of running a print business. We know this from experience as well. From over 13 years of experience and having plenty of time to learn from each hire, we have developed our own way of doing this.

A bad hire will cost your business thousands of dollars. But a good hire will be worth a lot more to your business.

WE GET OVER 1000 PRODUCTION APPLICANTS A MONTH

Yes, you read that right!

You might think that getting 1000 applicants on Seek is a godsend. In reality it is like finding a needle in a haystack. We like using Seek as it has an in-built questionnaire feature which makes screening print staff more efficient.

KNOW WHAT YOU WANT FROM YOUR PRINT STAFF

Through lessons in the past with staff, we have a tighter view on the characteristics we look for when hiring staff. For us there are some basic screening questions we ask to ensure we are not wasting each other’s time such as:

  • Proximity & Do they have a license
  • Will this job be their primary focus or are they studying?
  • Do they want to work on their feet or behind a desk?

THE MEDIAPOINT PRINT STAFF DIFFERENCE

What makes the Mediapoint process special for hiring print staff is we are also looking for mental aptitude when hiring. We also do psychological testing. The key things we look for in a candidate are:

  • Can they follow a process?
  • Can they take instructions?
  • Do they like working at an efficient pace?

With our testing we can get a general idea of print staff candidates. The key think is we are looking for character over experience. As it leads to the next point…

IT DOES NOT MATTER HOW GOOD A CANDIDATE IS

If you do not have good training and processes behind an employee, they are doomed to fail. To be able to keep our quality and consistency up, we keep our products, equipment and processes simple. We can get a new candidate up to speed in weeks and not years. This allows us to scale quickly and rapidly.

Setting Up Custom Cut Shape, Crease & Scores on your Artwork

Please watch the above video on the process for setting up your artwork for custom cut shape, score or creases.

For a PDF version of this guide click HERE

Close Your Artwork With A Thru-Cut & Not a Trim Box

As soon as custom cut finishing steps are added to a job, you are required to close the size with a Thru-cut stroke and note a Trim Box.

For example if you were creating a standee with 2 faces cut out. For the finished size, we would require a Thru-cut stroke as per this image.

Stroke and Custom Cut Names

Please ensure your strokes are Spot colours only or else our flow will not detect them. They also need to be named:

Thru-cut – For custom shape cuts. Please ensure if you are doing any small cut-outs such as holes in the artwork, you also have an outer Thru-cut stroke as the trim box.

Crease – For any creasing on products such as Bollards. Please ensure that your crease does not extend past your outer Thru-cut.

Score – For any face scoring on products such as Toblerone Signs. Please ensure that your Score does not extend past your outer Thru-cut.

Custom Cut and Shape FAQs

Can my stroke be any colour?

Your stroke can be any colour except white, but what is more important to us is that it is a Spot colour and named exactly like the above. The colour the actual Spot Thru-cut stroke is, does not matter to us. Our flow will remove this if it detects it but know where to cut.

Can Mediapoint set up my artwork for me?

No, Mediapoint is 100% trade only. So we expect to get any artwork print ready and to our specs. It is the only way we can stay lean on our front end and give you more margin.

Can I supply the custom cut line in a separate file?

No, your artwork and Thru-cut need to be in the same file and imposed exactly where you want the cut to be.

Can I supply an EPS, AI or another file format?

We only accept PDF files so we will not accept another file format. This process means your file can go straight into our rip and minimize any potential issues.

Stop Competing On Price

We often get asked by our customers, how they can convert more quotes on our products such as corflute and banners. Most people initially go down to price. But based on the data and trends we have seen; this is not necessarily the case.

What the Data Tells Us

From our top 20 customers, we have seen that they are all creating value in different ways. By doing this they are creating a more premium product they can charge more for. From the data it also tells us 2 clear things:

  1. That our customers are using our system to get pricing quickly. When their customer requests a quote, they are not waiting on us to get back to them. They are getting the quote accurately through our IQ system and getting back to their customer in minutes.
  2. These customers are in a niche and have developed a high level of trust with their target market. For example, they are in a certain market segment and they only do that sort of work. So, the reviews on their business are from target customers in that demographic. It creates a lot of trust with potential customers which they can charge a little more for.

Think About It on A Larger Scale

Typically, someone who needs print, it is not about the product. It is about solving a problem. They need the product by a certain date, or the print will be rendered useless. If they do not get it in time, then they have wasted the whole price on the spend.

By eliminating any potential stumbling blocks, you can nail the sale and take it outside of price.

What This Means For You

In your setup, it means you need to ensure you have a system which gets pricing out fast. It also means you need to narrow down and focus on your target market so you can be the go-to company in that niche.

If you want to chat and just get some feedback on how this applies to your business, feel free to get in touch.

Setting Up Multiple Artwork Kinds Jobs

By watching the above video, you can get a full overview of how we need an artwork with multiple kinds setup. For a rundown also see below.

How We Give You More Margin

In order to give you more margin, we need to keep our costs low. So, we have instigated a fully automated prepress department. That means when your job hits our production system, then it automatically flows through production. This is especially common on jobs relating to posters, corflutes, foamed pvc boards and more.

In order to instigate this, we need artwork coming through a certain way and to our specs. In the past we have found even with a manual prepress method, the ways certain customers supply files can be quite confusing.

For Single Artwork

For Single artwork jobs, this is pretty straightforward. Just have a single PDF File. At the end of your file name have ….QTY [number].pdf

For Multiple Artwork With The Same Quantities

For jobs where you have multiple kinds with the same amount of kinds per artwork. We would require a multi-page PDF with 1 of each artwork in the PDF file. Our software will detect the amount of kinds and run the correct amount of each.

Also please name your file with: [FILE NAME] [NO. OF KINDS] [HOW MANY OF EACH] [TOTAL].pdf

For Example Artwork – 10 kinds – 10 of each – 100 total.pdf

For A Different Quantity Of Kinds

This is where it gets a little tricky. When you have a job with a different amount of kinds, we either need:

-A multi-page PDF with each page being a print. So if there are 200 total split uneven across 5 artworks, we would need a 200 page PDF with the artworks repeated for each print which is needed.

-The job put in multiple parts following the above rules

If you have any questions, feel free to drop us an email.

Couriers Please For Print Deliveries

We are all about giving you more margin and couriers please is now helping us to do so. We have listened to customer feedback and our printing prices are always ultra-sharp.

However, a lot of customers have mentioned they were looking for a more cost-effective delivery method than a same day courier services. They still wanted something faster than a standard road service.

What is the Solution?

We have instigated Couriers Please as a delivery method and this covers orders which are:

The flat fee is $20+GST in the system and covers packaging and dispatch. You can still blindship to your customers to a residential or business address in the Zone.

Couriers Please delivery awaiting dispatch

Why Have We Introduced Couriers Please For Print Now?

A few months ago we changed our production schedule. As a bulk of our products which are ordered at 12 noon are ready the next business day at 1pm. We started an evening shift. From 4-8pm our finishing team are working on cutting and packaging orders.

A side effect is that we are finding a large number of orders are being ready prior to 10am even though our guarantee is 1pm.

What is the Couriers Please Schedule?

This service is scheduled as an AM-PM/PM-AM service. So:

  • If we get an order picked up in the morning it should be delivered in the afternoon
  • If an order gets picked up in the afternoon it should be delivered the next business day in the AM

Please note, there are no guarantees that an order will make a morning run. We do promise a 1pm pickup. Also, there may be issues on the courier end which are out of our control.

CP is not a guaranteed service. So, if you require a guaranteed turnaround time, do not use this freight method.

What To Do If You Need A Guaranteed Delivery?

If you need a guaranteed parcel delivery for a specific project speak to us about your timeframe. Also – always select a Same Day Courier. The freight is more, but your job will be delivered quicker and more reliably.

How To Grow Your Print Revenue And Retain Customers

As a company offering your customers large format printing products, it can often be a challenge to grow your print revenue. You might have issues with staff, space, equipment and time. But what is your biggest asset?

Why Leveraging Your Customer Base Is So Important

Here are some hard-hitting facts about your biggest asset which is your existing customer base:

  • An existing customer costs 5 times less than it does than to acquire a new customer
  • The easiest way to increase your profit by 25% – 95% is to increase customer retention by just 5%
  • You only have a 5-20% chance of selling a product to a new customer as compared to 60-70% with an existing customer

Source: https://www.outboundengine.com/blog/customer-retention-marketing-vs-customer-acquisition-marketing/

So How Can You Grow Your Print Revenue?

Well, the answer is simple. You need to offer your customers more products. This will stop them from looking elsewhere. You need to build on the goodwill you have created with your brand.

Customers deal with who they trust. Customers will move on for a variety of reasons being:

  • Being let down
  • Can’t service their needs
  • Price
  • Turnaround times

From the above points, 2 of them are within your control.

How Can Mediapoint Help You To Retain & Sell More To Existing Customers?

As Mediapoint specialises in being a Large Format and Flatbed Printer, we can help you by expanding your product range. Some of the core products we offer are coreflute, banners, mesh, foamed PVC, screenboard, pull up banners and many other products.

We also have a nationwide shipping network. So, if you have customers that require kitting and distribution to a number of locations, we can help you there.

With our lightning-quick turnaround times and room for margin, we can stop your customers looking elsewhere and help grow your print revenue. That is by expanding your product base.

So What Next?

Make sure that you are signed up to access for our system HERE.

We will validate you as a trade customer and book in for a chat. We offer access to all our product pricing. So you can login 24/7 and get pricing any time. If you have larger volumes, we can also tailor a solution for you. Grow your print revenue with Mediapoint.

More Options For Banner Finishing in IQ

We have added a whole heap of new banner finishing options in Mediapoint IQ. Watch the above video to get more on this or keep reading the below.

More Banner Finishing Options

Under additional finishing in our PVC Banner product, we have added more finishing options for you. We have taken our most requested custom finishing options and added it into the system. What this means is our automated prepress process will automatically place your eyelets for you in these positions.

Banner finishing options

Do You Need Custom Banner Finishing Positioning?

If you need custom eyelet positioning and it is not on the list, then we still have you covered. In our additional finishing options, there are 2 types which will allow you to achieve this:

-Rope & Eyelets Custom Locations with Welding

-Banner Eyelets Custom Locations & Welding

But if you proceed with these options you will need to set up your artwork correctly. Please read the below steps and please setup your artwork correctly or we will reject your artwork.

How To Setup Your Artwork

If you select any of the custom options for eyelets then you will need to set up your artwork for us with the eyelet marks. Our prepress software will not be able to do this for your banner finishing.

So, if your artwork is 2000mm x 1000mm, you need to ensure your trim box is this size with 3mm bleed around.

For your eyelet positioning, you are to set up a 3mm dot with the center of the dot 26mm in from the edge of the trim box.

If your artwork is not set up with the dots, and you select the custom eyelet positioning option, then we will reject and request the artwork to be set up correctly.

If you have any questions about this then please feel free to drop us an email.

have a question?
question
Link added to the buffer