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How to know what print solution is best for your shop

by Mike Herold
A critical question facing many rapidly growing businesses, especially those with a need to meet strict requirements imposed by clients or regulatory agencies, is whether to outsource printing requirements or tackle the work in-house.

​Urban Lending Solutions found a partner that could provide equipment to meet the capacity, quality, compliance and cost requirements of its large, sophisticated and highly regulated clientele.

If you’re struggling with this dilemma, you may find it helpful to examine the thought processes that went into one company’s decision.

Urban Lending Solutions (ULS), a title and settlement services provider, began operations in 2002. By 2014, ULS had grown so much that it was sending out more than two million documents a year – and those documents had to meet stringent service level agreements. The company prided itself on exceeding its SLAs, hitting 99% for print and ship timeliness each month.

To handle the transactional printing and fulfillment, the company relied on an outsourcing partner. With everything going smoothly, why would the company even consider radically changing its operational framework, a move that would require a very substantial investment?

The answer turned on the company’s knowledge of the industry. ULS eyed the future and predicted that the size and scope of its business would continue to grow rapidly. The leadership team took a deep breath and agreed that to ensure the highest level of document fulfillment services, ULS needed to take total control over its print operations and put all document production under its own roof.

That meant building a 25,000-square-foot facility and purchasing equipment capable of handling 1.8 million pages per day.

The first order of business was to select a partner that understood its market segment and could advise on technology and solutions; a partner that could provide equipment to meet the capacity, quality, compliance and cost requirements of its large, sophisticated and highly regulated clientele. Clearly this was no easy task. But it was one that ULS tackled with ease.

To help with their solution provider search, ULS evaluated the industry’s offerings with their exact needs in mind. Questions they asked themselves as they surveyed included:


  • Does this solution provider have the complete package of hardware and services solutions to address our needs for increase efficiencies and throughput?
  • Can their equipment support more frequent, shorter runs?
  • Does it have the architecture capable of handling large print file streams?
  • What are their SLAs related to security, reliability, audit readiness, etc.?
ULS embarked on a courageous path and realized success would depend on not just the right answers to above, but also on a knowledgeable company that understood the financial segment and print terrain intimately. Ultimately, they found the partner that suited their specific needs.

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By 2015, the company had opened a state of the art production facility, installed its print solution and now runs its own print shop with people who have a stake in the company’s success.

Each company has to decide on its own best print strategy. For ULS, the decision to control its own destiny, invest in a facility and equipment, explore ways to expand into other areas that could benefit its clients are keys that the company is confident will propel its growth in the financial marketing sector.
Mike Herold
Mike Herold is Director of Global Strategic Initiatives and Marketing for Inkjet Solutions at Ricoh Company, Ltd. with expertise in production printing technology. Herold has worked with printing solutions, ranging from print and color management and workflow software, to industrial printing solutions, and to a family of high-speed production inkjet solutions.