Evaluating Web to Print for your Internal Workflow

If you’re a print service provider (PSP) and you can relate to the previous posts, here are a few things you can do to relieve the pain.  First of all, don’t beat your salespeople to death with expectations they are going to sell web to print effectively.  There is no incentive for them to do this.  If you’re new to web to print, the first step you should take in evaluating whether web to print is a logical and fiscally smart play for you is whether or not it will save you internal costs and overall overhead.

Managing a small order in the average workflow is just as costly as managing a large order.  The average order process in most PSPs is laborious, fraught with redundant steps and costly internal communications overhead.  From the bid time, during production and especially at billing time.  CSRs are tasked with looking up history and previous orders, more order entry and constant phone conversations to rehash the same requirements from the last orders.  Accounting is tasked with more data entry while billing  is tasked with understanding just what should be billed often requiring more internal inquiry with customer service, project teams and operations.  Conventional project based print might as well be termed “exception based printing”.  It is as though every job is an exception because every customer is inputting preference on top of preference.  Writing operating procedures, remembering customer preferences on jobs they do only once or twice a year can be excruciatingly painful for all involved.  Errors are often made year after year due to payroll turnover, poor updates to the MIS system and lack of adequate record keeping throughout the process. It doesn’t need to be this difficult.

So first things first.  If your customer places large amounts of orders manually, especially those you print digitally, or as we call it “reprint no change”, you are on your way to becoming a web to print candidate. These might be business cards, letterhead, sales or data sheets, catalogs of low volume, subsets of static pieces such as brochures, manuals, operating guides and so forth.  If your client is a large B/W customer and you’re fulfilling orders on a high speed duplicator, then web to print is a good fit.

By placing these types of products on a store front that only your client has access to, they can log on, place the orders, customize them and make any changes, proof them online and the order can then be delivered to the appropriate department for fulfillment.  All client preferences, logos, fonts and details are now resident in a central location.  No phone calls, no emails to find out if the order was received and no laborious tracking when the order has been shipped.  All this can be automated and stored and communicated online via the portal store front.  The client is happy, you’re happy and the mundane can be removed.

Watch for upcoming posts where we’ll take this a step further in which the PSP starts to think on behalf of the client for their benefit of a web to print workflow as opposed to just the PSP’s benefit.

About marcomstudio

Solutions Architect/President of SPC Marcom Studio - a forward-thinking marcom execution solutions provider.
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