Top 5 Tips for Reducing Print & Postal Costs

Gary Sweeney
Gary Sweeney

A post-pandemic guide to generating savings in your print and post operation

Reducing print & postal costs is something that all organisations, particularly after Covid-19 and in the digital age are having to contend with. Why? Because Covid-19 meant that some businesses and public sector organisations had to adapt and change quickly to ensure survival, and continuity. Home working for many employees, with the loss of revenues and reduction of income, a cut in budgets, if not already, then these will be a certainty in the coming months. Also, the driving force of digital transformations, and the creation of new ways of living and working gives new opportunities to connect with more customers. Although the print & postal markets include much more than just Royal Mail, as an indication of a snapshot of what actually happened during lockdown (so for three months to the end of June 2020). Royal Mail letter volumes were down by almost 800m items. This was primarily down to advertising mail continued to be impacted by the state of the economy and low levels of business activity. Separately, and I am sure everyone reading this would see why, in the same three-month period, Royal Mail’s parcel volumes were up by 38%, the equivalent of 117m additional parcels. Wow! As the UK has come out of lockdown and businesses are starting to get back to work, this is now the right time to consider costs associated with print & postal costs. Let’s consider five top tips to reduce your print & post costs without undermining competitiveness or value.

1. Deep-dive analysis of print & postal costs & supplier expenditure

Many organisations rely heavily on physical print & postal services, and there is a mixture of letters, packets & parcels being despatched to customers. Many organisations believe they have optimised their expenditure. In fact, more than 90% of UK based organisations have not fully optimised their category expenditure. The main benefits are a deep dive analysis will provide the business intelligence you need to create actionable intelligence. The analysis should consider how print vendors charge for their services. A deep dive will indicate if for example a pack price is provided, and if so, our experience is that there are more often than not, hidden costs which are not transparent to the organisation. When print vendors wrap-up services and therefore costs, this should be fully examined. If a print vendor is paying the postage on behalf of an organisation, and then charging back to the client, this is also another area that required close examination.

2. Are you utilising the optimum print & postal services?

Each year more than £1Bn is wasted on print & postal services. Most organisations believe they are optimised, and it must be other businesses who spending too much and using the wrong service. The truth is, the majority of businesses and organisations could significantly reduce their expenditure. For example, if you are not using consolidation in print, the changes are (and we hear it all the time), that your customers are receiving far too many mail pieces that they find unnecessary and wasteful – this not only costs you money, but severely damaged your brand.

3. Do you have various sites for printing and sending post?

One thing that changed through Covid-19 was some organisations’ speedy move to centralisation and transformation to digital. The question now needs to be asked even more now, “why are we sending physical mail and is this the right way to communicate?”.

4. In-house versus outsourcing?

Whether you are a small-to-medium, large business or a public sector enterprise, outsourcing can be a great way to reduce print & postal costs. Although if you have outsourced your print & postal production, or are thinking about doing it, we would advise that you consider if you have lost all insight and transparency in this significant expenditure category. We recommend you ask your suppliers to provide business intelligence insight through cost category breakdown for your analysis.

5. Final Thoughts – Consult the CFO.

One final thought on how to reduce print & postal costs is to form a close relationship with the CFO. It is the job of the chief financial officer to save the organisation money. As such, they will prove extremely useful in analysing the total organisations’ print & postal costs. And perhaps it will become clearer which areas are highlighted as a proposed cost-cutting initiative and provide an objective evaluation of the real cost that are likely to be saved upon completion. Trying to cut print & postal costs through any of the suggestions outlined above will inevitably challenge what might be well-established business processes. Making the CFO your friend will provide you with a key ally should you need to fight an internal battle to realise the savings you know can be made.

The Altus Free Postal Audit & Consultation

We offer you a free audit and consultation to help you understand where you can make efficiency gains in your print and post operation. We’ll analyse and benchmark your current spend whilst offering some free advice on how to reduce this spend.  Get in contact today. Gary Sweeney About Gary Sweeney, Managing Director Gary Sweeney founded Altus in 2003 with the vision of redefining print & postal management. Prior to starting Altus, Gary held senior positions at Royal Mail Group. He is viewed as the leading go-to person for organisations who want to change their print & postal strategies, and cost reduction specialist in the global postal market.

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