Here are a couple of real-time examples of how to achieve cost savings on your next envelope project.

Specialty Envelopes

A customer asked us to quote a special size expansion envelope on Herculink stock. (Herculink is a durable, tear and water resistant material similar to Tyvek.  It has reinforcement threads running through it which show on the outside of the envelope but is generally a less expensive alternative). The customer’s sample measures 9 ½ x 12 ½ x 1 ½.  They are using it to mail a large number of letter size sheets for compliance purposes. The customer’s main complaint is waiting 6 weeks for this item to be produced. They use approximately 7,000 per month.

We were able to make two suggestions which they found helpful. First; we suggested switching to the closest standard size which was 10 x 13 x 1 ½. That cut their lead time to less than two weeks. The size they were currently using wasn’t absolutely critical and other than the fact that the papers would move a little more in the larger size, it wouldn’t make a difference.  Secondly, we suggested they consider ordering a six month supply (14,000) and storing half with us. That enabled them to significantly lower their unit cost (per thousand) while having a supply available for immediate shipment when required.

Envelope Printing

We were asked to produce a 6 x 9 booklet style envelope with two-color printing on both sides. The customer’s creative team came up with a design and he sent it to me to review prior to ordering.

Everything looked great but I noticed that a certain graphic image on the back of the envelope appeared to extend underneath the flap. When I questioned this, I was told that yes, this is how they designed it.

I explained that having the image extend underneath the flap required that the envelope be printed in a different and much more expensive way. We quoted the job to print on one of our Jet presses which can take a stock, pre-made envelope and print on both sides at the same time (known as “perfecting” in the printing trade).  The envelopes come out of the box with the flaps folded down which means that printing underneath the flap is not possible in that method.  The only way to get the image under the flap was to print the job on flat sheets and then convert (fold and glue) into envelopes after the fact.  That is commonly done but would have increased the cost of the job significantly.

When I pointed this out to the customer, he said that having the image go under the flap wasn’t critical and altered the artwork to stop it 1/16” short of the flap. That allowed us to print it on the Jet as we quoted.

What’s the take-away from these examples?

  1. Use a standard size product whenever possible. That will almost always be less expensive than a custom size.
  2. Instead of just reordering the same item time after time, take a look at each project anew when it comes up. Sometimes things are ordered and reordered for no particular reason other than “it’s always done that way”. Slight changes in design or size can sometimes result in big savings.
  3. Ask your envelope supplier (preferably a converter or direct source) to suggest possible ways to cut your costs. You might be surprised with the options that are available.
  4. Envelope printing can be tricky with various things to consider: bleeds, coverage, seam marks, offsetting, etc. Sending a file to your envelope converter for prior review is always a good idea if possible.