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5 Tips to reduce your paper costs..

My friends, it is official, all paper mills have announced rate increases effective 4/1/2011 of an additional $2 per CWT. If you are wondering what compromises you can make to not only budget for this rate increase, but possibly reduce your paper costs, then this blog is for you!

  1. Look at backing off on the brightness of the paper. Let’s say you are printing on a 60# No. 3 gloss with a brightness of 87, well there is also a 60# No.3 with a brightness of 84 that will offer you a savings. You can also look into #4’s with brightness of 76 or #5s which are typically around a 72 Brightness. The bottom line here, if you are willing to compromise on the brightness of your paper stocks, you will reduce your paper costs. In addition, this is an effective method that doesn’t scream “I changed my magazine” to your readers and advertisers alike. Subtle changes like this can save you money in a big way.
  2. Look at reducing your basis weight of your paper stocks. You might be thinking to yourself “I can’t do that, everyone will notice” then my question to you my friend is how serious are you about reducing costs? The key here again are subtle changes to keep it as unnoticeable as possible. For example if you are on a 70# paper, look to a 60#, if you are on a 50#, look to a 45#…I think you get it….. Keep in mind too, the less your publications weighs, the more savings you will see in postal costs as well.
  3. Remove your cover! I know this one isn’t going to be for everyone, I realize this. But if you are willing to make a drastic change to reduce costs, then this one would be right up your alley. Many publications have a 4 pg cover over the inside pages. Get rid of it! If your inside pages are on a lighter basis weight paper stock such as a 38# and you are utilizing a 80 or 100# cover to protect it, look to bump your inside pages up to a 50# or 60#, you will still see a savings. I know many advertisers pay top dollar for positioning on the cover, they can still have quality positioning within the publication, and with the amount you will be saving you may be able to offer them two ad spaces at a discount to keep them happy. Based on your print quantities, savings can be enormous.
  4. Change your trim size. I love big, and truly believe the larger your publication the more readers and advertisers you will attract. HOWEVER, I realize this is a very simple way to reduce paper costs and mailing costs. Again subtle changes such as 10×13 print in 16 pg forms, at a 10×12 we can print you in 24 pg forms. 10×12 prints in 24 pg forms, at a 9×10 7/8 we can print in 32 pg forms. The more pages in a form, the less your paper and press costs. From there, you can look to reduce your trim to whatever compromise you are willing to make because most printers tap out at 32 page forms. Changing your trim size to reduce your paper consumption can yield a very nice savings depending on your print quantities.
  5. This one I was on the fence about, but am going to put here anyway. You may be able to reduce your paper costs by supplying your own paper. Printers typically purchase paper directly from the paper mills. You can look to paper brokers to see if you may be able to find a better cost on your paper stocks.Here is the caution, this paper is sometimes a “secondary paper” meaning there are imperfections in the paper. In addition, printers typically charge a paper handling fee if you are supplying your own paper. The amount you are saving by supplying your own paper may be eaten up by the handling fee, and now you have one more thing on your plate which is the paper broker. If you are going to supply your own paper, make sure your printer is involved with the process. Get samples of the paper, send those samples to the printer so they can evaluate it as well. I would suggest allowing the printer to supply the paper, however, I wouldn’t be completely honest with all of you if I didn’t recognize that this was another way to reduce your paper costs.

In case you didn’t notice, the theme was subtle changes to reduce costs. I can think up some very drastic changes to reduce costs such as going from gloss to newsprint, going from heatset to coldset ect….. I believe protecting the integrity of your publication while doing everything possible to reduce your costs will lead to your longterm success as we fight through these tough economic times and rate increases.

Talk to your print rep, I am more than just a salesman. Without you there is no me, I will be here to help in anyway that I can be which is more than just providing you numbers.

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February 27, 2011 - Posted by | Mailing, Publishing | , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , ,

2 Comments »

  1. Noah, let me introduce myself, Debra Smith, Account Manager, Bulkley Dunton (located in Southern California) with 32 years of paper experience on both the manufacturing and distribution (paper merchant/broker) sides of the business. Believe me, I’ve seen it all. Your suggestions replicate what we recommend to clients AND, YES, they can save money by pruchasing their own paper in most cases. I do NOT sell “seconds/off quality” products – ever! BD represents all major manufacturers (that are remaining with all of the industry consolidation). I am a good resource for paper, as you are for printing. I would be happy to supply assistance to anyone who’s interested in saving costs, since paper is relatively 50% of the cost of production. Please feel free to contact me should you have an interest in “partnering” in our publishing business roles. You can reach me @ 951-751-1705.

    Comment by Debra Smith | March 1, 2011 | Reply

  2. Really great tips here Noah for companies looking to save money on paper. The savings to be made can be huge!

    Comment by Gould | February 5, 2013 | Reply


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