The latest offshore frontier: printing

A new study says the global spread of the Internet and production technologies such as full-color offset printing allow offshore printers to look beyond their borders for print work.


What's the latest industry facing a challenge from foreign competitors? Printing, according to a new study from market analysis firm Strategies for Management. The study argues that until recently, factors such as offshore print quality, turnaround times and shipping costs made submitting and managing cross-border print work difficult. "Now there are numerous technological and economic factors reducing the barriers U.S. print buyers experience sending work overseas," the report said.

The study said buyers find that the combination of Internet connectivity and "PDF workflows" make job submission and management with offshore vendors easier. (PDF refers to the widespread Portable Document Format.)

In addition, foreign printers are providing U.S. clients average price savings from 30 percent to 50 percent (including shipping), principally derived from lower labor costs, according to the report.

China has increased its U.S. print exports by 243.9% since 1996, the study said. It calls India an "up-and-coming competitor" because "much of its workforce is well educated and fluent in English."

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