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Cost Savings Series: GANGING!

Gigi Shanahan Gigi Shanahan Production Director

Week three of our cost savings blog series kicks off with one of our Production Directors, Gigi Shanahan!  Gigi is tackling the topic of ganging and how you can take advantage of cost savings by looking at your program differently.

Tip #1: Explore gang printing options across all of your programs.

One of the quickest ways to find cost savings through ganging is to make sure you are looking at your program holistically and searching for shared components/specs across your various programs.  Do you print common sized envelopes in your acquisition, renewal, planned giving and acknowledgements?  Have you thought about printing them all at the same time?  It’s easy to fall into the trap of seeing each mailing and each program as a separate entity – especially when budgets and teams are separate.  But cost savings can come when you take advantage of the volume of printing you need to do and find commonalities between them.

Who can benefit: Anyone who is running multiple programs.  Best for generic elements that will not need personalization.

Things to remember: Make note of where your mailshop is – if pieces will be delivering to different parts of the country, any cost savings gained through ganging maybe lost in logistics costs.  For best results, make sure your production team has verified those additional costs before you decide to pursue ganging your whole program together.

Tip #2: Gang mail packages.

When working on your mail plan, its best to understand how the number of packages can influence your pricing and if there are ways to combine packages together to gain cost savings.    So what makes up a package?  It is the combination of individual unique elements (envelopes, letters, inserts, etc) and postage treatments (stamp, meter, first class, non-profit, etc).   And a change to any one of those pieces means you are creating a new package.  Change the reply envelope from a BRE to a Stamped RE and you have a new package.  Change the 8.5 x 11 letter to a 8.5 x 14 letter/reply and you have a new package.  (Changing the personalization of an element may or may not cause you to need a new package)  Cost savings can come when you have fewer packages as the mail shop can set up their machines once to run more names vs setting up multiple times with less names.

Who can benefit: Anyone running multiple similar packages.

Things to remember: Work with your production team to better understand how your packages are assembled and how you may be able to make small shifts that would allow you to combine existing packages together.  And test!  This is a great way to see if your assumptions about why a package works are correct or not.

Tip #3: Tweak envelope sizing to make them common across mailings.  

While changing the size of your envelopes to a standard size will be more cost effective, this is about finding commonalities across mailings.  RE’s are a popular place where a small tweak can allow you to print in bulk for multiple mailings.   So let’s look at a mailing schedule over 6 months:

  • January – #10
  • February – #10
  • March – 6 x 9
  • April  – #10
  • May – #10
  • June – 6 x 9

In this scenario, you would need different sized RE’s for the #10’s and the 6 x 9 packages.  However, you making one small tweak – changing the sizing from a #9 (typically used to fit the #10 but will not fit into a 6 x 9) to a #8 5/8 – allows you to use the same RE size for all of the packages.  The RE is still large enough to hold the reply comfortably and will fit into each of the 2 packages thus allowing you to gang print all of the RE’s at the same time.

Who can benefit: Anyone with multiple (but somewhat similar) outer envelope sizing.

Things to consider: Always make sure that you are testing the size of the reply will still fit into a (potentially) smaller envelope by creating a mock-up.  Your supplier or production partner should be able to help with this.

Join us next week as Business Development Director, Meredith Piemme, talks about how to save money on paper! And if you are interested in a program audit, Production Solutions would be happy to help. Don’t hesitate to reach out for more information.

About the Author

Gigi Shanahan
Gigi Shanahan Production Director

Gigi, a resilient leader, is a Production Director and has been serving with PS since 2012. Gigi has been in the industry for over 30 years. She spent 10 years in print sales, has seven years of agency experience as a Production Director before joining the PS team, and worked eight years as a Customer Service Director/Production Director in printing and mailshop facilities. Gigi has a business management background, and her growth mindset, optimism and ability to provide opportunities and empower her colleagues adds tremendous value to the PS team. 

Gigi says that her dog, Max, lives in the “lap of luxury,” whom she enjoys spending time with. Some of her favorite pastimes include golfing, skiing and wine tasting.