Increase Your Value and Battle Outsourcing Threats with Web-to-Print
Outsourcing is projected to grow 2.3 percent over the next five years according to the InfoTrends study U.S. Document Outsourcing Market Forecast: 2013-2018. The most important motivating factor is cost reduction.
As a result, increasing productivity and reducing the costs of manufacturing are two of the most important initiatives for in-plant service providers. Web-to-print automation technologies can facilitate these changes.
Here are some case histories of in-plants that are using Web-to-print to to increase productivity and reduce production costs.
The manager at a Midwest insurance and financial services firm wanted a solution that would automate the organization’s print production process and reduce its manufacturing costs. So the company invested in Rochester Software Associates’ WebCRD and QDirect software to automate the customization of printed pieces and increase the accuracy in routing to different departments.
Jobs that used to take two to three weeks are now done in one or two days. The new system allows staff to track job status and identify if a job encounters a problem.
As a result of the software, productivity has skyrocketed. The ability to print jobs increased from a few dozen jobs per day to 200 to 300 jobs per day. Time-consuming prepress steps have been eliminated. Submitted jobs used to require five to 10 minutes to review before printing, but that has been reduced.
Another example of a firm that has used Web-to-print to reduce costs is a major retirement solutions firm. The assistant director of participant solutions wanted to increase productivity. The challenges facing the firm included automating the customization and personalization of marketing products, increasing efficiency of the production staff and eliminating errors that resulted in late deliveries.
Personalization and customization are critical in fulfilling the printing; however, the amount of customization required was becoming overwhelming and could easily take two days.
After the firm changed its workflow with RSA’s WebCRD and the WebCRD Dynamics variable data module, the benefits it gained in customization efficiency and error reduction were quickly apparent. Utilizing WebCRD Dynamics allowed the firm to reduce the time required from two days to 20 minutes or less. The assistant director estimates first year savings from using WebCRD were $300,000.
Overcoming the Stumbling Blocks
Even the best of companies can struggle with implementation issues that can occur when technology is added to an existing company’s tool kit. In our research and consulting work we see four key hurdles slowing the mass-market adoption of Web-to-print technology:
- Understanding customer requirements.
- Understanding and overcoming integration challenges.
- Lack of beta testing and improving the customer experience.
- Marketing the benefits to customers.
These four hurdles are not as intimidating as they might first appear. Simply being aware of them and working on them can help you overcome them. Integration issues have to do with Web-to-print solutions not talking to other systems. In-plants often need to integrate with corporate SSO (single sign on), accounting or ERP systems, or campus payment cards in higher education. Working with a supplier who has integration experience and getting IT involved early in the process will uncover requirements and assure success.
Citrus College Overcomes the Stumbling Blocks
Rocky Reynolds from Citrus College in Glendora, CA, is a good example of an in-plant printer with Web-to-print who learned the importance of overcoming the stumbling blocks the hard way. In 2006, a digital press manufacturer sold Reynolds a Web-to-print solution that did not work.
After finally pulling the plug on that system, he vowed to take a different approach. First he gained an understanding of users’ needs and requirements. Based on this, Reynolds chose a more well-suited system: RSA’s WebCRD.
He worked with his top 20 customers, getting their feedback and working with them for six months. These customers became beta testers who helped work out the kinks. (Hear Citrus’ story first hand in a recorded IPG webinar titled “The Road to Web-to-Print,” available here.)
Outsourcing is an ongoing threat to in-plants and cost is an important motivating factor. For leading in-plants, Web-to-print systems are a critical part of their businesses, increasing their value, reducing costs, increasing productivity and helping them battle outsourcing threats. Web-to-print solutions make it easier and faster for customers to request estimates, order work, and monitor progress. As a result, companies surveyed report high grades for how important Web-to-print is to their business.
Additional details about this topic are available in the free InfoTrends white paper, “How Web-to-Print Helps In-plants Increase Value,” at www.rocsoft.com/whitepapers/how-wtp-helps-in-plants-increase-value.
Related story: Web-to-Print Adoption and Success
Howie Fenton is an independent consultant who focuses on analyzing/benchmarking the performance of printing operations. Fenton helps companies use metrics, best practices and workflow strategies to streamline operations. Call (720) 872-6339 or email email@example.com