Printing overseas is far simpler than I’d ever imagined.

Up until recently I’d never considered printing anything overseas – with concerns over quality, and the hassle of doing business over long distances (something akin to a long distance relationship). I’ve always taken the attitude that it’s far simpler to deal with UK-based printers. It turns out I’ve been wrong all these years!

Every year, we print a leading university’s post-graduate prospectus; it’s a chunky 144 page perfect bound document which we’ve always had printed by a local firm in Norfolk. Having a locally-based printer has its advantages, not least the convenience of being able to pop down the road to press pass a job or talk through an important issue.

This year however, we were told to find an Indian printer to do the job. Oh crikey. Where to start? Here are some of the key steps to identifying and working with an Indian printer…

1. Do your due diligence

Research the market, identify suitable firms, request print samples and references. Websites are always a good place to get a feel for a firms clients and capabilities; as are industry journals such as Print Week India. See what awards they’ve won too and look for any news on investments or expansion.

2. Do a site visit

Identify 2 or 3 quality firms and arrange onsite visits – this is time consuming but an absolute must (flights are pretty reasonable these days and accommodation in India is cheap too). It’s important to get a feel of the company, staff and their way of doing business. During these visits it’s also useful to go through any print specs in more detail to make sure the required standards are adhered to.

3. Agree a price

Get a price from at least 3 printers so that you have something to compare against; agree the best price with the best quality outfit.

4. Agree spec and purchase order

Make sure everything is written down and formalised in a purchase order – from the type of paper to the different finishing options, all need to be detailed. Agree which currency will be used too.

5. Proofing

Make sure you request printed proofs to check against, and wet proofs for colour critical jobs.

6. Press pass

If you can, make sure you’re at the first print run to pass the job on press.

7. Quality check before final payment

You’ll be asked to pay a deposit, usually 50% but don’t pay the remaining 50% until you’re happy with the end product.

8. Delivery

The printers I dealt with were happy to organise all the import paperwork and freight handling side of things, ensuring that items cleared customs quickly and efficiently.

So, what are the benefits of printing in india?

Cost-saving is the obvious one, with savings of between 20% and 30% easily achievable – even when factoring in the cost of shipping to the UK and flights out there for site visits. The savings are most evident though on large runs – where costs run into tens of thousands of pounds, significant savings can be realised.

Indian printers speak great English too so language isn’t a barrier.

They’re also happy to quote in Sterling, negating any concerns over currency fluctuations.

They are prompt and efficient, capable of working to demanding deadlines.

Conclusion

The benefits, in my opinion, far outweigh any concerns. Although, you still need to proceed with caution – only deal with reputable printers, or, get someone like us to organise it for you, you’ll still be saving a pretty penny!

The Indian print industry

The Indian Printing Industry, growing at a rate of 12% per annum, comprises more than 250,000 big, small and medium printers turning over more than USD 11 Billion. Indian printers today are equipped with the latest computer controlled machines and flow lines for binding, while state-of-the-art digital technologies are used in pre-press. UV digital printing and inkjet technology are also on the rise.

For the foreseeable future, offset and digital will not only co-exist, but will also complement each other – with offset taking the medium-to-longer jobs and digital performing on short-to-medium run lengths. The booming Indian economy, increasing consumerism, entry of global brands and opening of the sector to foreign investors are bound to offer growth opportunities going forward.

My visit to India really did change my outlook on printing overseas, the quality and processes are just as good as any UK-based firm.