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Most publishers are finalizing their 2013 manufacturing budgets at this time with an eye on including realistic projections for printing, paper and postage costs.
Most manufacturing budgets will include an annual Consumer Price Index in- crease. The CPI has not exceeded 2 percent through September 2012 and this should be a realistic number to include in budget forecasts.
There is still capacity at many publications printers and this means competitive pricing during an RFP process. An incumbent printer is likely to provide pricing incentives including an early renewal offer, while other printers will come in with very attractive pricing in the hopes of winning the bid process. This is still a very good time to consider going out to bid if you have not been through this process in the past three years.
Digital printing continues to improve in quality and pricing. Many printers are in- stalling state-of-the-art digital presses that can produce work that is close to offset print quality. The price point for small print runs under 1,000 copies is very competitive and worth pursuing.
The paper mills passed on a text paper increase at the beginning of Q4. This in- crease should be the base paper pricing for 2013 budgets. It is possible that paper prices may drop during Q1 as capacity in the market opens up. Including one 4 per- cent paper increase in Q3 is a realistic way to approach paper pricing. Continue to ask printers for quarterly paper updates in order to keep 2013 projections up to date.
The Postal Service has filled a price change of 2.56 percent to take effect on Jan. 27.. All reports show that this increase should be approved by the Postal Regulatory Commission. This increase should be applied to February or March issues de- pending on the mail schedule.
Harap is the president of Production Matters, a consulting firm that provides evaluation, management and problem-solving services related to publications production and printing. Contact her at email@example.com.