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Addressing & Inserting Bring Big Benefits

May 2005

About half of all in-plants provide mailing services, with ink-jet addressing and inserting equipment among their most useful pieces of equipment.

By Bob Neubauer

Much of what's printed by an in-plant ends up in the mail. So those in-plants that provide mailing services have an advantage when it comes to getting and keeping customers.

"Our experience has been that customers are pleased and relieved to have us process their mail as well as producing their printed pieces," notes Shey Lowman, director of ITS Document Services at Northern Illinois University, in DeKalb, Ill. "Prior to our purchasing modern mail addressing equipment, customers with large database mailings had to take them to outside vendors that were 45 miles away or more."

What's more, the in-plant's mailing capabilities have brought new printing customers to the shop.

"We had customers that only had us process their mail, until they developed a better understanding of the broad scope of our printing services," says Lowman. "Processing customer's mail gave us an opening to sell them printing."

About a hundred miles west in Deerfield, Ill., Walgreens' Printing & Mail Services has also used mail to bring in print business.

"Part of our strategy is to not charge back for inserting or ink-jetting," says Manager Linda Balsamo. "While Printing Services is a profit center, Mail Services charges back for postage and consumables, but not time. By not charging back, the company absorbs our costs and our customers have a lower cost base to compare with when they decide whether or not to outsource. It gives us an advantage, and in the end saves the company money by not having to pay marked-up charges to outside vendors. Our customers know we are here for them and will do whatever we can to make their project a success."

At Northern Illinois University, Lowman says the in-plant's move into variable data printing has gone smoother thanks to its mailing capabilities.

"Getting into variable data printing and having finishing and mailing operations to complete the process has been one of the most important decisions that we have made," she notes. "It is responsible for getting us through the bad times of the past few years. While other print revenue streams have dried up, the essential variable data printing still needed to be done and we were glad to help."

About half of all in-plants are providing mailing services, according to IPG survey data. The most essential pieces of equipment they own for this purpose are postage systems, inserters and ink-jet addressing systems. IPG asked a few in-plants about their inserting and ink-jet addressing equipment. Here's what they had to say:

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