The insource versus outsource debate has been alive and well for many decades now and is certainly true of the mailing sector. Making the decision as to whether to outsource mailing operations to a mailing house or not can be particularly challenging as it can be tricky to identify the true criteria and costs of fulfilling mail campaigns in-house.
In this article, we hopefully provide “food for thought” and give some ideas as to why organisations should seriously consider “outsourcing to a mailing house”. This is one of a number of articles written by UK mailing house bakergoodchild, some of the content, therefore, is written with UK references and information.
What is a mailing house?
A “mailing house” is a business which assists in the large-scale preparation for, design/print/fulfilment for, packaging of and mailing of various items as required by their customers. The term “mailing house” has been in use since the 1960s, when the phrase was first “coined” by the Heidelberg News Magazine.
A mailing house provides a one-stop shop service offering customers a start to finish service for print, mail and postage. Although this is best bought as an integrated package customers can buy individual elements if they prefer.
What is outsourcing?
Now we have defined what a mailing house is we should also quickly look at definitions about outsourcing to explore “what is outsourcing?” Here are three definitions of outsourcing found online: [N.B. Quotations to be provided in <Blockquote> HTML tags to avoid plagiarism penalties.]
- Cambridge English Dictionary – “A situation in which a company employs another organization to do some of its work, rather than using its own employees to do it.”
- Financial Times Lexicon – “Outsourcing can be defined as turning over all or part of an activity to a supplier. While outsourcing was originally restricted to basic activities, it currently pervades the management of many companies. Outsourcing is generally considered a very powerful tool to cut costs and improve service quality because it enables companies to take advantage of specialised suppliers. It can also help firms focus on their core business by transferring non-core activities to suppliers.”
- Investopedia – “Outsourcingis a practice used by different companies to reduce costs by transferring portions of work to outside suppliers rather than completing it internally.”
Typical stages of a mailing campaign
There are five typical stages of a mailing campaign, these are summarised below. A mailing house will be able to deliver all/any of these stages:
- Preparation – planning the campaign, data cleansing, preparation of resources, e.g. stationery and packaging materials, etc.
- Design and print – design of and printing of the campaign. Printed materials will vary e.g. brochures, catalogues, letters, statements, etc. and could be litho or web print amongst others
- Fulfilment – taking the print and stationery and fulfilling into a ready to mail campaign
- Packaging – taking the fulfilled mail and packaging it ready for subsequent mailing
- Mailing – eventual mailing and distribution of the mailing campaign by postal carriers
Typical qualities to expect from a mailing house
Here are some of the typical qualities to expect when working with a mailing house:
- Access to latest mailing equipment – organisations can gain access to the latest mailing house equipment without having the costly capital outlay, maintenance and servicing costs
- Accreditations – mailing houses will hold accreditations such as ISO 9001 (Quality), ISO 14001 (Environmental Management) and ISO 27001 (Information Security) as well as other accreditations with partners (e.g. Royal Mail’s – Mailmark)
- An integrated approach – a mailing house will offer a truly integrated one-stop approach. This will seamlessly blend print, mail (direct mail and transactional mail) and postage (UK and international) within the five stages identified above
- Environmentally-friendly values – embracing environmental values is important, many mailing houses will have ISO 27001 accreditation and will have a strong track record in recycling and green initiatives
- Experience & expertise – typically working with many customers, across many sectors a mailing house will bring significant experience and expertise to the mailing campaign lifecycle
- High-quality fulfilment services – taking the print and stationery supplies, etc. is a skilled process with many stages (collation, folding, enclosing, etc.) A mailing house can manage the entire process and keep manual processes to a minimum through automation techniques
- Improved and enhanced data – cleansing of data prior to mailing is crucial to reduce costs, improve accuracy and response rates, a mailing house has techniques to improve the quality of data through their data management services
- Legislative and regulatory compliant – for UK based mailing houses, organisations can expect assistance with legislative compliance with the Data Protection Act (1998) and the EU’s GDPR (effective May 2018). Compliance with the DMA code of conduct is also a given requirement
- Local, national and international mailing solutions – mailing houses will be able to provide a truly global mailing solution for customers. Whether customers want a local-UK, nationwide-UK or international mailing campaign, they can all be managed
- Personalisation – expect high-quality personalisation within mailing campaigns through data manipulation and variable data printing techniques with inkjet, mono laser and colour laser printers
- Print options – mailing houses will print the majority of items in-house. On occasions though for unusual requirements, fast turnarounds, very large scale projects, etc. a mailing house can work with external printers to complete the work. This means that even the most challenging of print remits can usually be delivered
- Save money – there are many ways in which a mailing house can save customers money; examples include bulk mail discounts, consumables savings, data quality savings, mail sorting, print savings, process automation, etc.
- Time savings – “time is money” or so the saying goes. Outsourcing to a mailing house will save time in tasks such as planning, project management and fulfilment of print, mail and postage tasks
Outsourcing to the bakergoodchild mailing house
If your organisation is looking to outsource to a mailing house then why not contact us here at bakergoodchild? We are conveniently located in Birmingham; central England so can work with any client UK-wide. Whatever the type of mailing house service you require contact us on 0800 612 1972, we will be glad to help.