In-Plant vs Outsourcing Transactional Printing

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InfoTrends follows transactional printing in multiple ways. The consulting team works with transactional printers to benchmark performance against leaders while the market research team studies outsourcing and in-plant production trends. The market research is offered to the Document Outsourcing Consulting Group and summarized in the U.S. Document Outsourcing Market Forecast: 2013-2018.
The latest update was recently released and continues to provide insight into the decision to continue inplant production or to outsource. Here is a brief snapshot of the trends impacting both sides:
The main trends impacting in-plant transactional printing include:

  • Declining print volumes: The transition to e-delivery continues. Print volumes will decline over the forecast period, leading to lower revenue from printing services.
  • Increasing interest in off-site production: Between desires to reclaim square footage and gain access to new technologies, enterprises are increasingly exploring shifting print services to off-site print facilities.

While the primary trends impacting off-site transactional printing include:

  • Revenue per customer in decline: Pricing pressures are decreasing the revenue that providers are seeing per customer. Nevertheless, providers are simultaneously seeing an uptick in volume in some industries, enabling many to recoup any lost revenue from these pricing pressures.
  • Regulatory and compliance factors: One of the top challenges cited by enterprises was staying in-line with regulatory and compliance factors. Enterprises will increasingly seek to outsource their operations to remain compliant.

Two survey questions from the latest survey provide insight into the in-plant versus outsourcing decision. The first question asked participants was, “What drivers would influence your decision to outsource your printing to an external provider?” The number one answer, which had twice the responses of the next most popular answer, was better pricing.
The second question requires some background information. One concern for companies providing printed bills and statements is the shift to electronic alternatives or paperless versions. While many experts had predicted a rapid transition to electronic alternatives, the migration from printed and mail to electronic has been slower than expected.
When transactional printers are asked, “Why aren’t you achieving your paperless adoption targets?” the number one answer is “compliance concerns” and the number two answer is, “restrictions by regulations in our industry.”
In other words, there are regulations about information disclosure such Gramm-Leach-Bliley Act (GLBA) and Health Insurance Portability and Accountability Act (HIPPA) which may still hold the institution responsible or liable for disclosure issues, even if the work was outsourced resulting in the wrong name printed or wrong sheets stuffed into an envelope.
The greatest transactional printer mystery, however, may come from our consulting team.  According to our consulting work, these regulatory and compliance concerns have pushed transactional printers in opposite directions; for some it motivates them to continue in-plant production and for others it motivates them to outsource.

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