Corporate Print Buying – Online Solutions
Compared to traditional methods, using ‘simple to use’ internet applications can deliver cost savings, reduce human error and enable faster delivery of products and services to all parties in the supply chain. For enterprises, marketing agencies and printing companies who need to streamline the print ordering process, web to print solutions are available on every level. In today’s market place, you can choose from fully managed on-line print procurement systems to self hosted solutions that will enable total control of print procurement and application management.
For the corporate print buyer, the first step in moving your print procurement on-line is to list the requirements for your individual business needs. Your existing print suppliers should provide help with identifying these requirements. It is in everyone’s interests to end up with a seamless print procurement process.
One of the biggest obstacles to implementation is the printer’s desire to lock in a customer to their own on-line system, with the customer having the opposing view. It is vital for the print supplier to recognise this fact. Equally, the customer needs to recognise the value that a totally integrated print ordering solution will provide. The advantage to both is that it can cement a relationship for a period of years, leading to stability for the supplier and enhanced service for the customer.
Another challenge is introduced when more than one print supplier is involved. One answer for the corporate would be then to use a print management company or agency. If you’re superhuman and know your printers will collaborate well, you might be able to manage this yourself. The above statements will apply.
Another option is to bring the whole thing in-house. Whether ordering stationery or managing constantly changing marketing collateral, the fundamental benefit is being able to enforce brands and manage document print and distribution. Sometimes, the corporate is the best placed to manage this. Whatever route you choose, successful print ordering implementations are those that involve all people. Those who will be touched by any new processes – internal employees or suppliers – should be part of the planning process. It’s better to do this in the beginning when you are listing your requirements. People’s fears can be addressed as well as outlining the benefits of change.
Ordering Versioned Print. Typically, versioned printing is referred to when there is more than one copy of a version of a document or item. But, there may be any number of variations of that document or item. For example, a sales leaflet for a holiday company may have a design which it uses to advertise a range of holidays. However, even though the design and layout is the same, the content could be different for each type of holiday. There may be changes to text, pictures and colours specific for each offer. However, the print quantity for each offer will be more than 1 copy.
Ordering Personalised Print. Personalised printing is referred to when each print copy is unique to the recipient. The individual difference of each one might only be a change of name and mailing address. Or, if it is for 1-to-1 marketing, personalisation could be a complex combination of different text and images. An example might be a postcard advertising a car with an offer personalised to fit the recipient’s profile.
Printing Versioned and Personalised Items. With the very latest Digital Presses, quality is very close to that of Litho. Using real inks, immediate drying and fast delivery of finished personalised print, it isn’t difficult to see why this sector of print is growing. Many organisations are enjoying reduced costs and business growth as a result of implementing targeted print campaigns as part of their overall sales and customer service strategy.
Modern Digital Presses are capable of producing quantities as low as 1. Although technically there isn’t an upper limit on quantity, runs up to about 2000 will remain competitively priced. At this point the higher speeds of Litho Presses will make Litho Printing a more cost effective option.
Combining the latest on-line technology with variable print solutions provide print buyers with maximum advantage. Being able to manage marketing campaigns and short run variable printing from the desktop has never been easier. With the right solution, it is possible to order print 24/7 from anywhere in the world, send files direct to press and have jobs delivered within hours.
Stock Management. For printing where larger quantities are needed, e.g. 10s of 1000s, storage, call-off from stock and re-orders need to be managed in an efficient and cost effective way. The best way to achieve this is by implementing a stock management system, with ordering and administration available via the desktop.