We have all witnessed the meteoric rise and now, slow reduction of corrugated box pricing, but what has gone relatively unnoticed is the dramatic cost increase (without any decrease) in pre-production tooling, including print plates and cutting dies.
E-commerce Packaging and Tooling.
Whether you are a start-up company, launching a new product line, or an established company introducing a new product, new configuration, or needing to make a size adjustment to their existing packaging, tooling can be a major hurdle to overcome.
Today print plates and cutting dies can be a major expense. For example, a project with two color printing, inside and outside on a mailer box (4 print plates total), and requiring a new cutting die, could end up costing well over $3,000 for prepress tooling alone. That is a lot of money if you are just getting started or working on a tight packaging budget for a yet, unproven product.
DTC Packaging Stock Cutting Dies.
We currently have well over 200 cutting dies available including some of the most popular commonly used e-commerce sizes. Tell us what size you are looking for and we’ll tell you the closest sizes we have in stock that you can use at no cost. Sometimes we have a good size available for you and other times we don’t. What we won’t do is recommend a size that is too big for you because we know shipping, storage and other related costs will end up more expensive than they should be. For over a decade, we have been fighting the battle against oversizing packaging and in favor of right sizing. See first related post below.
Reducing the Cost of Print Plates.
Unfortunately, there is no such thing as stock, available print plates but there are ways to minimize that expense as well. Quite often we review a customer’s artwork and realize by making a small change in the way the graphics are laid out can help us eliminate or greatly reduce the plate cost. Graphic artists are terrific in creating the design but may not be familiar with the printing process or its limitations.
One of the things we do better than most is utilizing overprints that allow us to use a matte plate for a background or preprinting that base or background color. Our matte plates are a stock item and are available for you to use for free. For example, a background of light blue and an over print of dark blue over it, or a yellow background with a gray over print. There are several options and things we can do to help you minimize your pre-press expenses.
Consider Container Design Alternatives.
One such money saving option is utilizing an RSC box rather than a die cut mailer. We recently had a project for a very large and tall die cut mailer. The box, the print plates and the cutting die were going to incredibly expensive. We recommended an RSC at approximately one-half of the cost of a die cut mailer. In addition, an RSC typically does not require a cutting die, and the print plates are considerably less expensive. That is what we call a win-win-win DTC packaging solution.
Free Print Plates and Cutting Dies?
The simple answer is “we never say never”. There are many factors to be considered, such as total tooling costs, order size, overall volume, etc. but some situations we have been able to participate in part or in whole, in this cost. Do you qualify for free or reduced cost tooling? Maybe, ask us so we can determine how we can work together to get this accomplished.
Call us at 630-551-1700 to discuss your specific situation and needs. You can also contact us through this website. We believe every situation, application, and customer is unique, so we are committed to creating unique solutions to serve you.