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Have you ever heard of calendar ganging, and were not sure what it means? Do you want to learn if joining our calendar gang and finding cost savings for your program is something you are interested in for the future? Look no further!
The calendar gang process begins with PS discovering if you are interested in participating. Once we have an idea of the approximate quantity of clients that have chosen to participate, and approximately how many calendars will be printed for each client, we can start to build the gang.
So, what does “ganging” mean? This is running similar calendars using the same basic specs: including size and paper stocks. When clients have similar specs, this works out because all calendars can go on the press together, with each org’s calendar printing different art. The vendor swaps out the plates, in between clients, allowing different art to be printed all while the same press is constantly running for all of the clients ganged together.
For the typical PS calendar gang, the specs are 8 3/8 x 10 1/2, 28 pages total including the cover, which is 4 pages, with the body of the calendar being on a different paper stock than the cover of the calendar. The cover stock is typically on 100 pound, grade #3. The text is currently 70 pound, grade #3, meaning the cover is a thicker, heavier stock than the body of the calendar. If there is a calendar that needs to be printed on different papers, we can run them outside of the gang or even find another client to gang with the different specs – this is one of the huge advantages of PS having a large number of clients who participate in the calendar program each year!
Next in the calendar gang process, the client needs to commit to a certain quantity of calendars so that we can order paper for the calendars – This is usually the first commitment date on the schedule. The second date you will need to commit to is the LDC date, which is the “last day to change”. At this point, you are committed to ordering a specific quantity of a certain type of paper. This time frame between dates – usually a month – is a huge help when a client’s strategy changes, and they would like to reduce or cancel the number of calendars that they have previously committed to.
Next on the schedule is the due date for each clients’ art. During this pre-production process, the vendor prints hard copy color proofs (for color verification), and paper proofs (for content and layout but not color). Typically, the client will need to approve those proofs within several days to keep the schedules moving. Then, it goes to press and is out of our hands! After printing, the vendor binds the calendar pages together (see our recent blog on binding, here!). The vendor then ships the calendars to the mailshop and the mailshop mails the calendars out to the list provided.
Additional information that PS needs from the client in the calendar gang process is the desired mail date, whether your calendar will include any bind-ins (like envelopes), any ancillary info (like shipping to locations other than the mailshop), who is getting proofs, who is approving them, and how many proofs need to be sent. Your PS Account Manager will be communicating all of this information along the way from you to the vendor and mailshop. PS keeps the client in the know throughout the entire process and is in constant contact with you. Your account team will provide schedules, updates on the process of the calendar printing and delivering, and all costs associated with the job.
The main benefit of a gang print for most clients is the cost savings. The process of setting up the print job and running the presses can be very expensive if done for a single calendar – running multiple versions together allows each client to share those costs – essentially breaking down the cost of running the job between all who are ganging together. The other benefits are that gang printing gives you access to specific vendors that you may not work with if you are the only one printing – allowing PS to utilize large printing manufacturers even for small calendar runs. In today’s market, ganging also gives you buying power. Paper is difficult to get right now due to supply chain chaos, so ganging makes it more guaranteed that your calendar will be printed.
If you have any questions on calendar gangs and getting into our next one, please reach out to your PS contact. Stay tuned for our final Production 201 blog of the year coming next month!