Web-to-Print Best Practices for In-plants
To provide in-plant managers with practical information and examples to help them successfully implement and use Web-to-print software, Rochester Software Associates sponsored a panel discussion at Graph Expo 16 that drew dozens of in-plants.
Providing their Web-to-print best practices advice were:
- Howie Fenton, VP of consulting services at IMG.
- Vince Tutino, RSA’s WebCRD senior product manager.
- Bob Neubauer, editor/content director of In-plant Graphics.
I moderated the lunchtime session, which covered topics in the early, middle and late stages of Web-to-print implementation. At the end, each panelist offered his top tips for success. Here are some highlights from the session. (Watch a six-minute video recap or the entire 48-minute session here.)
Neubauer emphasized the importance of getting input from IT and keeping IT involved and part of the process. In the early stages of implementing a Web-to-print solution, he also suggested working and testing with groups of users, as Citrus College and Western and Southern Financial Group did in their rollouts.
RSA’s Vince Tutino advised dedicating time to work on the project, having someone in the print center who is “print shop technical” on the project team and managing the change to new processes.
Fenton shared that in his experience he’s seen software go unused because of stumbling blocks that inhibit its implementation. Lack of buy-in from customers and staff are two big aspects with a resolution similar to what Neubauer suggested — early involvement in the process. By involving both groups early and in the requirements collection process to understand what’s important to them, they will buy into the solution.
Best Practices in the Middle Phase
Once a Web-to-print solution has been rolled out, the next steps are training, marketing and getting users to accept it. RSA’s Tutino emphasized the importance of promotion to the solution’s success.
“Get yourself out there. Even if you’re in the basement, with the Internet everything is possible, but if no one knows your URL, they won’t find you,” he said. “As you’re working with your customer base, you’ll hear things that you can do to impact their lives, making their work easier. Capture what you did for them — how much time it saves.” Tutino cited an example of Ventura County, Calif., saving a customer $100,000 by creating hospital admission packets.
Neubauer discussed specific examples of how some in-plants marketed their new systems. Frisco ISD sent messages and placed stickers on finished jobs district-wide announcing that a new system was coming. Fox Valley Technical College emailed people, sent Valentine’s Day cards, had ads in college in-service packets and even made a fun video about the system. The Wharton School at the University of Pennsylvania and Penn State both recently held open houses that prominently featured their Web-to-print solutions. Neubauer suggested in-plants involve their vendors in their open house.
Fenton suggested using video to communicate to customers how to use the software. “Training customers to use it and making it incredibly user-friendly is essential,” he said. “If you don’t get that done, what you’ll find is that a lot of customers won’t use it.”
He noted that infrequent users may forget how to use it between the time they are trained and when they order again and become frustrated. “The easier you make it for customers to use the software, the better the buy-in will be, and the more that people will use it,” he said.
Later Stages of Implementation
Fenton suggested spending time identifying who the laggards are to see if you can get them on board. There is a chasm between early adopters and mass market migration.
“Even if you have early success with a small group of customers, you might find some customers are lagging in their adoption. Find out why and address those issues,” he advised.
In this phase, Tutino said that in-plants should start using more of the automation capabilities in the system. “We have a lot of automation capabilities, where the first time someone touches it is when an operator takes it off the output tray,” he said. “If you take all those non-value-add steps out, you’ve got more time to do more work or to get out there with your customers to find what impact you can make with them.”
Neubauer cited two in-plants that have experienced success with automation and used their Web-to-print system for other things. Blue Valley Schools in Kansas cut turnaround by 75% and reduced manual work, which increased their capacity to take in more work, leading to volume growth of 738% over a five-year period — without adding staff. Villanova University tracks work that is being outsourced so that the in-plant can bring more work in. The shop also uses WebCRD for student work, which not only brings in revenue but ties the in-plant to the university’s mission.
Elisha Kasinskas is Rochester Software Associates’ (RSA) award-winning marketing director. She is responsible for all marketing, public relations, social media and communications, and community building for the firm. Ms. Kasinskas joined RSA in 2010. She is a marketing veteran with more than 20 years of experience in sales, product management and marketing in leading product and service business-to-business and business-to-consumer firms, including Pinnacle (Birds Eye) Foods, Level 3, HSBC, and a number of regional high-tech firms. She holds an RIT MBA and a BS, Marketing from Radford University. Kasinskas is a frequent moderator for industry speaking sessions, an in-plant blogger, and has received industry awards including the IPMA Outstanding Contributor award. She was an OutputLinks Women of Distinction class of ’15 inductee. Her marketing work with IPMA has secured multiple awards from the American Marketing Association (AMA).