Print collateral can be an expensive line item in the budget of any small or medium-sized business – but it doesn’t have to be. There are many ways to cut costs while preserving printing quality - including gang printing.
How Gang Printing Works
Gang printing is simply the process of grouping similar print jobs together and printing them at the same time. With some planning, a business can take several smaller jobs - particularly when they're repeatable on a monthly, quarterly, or yearly basis - and combine them into one job. This is particularly helpful when choosing paper stock for a job. Some stocks have a minimum order, and ganging jobs by stock type means it's easier to meet that minimum.
Why Gang Printing Saves
As with many aspects of business, the savings in printing are generated from increased efficiency. Every time a commercial printer runs a job, there's a pre-production charge for the costs of preparing the job to be printed. Ganging reduces the number of pre-production charges your business incurs.
Save the printer time by providing a number of finished files with the same color and paper requirements, and you’re saving yourself cash. With the help of digital printing software and precision equipment, experienced commercial printing planners are able to squeeze the maximum number of jobs onto each sheet. This typically represents the largest savings in gang printing, as paper is often the most expensive component of any printed job. In addition to time and paper, you’re helping your commercial printer save on staffing, plates, maintenance, cleaning supplies, and even energy.
Use Gang Printing to Your Advantage
By providing a single large job to the printer instead of a series of smaller jobs, you’re effectively creating your own gang run. Important things to consider when approaching this task are:
- Type of paper each job requires
- Color requirements for each job
- Final shape and size of the printed items
- Quantity of each finished piece
By combining jobs of a similar nature and sending them to your commercial printer together, you’ll be able to save time and money.
Potential Gang Printing Problems
While gang printing offers a great solution for cost-conscious businesses hoping to squeeze as many pages as possible out of their annual printing budgets, there are a few opportunity costs to consider:
- Limited paper choices – because gang printing requires jobs to be run on the same stock, you’re bound to compromise on something along the way. Perhaps you opt to run your letterhead, compliment slips and the “thanks” letter for that fundraising barbecue your firm has every August together. The compliment slips used to be on thicker paper stock because office staff use them as notes included in mailings and packages, but to get the gang printing discount, you’ve got to run them on the same stock as the other items.
- Decreased color choices – similarly, if you’re running jobs in less than full color, you’ll have to use the same spot colors on everything.
- Increased reprint costs – because reprinting a portion of a gang run means printing the entire job again, there’s going to be a lot of waste if you only need ¼ of the original sheet reproduced. It is imperative to ensure the job is free from errors when gang printing.
But with the proper planning, a lot of this can be avoided. Create gang printing jobs that naturally fit together, and you shouldn't have to compromise quality to save money.