These days, remaining competitive in the graphics market takes more than being fast and cheap. Fulfillment offers a new way to not only stay ahead, but also to stand out among the crowd.
At Pratt, fulfillment is one of the tools in use to cement the connections the company has with its customers. Gelsomino says part of fostering positive relations is finding other areas where you may be able to help customers be more efficient or effective. “Yes, it is profitable for us to be in the fulfillment business,” he admits. “But even more importantly, it strengthens the relationship and trust between partners. Everything comes alive with a great fulfillment program for the client.”
Warehousing, packing, and distributing flat graphics and display components may not be the most glamorous of jobs, but print providers are sometimes approached with requests that are unusual enough to warrant considering them for inclusion among other fulfillment offerings. For example, printers may be asked to manage items they had no hand in producing.
“Trash cans,” Henry says. “If the client needs us to warehouse or inventory their trash cans for them and then accurately ship out the right number of cans to each location, we will assist them with fulfillment of those items. Of course, we won’t do that for just any client. When we go outside of the realm of what do in inventory and warehousing, it has to be a sizable account.”
One of Pro-Screen’s clients sends a truck to the plant each month to deliver food for distribution to end users. Leary says the company prints the banners for the customer and then packages and ships the edible goods along with the related graphics to a variety of sports teams.
“Their distribution center is really good at getting the food to the stores, but they could never get the food, containers, and all the other stuff they provide these clubhouse guys and trainers delivered on time,” he explains. “These food products are brought to us because our shipping and fulfillment departments have become so valuable to that customer.”
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