RE: The Benefits of Printing In-House

Subject: RE: The Benefits of Printing In-House
From: "Mason, Catheryn" <CMason -at- INFINITEC-COM -dot- com>
To: TECHWR-L <techwr-l -at- lists -dot- raycomm -dot- com>
Date: Fri, 1 Oct 1999 15:23:22 -0500

I have to echo what others are saying in response to your question. There
are many, many pitfalls to bringing your printing in-house, especially when
you are printing large volumes of lengthy documents. Below are just some
(1) Reviewers and contributors may not take deadlines as seriously if they
think that a document "can be printed anytime." Many people do not
understand what is involved in the process, and how time-consuming it is to
prepare a document for print.
(2) It can be an incredible drain on staff time, and that really adds up
when you calculate hours and days of staff time spent on printing
(especially when you have other projects waiting for your time and
(3) If something goes wrong in the process or with the machinery, you're
responsible for fixing it. What if you're running late on a project, you're
there at ten o'clock at night printing because (knowing that the printer is
in-house) your reviewers have let deadlines slide, the docs are due to ship
out the next morning, and the machinery fails. You can't call a repair
person at that time of night, and you're left pulling your hair out AND
holding the bag. If you are able instead to drop the document off at the
printer and count on them to ensure that everything works (that's their job,
after all) and get you a proof copy the next day, you can then go home, put
your feet up, and have a beer. Lots better than spending half the night in
your office trying to do something you're not properly trained and equipped
to do.

In general, I just think it's much safer to say, "listen, I have to get this
doc to the printer on X date, I need X number of days to prepare the
document for print, and therefore I need your comments by X day, otherwise
it goes out without your input." You can certainly still say that if you
have the equipment in-house, but some people may not feel the same sense of
urgency if you are not dealing with an outside vendor. Plus, print shops
know their stuff -- they are trained to operate the printing machinery,
insert tabs, bind, shrink-wrap, etc. etc. For many reasons -- ranging from
cost to keeping your own sanity -- I'd strongly recommend against bringing
your printing in-house.

Just my opinion on this issue.

Catheryn Mason, Technical Writer
Infinitec Communications
cmason -at- infinitec-com -dot- com
Winner, 1999 IABC Bronze Quill Award of Excellence for Technical Writing

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