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Though I saw it all around
Never thought I could be affected
Thought that we'd be the last to go
It is so strange the way things turn

Monday, December 7, 2009

Quoting and the economics of disaster

Printing is a competitive business. Cut-throat is the "nice" mood. Lately, however, we're going up against quotes that are less than our paper costs for the same job. I don't think anybody is getting their paper for better costs than we do. And it's not like we're quoting against differing technologies (such as sheet-fed versus web for 100,000 40 page catalogs, yeah, the web press is going to kick our butts). Even if we were competing against printers in different markets (we're less than NYC and Chicago printers, and probably Cincinnati, but we're probably a little more than St. Louis) I can understand. Note to competition, cutting your own throat to win work to keep cash flow while sacrificing, okay, obliterating the chance of profit (well, I guess negative profit is still a profit level) all on the hope you may get continuing business (ha! Have you looked at our marketplace lately?) once this economy turns around will only lead to everybody dying. You suck money away from businesses trying to make a go of it while damaging the pricing expectations of the market. And yes, pricing below paper costs (forget ink, labor time, production/finishing, wear and tear, etc) is one sure way to the grave. I just wish you weren't taking the rest of us with you.

Want and example? Look at the Akron Printing Marketplace. What market, you may ask? You're right about that one. They're almost all gone. Even the victors. A cold wind disturbs the dust on the presses cold-welding solid in darkened plants down in Akron. That's a business disease you don't want to infect your own market.

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