To Insource or Outsource: That is the Question

In a time of rapid digital transformation, changing consumption habits and an ever-increasing desire to add high quality colour into transactional communications, in-plant operations are faced with deeply compressed output volumes and limitations based on their equipment infrastructure. If this sounds like a front of mind topic, please keep reading!

In days gone by, the notion of an in-plant operation made financial and operational sense in almost all cases. Volumes were substantial and this led to a very compelling financial argument versus outsourcing to a third-party service provider. And, having operational control over known and predictable output strategies served to provide a consistent, trouble free ecosystem. The world has forever changed.

Each impression that is compressed due to transformation, habits and other factors directly affects the overall cost of running the in-plant. In fact, the are plenty of examples where compression has been so distinct that the cost of running in-plant versus outsourcing is 30% – 50% or more.

Compressed Volumes in general means this;

  • The in-plant is carrying too much real estate square footage for current demand.
  • With this, the costs of real estate, CAM, operating expenses etc. is disproportionate to need.
  • The in-plant is carrying a labour force that is too large for current demand. Often, organizations struggle with reducing or re-deploying the labour force.
  • The in-plant is carrying too much equipment for current demand. In equipment lease situations, this means that lease dollars aren’t being effectively utilized. Equally so, many lease agreements include a minimum number of “base” monthly impressions. If volumes are so low (which we have found to be the case many times), there is no positive financial extraction of these costs.
  • For organizations that own their equipment, the under utilization of this equipment results in a reality of aging equipment that will continue to lose it value and market appeal each year.
  • Other costs such as insurance, IT services infrastructure, management oversight and much more become a real burden in the cost equation.

An in-plant operation must remain current on its infrastructure and processes to enable 100% document integrity for content delivered to market either via a traditional mail stream or through digital delivery. This means a series of controls and technologies put in place to ensure that proper “stuffing” of content takes place.

In an ever-changing world rife with complications due to document security, in-plant operations must, among other things, maintain well fortified firewalls, enterprise grade end point protection, data at rest strategies and so much more. In short, the complexity of the modern world means that in-plant operations must pay a king’s ransom to provide basic infrastructure (even before production begins).

Aside from the natural impacts of compression as outline immediately above, running an in-plant significantly reduces product flexibility. Otherwise said, if an in-plant is designed to produce black / white statements, it becomes a monumental task for the in-plant to address changing needs of the business (for example the addition of colour to statement, or perhaps changing a size format). Relevant third party service providers thrive because they have a well designed blend of services to address a very wide and deep range of customer requirements that range form black and white to colour, cut sheet to roll and more….. in short, the third-party service provider carries the burden of infrastructure and relevance to evolving market requirements.

We can help! Gilmore Doculink has decades of production experience and equally so, of assisting customers from an inhouse to outsource migration. The beauty is that the burden of relevance sits with us (equipment infrastructure, data security infrastructure, document integrity infrastructure) so that you can focus on your core mission.

Stan Papadimitriou
Content Delivery Expert
Gilmore Doculink