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This is Part 4 of a 4-part series on the benefits of a strategic supplier. Read More: Part 1: Why You Need a Supplier Who Has Your Back | Part 2: Why You Need an Innovative Supplier | Part 3: How a Strategic Supplier Saves Money


The COVID-19 supply chain crisis hit one of our customers hard, both for their internal business and major customers they served. Priority Envelope was there to help our customer overcome supply chain issues and meet their production needs.

Business is never without risk, of course, but a strategic supplier can help you mitigate risk. Here’s why you should consider your strategic supplier an insurance policy for success.

1. Trusted Quality

The last thing you want is to develop a winning direct-mail marketing campaign only to have it foiled by poor-quality envelopes no one opens.

A strategic supplier doesn’t take shortcuts to meet demand. They know what they are doing and offer quality you can trust.

Strategic suppliers:

  • Use quality materials, not second- or third-tier supplies
  • Have the right equipment to produce premium quality envelopes that command attention and get opened
  • Produce envelopes that are compatible with the inserting process, ensuring seamless production

2. Guaranteed Delivery

Missed deadlines can derail projects, especially for date-dependent mailers. Consider a mailer that must be delivered by a certain date. If the mailer lands in mailboxes after that date, an entire campaign could be wasted, with tens of thousands (or even millions) of dollars lost. A transactional supplier often can’t guarantee it will be delivered on or by the target date, but a strategic supplier can.

Strategic suppliers:

  • Can guarantee delivery
  • Understand what’s at stake
  • Protect your investment

3. Emergency Response

Nearly every business has faced a crisis: envelope shortages, misprints, and other emergencies that threaten to halt operations or waste investment.

A strategic supplier can offer robust emergency support services to get your projects back on track. When something inevitably goes wrong, you can count on your supplier to have your back, overcome unexpected obstacles, and influence success.

Strategic suppliers:

  • Provide rapid emergency response
  • Overcome unexpected challenges
  • Can save you from disaster

Consider how confident you are in your supplier’s ability to deliver premium quality envelopes on time, every time – then ask how helpful they’d be during an emergency. If you question their commitment to your business, it’s time to explore a strategic supplier who can serve as an insurance policy for your success.

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This is Part 3 of a 4-part series on the benefits of a strategic supplier. Read More: Part 1: Why You Need a Supplier Who Has Your Back | Part 2: Why You Need an Innovative Supplier | Part 4: How Strategic Suppliers Are Insurance Policies for Success


A customer came to us with a USPS mailer project. Since we continually monitor USPS changes, we instantly identified an opportunity to use a slightly different type of envelope that could save our customer significant money.

This story illustrates how strategic suppliers understand cost pressures and will recommend money-saving solutions that maximize ROI. Here are three ways a strategic envelope supplier can save your business money.

1. Proactively Recommend Money-Saving Measures

Where many suppliers view every customer as another transaction on their books, a strategic supplier serves as a consultant who leverages their experience to help you make the best decisions for your bottom line.

For example, the previous story shows how our expertise in cost factors can help our customers get discounts on USPS services – potentially saving tens of thousands of dollars for mass mailing campaigns.

Transactional suppliers, on the other hand, won’t take the time to identify cost-savings opportunities.

Strategic suppliers:

  • Serve as consultants
  • Know how minor changes can yield major discounts
  • Recommend ways to save

2. Balance Quality and Costs

That doesn’t mean strategic suppliers do not prioritize quality; it just means they know how to balance quality and costs.

For example, we recently recommended a customer shift from a cost prohibitive production process to flexography, which yielded envelopes that were nearly as good at a fraction of the cost.

It’s not about recommending the cheapest possible option. In many cases, the cheapest paper and window film won’t perform well, so it’s shortsighted to sell something that’s not good enough for the job just because it’s cheap. Strategic suppliers know that “cheap” options often cause expensive issues down the road, so they recommend quality solutions at cost-effective price points.

Strategic suppliers:

  • Balance quality and costs
  • Prevent expensive problems
  • Protect their customers

3. Long-Term Savings

Cost-saving strategies aren’t limited to one-off projects. Strategic suppliers can help their customers save over time, and those savings can add up to millions of dollars over the years.

Strategic suppliers can help you:

  • Obtain favorable pricing on bulk purchases
  • Plan long-term procurement strategies
  • Implement efficient production processes
  • Leverage economies of scale

As the term implies, strategic suppliers prioritize strategy, and an intelligent strategy means high-quality envelopes at reduced costs. Consider a strategic supplier as a tool you can use to maximize ROI.

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This is Part 2 of a 4-part series on the benefits of a strategic supplier. Read More: Part 1: Why You Need a Supplier Who Has Your Back | Part 3: How a Strategic Supplier Saves Money | Part 4: How Strategic Suppliers Are Insurance Policies for Success


A customer came to us with a beautifully designed envelope project; however, the processes required to produce the envelopes were cost prohibitive. We immediately identified an opportunity to use flexographic technology instead. Flexography could produce an envelope of similar quality at a fraction of the cost.

As the world continually evolves, it’s important to work with an innovative supplier who understands the current landscape and can serve as a growth partner for your business. Here are three reasons why you need an innovative supplier.

1. Modern Solutions

Innovative suppliers are in tune with the market. They study the latest trends to provide services that offer their customers competitive advantages.

They often introduce new capabilities, materials, and operational services, consistently seeking innovative ways to support their customers. They don’t sell off-the-shelf products; instead, they customize envelopes for each customer’s unique needs.

At a time when many suppliers are trying to get out of the litho convert and jet worlds to focus exclusively on flexographic, strategic suppliers offer their customers a vast array of capabilities that enable many different types of applications. They can produce envelopes others cannot.

Strategic suppliers:

  • Offer custom solutions to meet modern demands
  • Have vast capabilities
  • Provide a competitive advantage

2. State-of-the-Art Equipment

Innovative suppliers invest in their equipment. They have contemporary machines capable of producing modern envelope styles. They can add pull strings and tabs on the side, emboss envelopes, and add special perforations that qualify their customers for USPS discounts.

Innovative suppliers routinely maintain their equipment to ensure it produces the highest quality envelopes – and that envelopes work seamlessly with the inserting process. Where inferior envelopes can hamper production and delay processes, state-of-the-art envelopes are compatible with production processes and prevent problems.

Strategic suppliers:

  • Invest in their equipment
  • Produce premium quality envelopes
  • Streamline production and prevent problems

3. Sustainability

Many companies believe in corporate social responsibility. A strategic, innovative supplier can help you fulfill sustainability initiatives via recyclable materials, biodegradable window films, and in-house recycling programs.

Some suppliers belong to organizations such as the Sustainable Forestry Initiative and the Forest Stewardship Council, so they employ sustainable sourcing practices that create an eco-friendly supply chain.

Strategic suppliers:

  • Can help you achieve sustainability goals
  • Provide an eco-friendly supply chain
  • Complement corporate social responsibility programs

Suppliers that invest in innovation make your business more capable, sustainable, and efficient, translating into long-term competitive advantages that fuel business growth.

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This is Part 1 of a 4-part series on the benefits of a strategic supplier. Read More: Part 2: Why You Need an Innovative Supplier | Part 3: How a Strategic Supplier Saves Money | Part 4: How Strategic Suppliers Are Insurance Policies for Success


A customer came to us in a panic late one Friday afternoon – they had run out of envelopes ahead of their Saturday deadline. Even worse, it was Easter weekend, when most suppliers were shut down.

Priority Envelope was there to help. We rallied our team and had their envelopes ready for pickup by 1 p.m. Saturday, ensuring our customer met their deadline.

This story illustrates the importance of working with a strategic envelope supplier. Where many suppliers view every job as merely transactional, a strategic supplier views themselves as a collaborative long-term partner – a problem-solver who has your back through thick and thin.

Ensure smooth operations and prevent disaster by asking the following three questions before you commit to an envelope supplier.

1. What Are Your Response and Turnaround Times?

Strategic suppliers are highly responsive and, as the previous example shows, capable of rapid turnaround times.

They don’t consider relationships transactional, and they don’t merely sell envelopes – they sell solutions to your problems. If there’s a printing snafu or you run out of envelopes, they’ll bail you out. They’re not just suppliers, they’re project managers and consultants, providing value-added solutions such as design support for envelopes and packaging.

Strategic suppliers work to meet your deadlines. If you call on a Friday and need it by Saturday, they’ll do what they can to make it happen. Transactional suppliers, on the other hand, will likely say they can’t even start until Monday – take it or leave it.

Strategic suppliers are:

  • Quick to respond, quote, and turn
  • Project managers and consultants
  • Long-term partners

2. Will You Do Short Runs?

A strategic supplier prioritizes all their customers, no matter their size. Small businesses and boutiques often struggle to find suppliers who will do short runs. Even larger companies find it difficult to get suppliers to devote attention to small jobs, and some suppliers won’t take on projects below a certain volume.

Even when they agree to small runs, transactional suppliers base their commitments on the size of the deal. Strategic suppliers provide white glove service for every customer and every project.

When it comes to support, a strategic supplier doesn’t distinguish between a 1,000-piece and 5-million-piece order. They are here to serve your needs and you can expect preferential treatment at any volume.

Strategic suppliers:

  • Treat all customers equally
  • Provide white glove service
  • Are happy to do short runs

3. How Do You Apply Your Experience to Support Customers?

Experience matters. It lends suppliers the insights to make strategic recommendations. A supplier who has been in the business for 20 years, for example, has seen it all: if you have a question, someone in their building knows the answer.

An experienced supplier understands their customers’ needs and can solve problems quickly. They’re willing to leverage their resources – such as shipping jobs between their facilities – to expand their customers’ capabilities or meet tight deadlines. The top strategic suppliers have dedicated account management teams and have even won awards for their customer support.

Tell your supplier what you’re trying to do, and they’ll figure out how to get it done. They can develop unique, creative solutions to your problems with personalized, detailed attention that makes you feel valued. In short, you can trust a strategic supplier to have your best interest at heart.

Strategic suppliers:

  • Have the experience and wisdom to solve problems quickly
  • Know and understand their customers
  • Provide dedicated customer support

Lots of suppliers will take your business, but few will truly take an interest in your success. If you want a partner who will help you overcome challenges, solve demanding problems, and achieve your long-term business goals, you need a strategic supplier.

This is Part 1 of a 4-part series on the benefits of a strategic supplier. 

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The pandemic presented all businesses with unprecedented challenges and most saw a reduction in their business and a significant percentage of employees working remotely. So, how did your company stay productive and move forward during this very challenging period in the history of our country?

At Priority Envelope, we were fortunate to be considered an “essential business” which allowed us to maintain full staffing. Here are some of the ways we worked to continue moving our company forward the past few months:

  • Focus on customers– we made sure to keep in touch with our customers so we could be there to serve their needs. We wanted to make sure we did not cross that fine line between persistence and nuisance, so we remained aware not to over-communicate.
  • Education & Development– this period was a good time for a refresh on education and development to ensure we maintain our industry leading standards; an investment in the team.
  • Maintenance on Machines– at Priority, we have State of the Art equipment, and we want to make sure we keep it dialed in to specs to produce the best results for our customers.
  • Internal and external communication– when the pace of business slows, it is a good time to meet with team members and plan for how to grow post Covid 19. Also, it is also a good time to communicate with customers via social media and let them know that you are poised and ready to assist should they need you.
  • Prepare for the future– while there is nothing you can do about the past, the future is well within your control. Coming out of Covid 19, how will you grow, what are the goals, who are the targets, what is strategy and approach?

Those that used this time wisely, should be braced for growth coming out of Covid 19.

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Did you know that paper recovery rates in North America continue to be among the highest in the world? Last year the recovery rate was 65.8% in the US-that’s nearly two times what it was in 1990!

Two Sides North America, an independent, nonprofit organization created to promote the sustainability of print and paper, recently released a fact sheet outlining key facts and figures about the environmental sustainability of the North American pulp and paper industry. The information was compiled from over twenty different reports, studies, and sources.

Below are some of the highlights of the fact sheet:
-Forest area is stable to growing in North America.
-Nearly half of the globally certified forests are located in North America.
-The pulp and paper industry is one of the lowest emitters of greenhouse gas (GHG) emissions as compared to other major industrial manufacturing industries.
-The North American pulp and paper sector is heavily regulated.

Click here to download and read the entire Fact Sheet.

To reiterate, paper recovery rates in North America continue to be among the highest in the world. At 66% – 70% recovery rate, in the U.S. and Canada respectively, the amount of paper being recycled continues to increase. These rates are significantly higher than other materials and products such as glass, plastic, metals, and electronics.

Priority Envelope recognizes and appreciates the renewable nature of paper and aims to continue to increase the recovery rate of paper in the years to come. #pushtheenvelope #reducereuserecycle

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Steve Jobs once said, “Your work is going to fill a large part of your life, and the only way to be truly satisfied is to do what you believe is great work. And the only way to do great work is to love what you do.”

This belief holds true today more than ever-did you know that up to 87.7% of America’s workforce is not able to contribute to their full potential because they don’t have passion for their work? The team at Deloitte Insights notes that less than 12.3 percent of America’s workforce possesses the attributes of worker passion. This “passion gap” is important because passionate workers are committed to continually achieving higher levels of performance

To learn more about what the Deloitte team discovered click here .

And to learn more about what makes Priority Envelope an employer of choice take it directly from our employees’ mouths here.

We love what we do at Priority Envelope, and it’s this passion that has allowed us to grow since 1996. If you’re interested in being part of a team that promotes and encourages your dreams then consider making Priority Envelope your home away from home.

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Through the new “Grow More” Program, PCMC (Paper Converting Machine Company/W+D (Winkler+Dünnebier) brings Lean Tools, Process Knowledge, and Leadership to work in partnership with Priority Envelope’s customers to move forward on the continuous improvement journey.

During the week of April 29th, PCMC/W+D facilitated a set-up reduction event on a 627 envelope machine(pictured below) at the Priority Envelope facility located in Nevada, IA. The team, made up of PCMC/W+D and Priority Envelope team members, generated over 170 ideas on how to improve the change-over (changing the machine from one envelope format to another) of the 627 envelope machine. Attending W+D team members were Florian Grosch (service technician) and Tobias Lochner (L3 Leader); PCMC attending member was Craig Compton.

Results: 58% reduction in change-over time!

“W+D/PCMC arrived in Nevada Iowa to take a look at the current state of our set-up process on the 627 RC, they helped us see things differently by using several Lean tools and getting our team engaged with continuous improvement methods. Helping us establish a new Target Condition we were asked several times ‘What if’, what obstacles do you think are preventing us from reaching the target? What is our next step and what have we learned? We learned so much from this week event that that the Kaizen project will never stop at Priority Envelope. This event brought our team closer together in the pursuit of improvement.” – Randy Lewis, Operations Manager

Winston Churchill once said; ‘To improve is to Change and to be perfect; change often.’ Changing the way we do business at Priority Envelope is an everyday practice. Thanks to W+D/PCMC we here at Priority Envelope are all re-energized and excited to continue with our journey ‘To be our customers’ best supplier’.”

Left to Right: Andrew Sullivan, Larry Peter, Tobias Lochner, Florian Grosch, Cory Willson, Jill Meier, Richard Paris, Tim Shickell, Tom Young, Mark Block, Joe Young, Natasha Sawyer, Nichole Dvorak, Paul Hallberg & Craig Compton. Not pictured: Randy Lewis & Kevin Gerlach.

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Interfaith Outreach is a human service nonprofit serving struggling families and individuals in the Twin Cities, specifically the Plymouth, MN area. Since 1979, Interfaith Outreach has been engaging cross-sector community partnerships in delivering family support, food, affordable housing, education and youth, employment, and transportation services that open doors to new and hopeful futures.

Interfaith Outreach rallies resources and ignites the community to ensure all families live their best lives, all children succeed, and the entire region prospers. This was something that everyone at Priority Envelope could stand behind, especially as it was serving individuals in the community where we work.

Nearly half of those who go to Interfaith Outreach for the first time need food. Hunger is all around us. The primary cause of hunger in our resource-abundant community is not a lack of food. Instead, it is a lack of access to food due to poverty. Poverty in the Twin Cities suburbs has grown three times faster than poverty in Minneapolis and St. Paul over the past 10 years. 14% of people in the Interfaith Outreach service area live in poverty.

So in efforts to combat this, Priority Envelope held a food drive last month, and raised over $1000 in monetary donations and 273 pounds of food. Throughout the drive the team at Priority Envelope were engaged and motivated to help others in the community, but they also got a glimpse into some of the other ways in which they can stay connected to the community-building work that happens every day at Interfaith Outreach.

A community becoming the best version of itself is an aware community, one that is positioned for collaborative action, and we here at Priority Envelope are proud to contribute to and work with the team at Interfaith Outreach in support of the community as a whole.

Interfaith Outreach Food Shelf team members Patrick and Debby accept Priority Envelope’s monetary donations raised during their March 2019 Food Drive.

To learn more about how you can get involved with Interfaith Outreach, click here.

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#Studentdebt is a major issue affecting individuals in today’s workforce, so to combat this Priority Envelope has partnered with Chicago-based Peanut Butter, which runs a platform to help companies create, manage, and track the impact of loan repayment plans. Priority Envelope is excited to offer its employees assistance with their student loan repayments. We are proud to #pushtheenvelope with innovation- on the production floor and with the benefits provided to our employees! #benefits #studentloans

Visit Peanut Butter’s Website to learn more about how they work to alleviate Student Loan debt.