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Pushing the Envelope Beyond Ordinary

Rush My Envelope Order Please

Posted by Jerry Velona on Feb 23, 2015 12:38:00 PM

harried worker Elite Envelpe & Graphics

Is there another way to express, “music to my ears?”  Yes, I know; the world moves too fast these days. When was the last time you took a nap? Or had an actual coffee break – not just slurping it down before it gets cold while you crank out more work but actually sitting apart from your desk or car and taking an occasional sip as you converse with a colleague?  Sounds positively quaint doesn’t it?  There must be a Normal Rockwell depiction of that somewhere in his oeuvre.

The frenetic pace of life in the modern post-industrial world has been dissected at great length so I won’t belabor that. The point here is; we need to deal with it. As businesspeople, we cannot choose the conditions under which we compete. We must simply compete in order to remain viable. Competition for customers drives the market. And these days, customers are not in a waiting mood. Why? Well mostly because businesses of all types are doing their best to provide instant gratification wherever possible. And if your business won’t, someone else probably will so you better figure it out.

Probably the only people who still have coffee breaks are unionized government employees who have them written into their work rules. Now we’ll play that game: “which of these things is not like the other?” The answer to this one is pretty easy – civil servants don’t have to compete. The services they provide (to the extent they provide them) are monopolies.  Try getting a driver’s license anywhere besides the Registry of Motor Vehicles.  (OK, the registry is low-hanging fruit but it does illustrate the point). Just come back when break time is over pal! Those of us in the private, competitive sector are forced to satisfy the demands of the customer or face losing that customer.

For the past thirty-five plus years I’ve been purchasing, selling or supplying printed forms and envelopes. In the early 1980’s, hardly antediluvian, it wasn’t uncommon for a vendor to have a 2-3 week lead time for a routine printed item; like, say a mortgage application or some such. This was acceptable in most cases. Now, unless you’re talking about a custom job, you’d get the e mail equivalent of stink-eye from any customer to whom you gave such a production estimate. Quite simply no one can wait that long anymore. The irony in the world of print is that there is less volume of print being consumed which you’d think might mitigate toward even longer acceptable lead times. No such luck!

It’s really just a function of the juiced up society in which we live. I find it somewhat amusing when I watch my teenage daughter get annoyed by having to wait half a minute for something to download. Yes, it’s tough when you have the entire world at your fingertips.  And business functions in this world, whether we like it or not so we must adapt and be nimble.

As for me, I welcome these constant customer demands for virtually instant gratification. It creates opportunity for advantage to smaller businesses which can adapt to change more easily. It also places a premium on highly capable and skilled customer service staff who can make things happen quickly and efficiently. Such things provide distinct value to the customer who resides in the same demanding world and appreciates a company that can solve his problem rapidly thereby making him look good.  This pretty much describes Elite Envelope and has been an important factor in our growth and success.

Rush orders – bring ‘em!  Yes, music to my ears. What might be the theme song for rush orders?  “I’m in a Hurry” by Alabama?  “Russian Folk Song”?  OK, time to sign off!  Let me know if you have any song titles or any comments in general. They are always much appreciated.

Topics: elite envelope, envelope printing, envelope converting, web printing, rush envelope orders

Rush Deliveries – bane or boon?

Posted by Jerry Velona on Feb 13, 2012 10:49:00 AM

According to Wikipedia (the ship that helped launch a thousand blogs) the first recorded mention of the Latin phrase tempus fugit was from the Roman poet Virgil who wrote: Sed fugit interea fugit irreparabile tempus, singula dum capti circumvectamur amore, which means, "But meanwhile it flees: time flees irretrievably, while we wander around, prisoners of our love of detail." We generally use the phrase to mean “time flies”; one of the most common expressions in American English and certainly one of the most apt in these times.

The printing business, including of course the envelope printing business has changed a lot over the past 20 years.  When I started in envelope sales in 1988, my company was still making rubber plates for flexo printing. All offset printing had to start with film which was cut and “stripped” to a “flat” that was then used to burn the image onto the printing plate.  The phrase “camera-ready art” was still widely in use. Today when you hear someone say that, to put it charitably it indicates they’ve been in the industry for a while.

While the pace of technology-driven change in printing is probably not as great as in many other fields, it has had the effect of accelerating the production process. Increased productivity has been a good thing; allowing us to produce more in less time and thus stay competitive and viable. However it’s also increased the customer expectations for quick turnaround on most jobs. Another indication of someone who’s been in the industry a long time is when they mention the fact that getting two or three weeks to deliver a print order used to be fairly commonplace.  Ah yes, the “good old days”!

With so much of the commercial landscape catering to the customer’s demand for instant gratification, there’s no way for printers and envelope manufacturers to escape. In order to survive, we must be able to pivot quickly and adapt to this reality. There’s something to be said for the notion that a quality product takes time to produce. That’s still true as far as it goes. It’s also true however that you’d better be able to make that quality product in as little time as possible in order to win the order.

The advent of digital technology has allowed printers to produce reasonably high quality process printing in a shorter time frame by eliminating the lengthy pre-press process. In the world of envelope printing, where the vast majority of the jobs are still printed either flexo or offset, this is not as easy. At Elite Envelope, we have analyzed each step of the manufacturing and printing processes in order to make them as efficient as possible. We also make full use of direct-to-plate set up which has saved us lots of time on the front end.

Ultimately, instead of grousing about it, we need to embrace this trend in our industry and take it as a challenge and impetus to work a little smarter and be more productive. In order for the printing and envelope industry to survive, there is no other way.   Don’t allow your company to become a “prisoner of the love of detail”. Virgil would approve!

By the way; sometimes rush deliveries can be a little too rushed as the picture below shows! Insuring your packages can't hurt I suppose.

rush delivery gone bad resized 600

Topics: elite envelope, printing and envelopes, envelope manufacturer, printed envelopes, Rush deliveries, rush envelope orders

Yet Another Blog Post

From Jerry Velona - co-owner,

Elite Envelope & Graphics, Inc.

Jerry offers pertinent, often useful information on envelope converting and printing, web printing, direct mail, the post office, songs that have to do with mail and letters, digital overload and much more!

(Non-spam) Comments always appreciated.  Spread it around!

 

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