By Melissa Donovan
When print service providers (PSPs) are tasked with a job they don’t have the capacity to handle or simply are not familiar with the work, they are faced with two options—turn the job away and risk losing the customer or outsource to a trade-only wholesale printer. Choosing to work with a wholesale printer comes with many benefits. Not only do you keep the job, but you can earn repeat business.
Most wholesale printers operate in guaranteed time frames to ensure the job request is processed and back to you or the customer on time. If a level of anonymity needs to maintained, these companies are designed to offer it. Lastly, wholesale operations are commonly outfitted with the latest and greatest technologies, which helps when customers are looking for the next big thing to make them stand out from the competition.
The Wholesale Landscape
Wholesale printers are found throughout the U.S. and each has characteristics that allow them to differentiate themselves. These range from quick turnaround on same-day orders, sophisticated ordering portals, and standout customer service, to vast media selection.
At Signobi, based in Denver, CO, a staff of 18 offers large format printing on specialty and commodity materials with white ink. It also specializes in custom contour cutting. According to Ryan Shacklett, president, Signobi, the trade-only company “provides online estimating tools that easily allow for configuration exactly how the customer needs, and instant multiple quantity pricing ability to make estimating and ordering signs as quick and accurate as possible.”
Fly Digital Print is another example of a wholesale printer, operating one location with 15 employees. According to David R. Kim, CEO, Fly Digital Print, the company offers a diverse base of large format printing services, which includes standard applications like banners, posters, and boards, as well as unique items such as custom printed luggage and window shades.
Other leading trade-only wholesale printers include 4over, Inc., AI Innovations, Circle Graphics, Digital Print Solutions, Georgia Printco, GH Imaging, Imaginethis, John’s Studio Wholesale, MPI Print, PC Signs & Graphics, Premier Media Group, Signs365, Tex Visions, Xarisma, and Zoo Printing, Inc.
Kim says wholesale printing services enable print providers to have the time to build relationships and focus on sales. In addition, they act as a backup in the case of an emergency. “Actual printing sometimes brings on a lot of unexpected surprises and challenges, such as machine malfunctions and reprinting the same job numerous times. This takes away from focusing on the customer,” he offers.
Waste is another consideration. “When ordering from a wholesale printer, the customer knows exactly what the cost of the item will be. In large format printing, there can be a lot of waste due to the sizes of the media available. If for example, an order demands to print one 18×24-inch poster and the smallest media width available to is 36 inches, you are wasting 12 inches on the side,” explains Kim.
Considering the Alternative
Peter Stranathan, president, Visibility Signage Experts, says his company can do a lot of things, but trusting a trade-only wholesale printer like Signobi is worth it when it comes to certain print jobs. The company, based out of Windsor, CO, began in 2005. It currently employs seven people in one 4,000 square foot location offering street side, storefront, and interior large format products to multi-location companies across the U.S.
The PSP celebrates working two years with Signobi. While shopping for a flatbed printer, Peter Stranathan, president, Visibility Signage Experts, realized the cost and commitment involved in integrating such a device into the business. He also understood that he would need to purchase a flatbed cutter soon after.
After considering the alternatives, he approached Signobi and decided to move its flatbed printing business to the trade-only wholesale printer. Signobi prints all of the art to specification and cuts jobs to shape as well, saving tens of thousands of dollars in overhead expense, according to Stranathan.
“Partnering with a wholesale printer allows us to take care of our customers better, create more innovative products, keep costs lower, and fulfill orders faster,” shares Stranathan. Products that need to be direct printed, shape cut, and or have multiple artworks all nested in a single job are sent to Signobi from Visibility Signage Experts.
Stranathan was attracted to how Signobi’s staff handles multiple art and shape cut items. Software enables the PSP to input all of its artwork and specifications online, which automatically is populated into the wholesaler printer’s production schedule.
Trade-only wholesale printers are ideal PSPs uncomfortable offering a service, but unwilling to let go of a job completely. “You get the benefits of vast expertise and equipment, which provides you with a great expansion on what your company can offer to your customers, meaning you sell more and make more money,” advises Shacklett. Think of this as a partnership, or an extension of one’s business.
Feb2017, DPS Magazine