reduce lead time for printing projects

Despite what you may have heard, print is not dead. In fact, using traditional printing methods may be the most cost-effective solution for your business or organization to produce a large number of high-quality duplicates. Unfortunately, many businesses and organizations do not take advantage of the benefits available to them by using a commercial printer. This is due to their expectation that when outsourcing their printing it will introduce long lead times and additional costs. This doesn’t have to be the case, especially since much of the opportunity for reducing your lead time and costs are under your control.   

Here are 7 ways for you to help reduce the lead time of your printing project:


1)  Do Your Homework, Be Prepared

Know what you need to know and be prepared to share the details of your printing project with your commercial printer when you meet to discuss the project. Your Account Rep can be a big differentiator for you and can take a lot of work off your plate, but the more informed you are the better. Start with the following information at a minimum. 

  • What is the source file, e.g. printed original, PDF file, Photoshop file, nothing but an idea that needs to be designed, etc.
  • Size/dimensions of the project to be printed.
  • How many colors will the project be? 1, 2, or 4 colors. 
  • When specific ink colors are required be sure to list the Pantone color identification code.
  • Do you have a specific paper stock, finish, and/or weight in mind for your project?
  • Do you have expectations for finishing such as scoring, folding, perforations, die-cutting, soft-touch coating?
  • Quantities to be printed.

Knowing these project realities upfront will help to ensure that your project gets rolling quickly.  


2) Send Final Documents That Are Print Ready 

It is critical to the accuracy and lead time of your print project that you send print-ready materials to your commercial print vendor from the start of your project. Sending the wrong versions or file types will cause your printing project to be delayed. By “print-ready” we mean that you are sending your document in a PDF format with an outlined font, high-quality images, and correct trim/bleed areas.  Not sure if your documents are print-ready? Contact your local printing company for assistance.   


3) Upload Your Print Ready Files To Your Commercial Printer’s Designated Location 

Most commercial printers have an established upload portal for production files to enter their pre-flight and production processes. Ask your Account Rep. or check your vendor’s website for a link that says something similar to “upload your files here”. Nothing delays your lead time like lost or missing files.  


4) Be Specific With Ink Colors 

If your designer has requested specific colors for the project design, be sure to provide the corresponding Pantone Identification codes with the project notes.   


5) Unique Projects Typically Endure Delays

If possible, stay with standard sizes, house stocks, and inks. When you choose non-standard stocks and inks you increase the risk of delays. This is even more critical today (2021) with the supply chain issues resulting from the COVID 19 Pandemic.  


6) Always Double-Check Your Work

It may appear obvious, but the number of people who do not check their work is quite high. No one is immune from making mistakes and your printing vendor is responsible only for reproducing the content as it was delivered to them. Double-check your work.   


7) Utilize Your Vendor’s Fulfillment Services

Allow your commercial printer to handle your fulfillment as well, such as sorting, packing, and distribution. Using the in-house fulfillment solutions of your commercial printer saves you time by eliminating the time between your printer and your mailroom or shipping vendor.  


Commercial Printing Company Near You

Graphics Universal Inc. is your local commercial printing company that can support all your printing needs from one location. If a tight deadline is approaching for your next print project, give our team a call at (717) 597-3108 or contact us online.