Retail Client Achieves 65% Lower Costs and Half the Turn Time

Design for Retail Client

A design our team created for this client

We support several retail clients and their print design needs: in-store signage, flyers and image editing for product images on their websites are some typical products we work on. One of our clients is a leading grocery and pharmacy retailer with 2,500 stores, 140,000 employees and several well-known brands. In addition, the client also provides supply chain and business services to another 2,200 independent retailers. 

Cost Pressure and Inefficiency

In an innovative move designed to reduce costs, our client centralized production for the retail chains so all requests would come through corporate headquarters for better control and standardization. Yet they still needed a better way to provide support, reduce turn times and improve communication with external customers and internal design functions.

The company was outsourcing to a U.S.-based company, but the service was expensive and not meeting all their needs in the creative services segment. The company needed more productivity, lower costs and greater value for their investment.

As a result, the retailer made another breakthrough and decided to become one of the early adopters in the retail industry of business process outsourcing for advertising and media. The company selected Affinity Express, based on our reputation for transforming production for our clients, to build and operate an optimized onsite, onshore and offshore delivery platform, customized to meet the requirements of the client.

Working with Affinity Express

Key managers from Affinity Express and the client joined forces to define efficient processes and develop an approach that would blend offshore, onshore and onsite resources.

Based on this partnership, today Affinity Express has a team of ten dedicated desktop designers offshore and two on-site traffic coordinators. The placement of team members onsite improves communication, facilitates gathering of complete information and delivers schedules that are essential to the production team. Traffic coordinators essentially serve as a bridge between internal and outsourced resources.

To integrate easily into the production workflow, Affinity Express became a a working node on the client network. The traffickers and offshore production employees log into the client’s document repository system, making integration an easy part of the production workflow. No technology purchases were needed to support connectivity and on-boarding was quick and seamless within the client’s existing operating environment.

Our on-site staff trains the client team and requestors to provide detailed instructions and use the workflow effectively, which results in high levels of customer satisfaction.

Currently, we handle page assembly for in-store signs, marketing communications and shelf tags. Our team creates about 90 projects per day, which amounts to approximately 1,000 jobs per week (each project will range from a simple ad to complex multi-piece).

The relationship continues to grow as we partner with the client to improve coordination of processes and expand to support additional areas within the creative services division of the client. These services are visible to the entire client management team, up to the president of the company.

65% Lower Costs, Half the Turn Time

Another premedia design for retail client

Another pre-media design for our retail client

In the past two years, the client has saved 65% on operating expenses by using our services. Furthermore, we have cut turn times for pagination in half—from four to two days.

Because there are seasonal highs and lows, we deliver on our promise of scalability. In fact, in the months of March through May, the average monthly utilization was at 129%. The client has peace of mind because our team can absorb the excess volumes and there is no need to staff up for these busy times.

The client has achieved cost savings, faster turn times, lean processes and flexibility. Affinity Express has earned a happy client.

The Future

The relationship continues to grow as executives from both companies partner to drive even more benefits and expand to support additional areas of the company. Because these services are core to the retailer’s business, they are visible to the entire client management team up to the president of the company.

Affinity Express and the client are engaged in discussions around expanding print pre-media services and interactive production services, an area that is growing rapidly. Specific projects include:

  1. Combining production of marketing communications and in-store with that for the retailer group to achieve additional synergies
  2. Blending and streamline circular production for the independent and retailer groups to enable the client to achieve 40% more in savings
  3. Testing design of  a range of interactive services such as HTML emails for the client

Ultimately, these two leaders are committed to paving the way and driving continued innovation in pre-media services for retailers. The rest of the industry is watching.

About Kelly Glass
Kelly has been vice president of Marketing at Affinity Express for nine years now. She drives company strategy and all marketing activities.

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