One of the leading media and marketing services companies in the U.S., Valassis has holdings in diverse marketing categories including direct mail, Internet, free standing inserts, couponing, etc. As a result, Valassis is uniquely positioned to blend its one-of-a-kind national shared mail network, newspaper distribution and value lifestyle website to reach consumers based on market dynamics and the changing consumer media habits.
The company delivers value to consumers how, when and where they want it through their consumer brand, RedPlumTM. Valassis reaches 100 million shoppers each week and nine out of ten U.S. households by mail. The company supports 15,000 advertisers, offering a wide range of media and marketing services to consumer-packaged goods manufacturers, retailers, food service providers and other clients. Headquartered in Livonia, Michigan with 7,000 associates worldwide, Valassis is a $2.3 billion company that was founded in 1970.
In 2008, Valassis had a plan for maximizing its profits which called for a centralization and standardization in production facilities. This, in turn, would lead to a reduction in costs and turn times and an increased ability to handle seasonal fluctuations in volumes.
Valassis partnered with AffinityX for marketing services and production to support its Shared Mail Wrap product. Valassis selected Affinity Express because of the company’s extensive expertise in offshore graphics production with high-volumes and tight turn times and the company’s proven results for respected category leaders in consumer products, retail and newspaper publishing.
THE AFFINITYX SOLUTION
- Ad design and page assembly: This includes new builds, pickups with revisions, pre-flighting client-supplied files and page assembly for the Valassis RedPlum wrap product, which is distributed to over 66 million households nationwide.
- Onsite team members to ensure a smooth transition: Affinity Express maintained a staff at Valassis’s Windsor, Connecticut location for several months to respond to quick-turn requests and traffic files to its operation in India. As a comfort level was developed and joint efforts at process improvements continued, Affinity Express was able to eliminate this onshore presence and provide additional savings to Valassis.
- Standardized processes: The company workflow is integrated with Valassis systems. Completed designs must be returned in one day but Affinity Express has an average turn time of six hours and 14 minutes across all file types and handles approximately 3,700 files per month.
Affinity Express ad production services enabled Valassis to streamline operations from nine to four graphic services hubs and part of this work was transitioned to Affinity Express. The discipline and processes that were developed to enable Affinity Express to provide ad production have influenced operations at their other graphics locations.
According to Valassis, Affinity Express is meeting the desired cost savings and turn time goals. In addition, working in partnership with Affinity Express has resulted in the removal of cycle-time from the wrap graphic production process, allowing the sales organization more time to sell advertisers.
Employees from the Affinity Express India Operation occasionally spend time at Valassis to review current business practices and learn about any changes required based on the changing direct mail environment. There are also annual meetings to discuss strategic opportunities for growth and new products. Valassis and Affinity Express will be exploring the feasibility of electronically tagging the Valassis offline print for easier conversion to online vehicles.
“Staying competitive in a dynamic marketplace is critical to most organizations. Partnering with Affinity Express has allowed [us] to capitalize on their scalable workforce to deliver reductions in turnaround times and improved ad production efficiencies. We believe this cost-effective option had the product/process fit we needed and there was a strong partnership during implementation and execution. In the end, it’s all about the customer and delivering an effective and accurate direct mail advertisement on time.”
Director of CS Planning and Development