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Just a few thoughts

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  • Just a few thoughts

    Presstek digital offset printing solutions in conjunction with Press-sense Business Flow Automation(TM) solutions offer customers opportunity to increase their service offerings.
    The more we move into digital print I cannot help but to think of all the small printing companies still out there trying to make a buck. These W2P companies and the Presstek’s that are offering these packages to get rich quick and make the world Green scare me.
    Most W2P companies are marketing based. You must use their servers to host your site. Most are ASP some are Linux. Can they harvest your customer’s information? Will they sell that info to other companies?
    I deal with many small printing companies in the $600K-$2M range of sales per year and they are happy using an ftp site for file transfer and a good billing person to ensure it is done properly.
    The work flow is simple and effective, walk back to the press room and see if the job is done. If not kick some butt and get it moving.
    IMHO the more we let these companies force feed us this crap about work flow and W2P the more $$$ it will cost to produce a printed sheet.

    It is not the customer who desires printing that is causing problems; it is the machine makers and the software and marketing people forcing this new technology down our throats. If you value your company and your employees and customers, I suggest you keep it simple.
    A decent IT guy can code a PHP site or ASP site to offer W2P and workflow for very little. If you need help msg me.
    Can I just get 500 business cards please? Hold the workflow and JDF.

  • #2
    Re: Just a few thoughts

    Have to disagree with you on this.

    Sure the shops may be happy with their FTP site, but how about THEIR customers? Not sure about you, but our customers are wanting more and more automation and information at their fingertips. We are a small shop and don't have the resources to offer that currently. So we can either higher someone to build a custom solution or buy one, my guess is a decision will have to be made soon if we want to keep some of our customers.

    The more things you can do to tie a customer to your operation, the harder it is for them to leave.


    • #3
      Re: Just a few thoughts

      Nice and well thought out reply. I look forward to hearing more on this subject. My point was simply to bring the cost factor and alternatives to low end shops that lack the money to go digital and or W2P.
      Like I said a simple online store front can do it all. Why pay all that money for a work flow and a w2p site when a 6-10 person print operation can communicate verbally with each other and their customer to give status and delivery time.
      Most of these W2P providers force you to use their servers or purchase a license that is just too pricey.
      I have yet to find a W2P provider that is not linked to a marketing company; I would never share my customer list with an online service that can look at my customer database and harvest their names.
      Keep that info on a private server only not one owned by a w2p type of company
      The biggest way to tie your customers to you is a friendly voice saying thank you for your recent order..Your job has been shipped.
      A $100K workflow and w2p site is no substitute for good customer service. The more we let these companies dictate what machines we must buy to stay competitive the more jobs and companies closing will be the effect.
      IMHO only


      • #4
        Re: Just a few thoughts

        With all due respect, Offset Guy, I think you're just not getting it when you say...

        "The biggest way to tie your customers to you is a friendly voice saying thank you for your recent order..Your job has been shipped"

        My shop sends out a lot of work to other shops and if I had a nickel for every time one of their reps said that their competitive advantage was "good quality, good service, reasonable price", I'd move to the Carribean tomorrow. And I think they really believe they are different.

        The unfortunate reality is that offset printing has become largely a commodity. There are many many decent shops out there, presses all print well (even DIs), and there is a lot of excess capacity. All this means that price is the ultimate end-game, and customers will bid you to death............unless you create more value by offering additional services clients W2P,variable data, custom bindery, mailing, fulfillment, etc. The more value you can add before the print and after the print, the more perceived value you create in the client's eyes.........resulting in fewer competitors that can do what you can do.

        The 6-10 employee shops are the MOST vulnerable because larger shops with their digital technology and automation are now able to compete in their space.

        Edited by: JRV on Mar 5, 2008 8:41 PM

        Edited by: JRV on Mar 5, 2008 8:43 PM


        • #5
          Re: Just a few thoughts

          i might be missing the point, but is W2P, "web to print"? If it is, what does that actually mean, a web order and a print job, pretty easy to sort out if you ask me.


          • #6
            Re: Just a few thoughts

            Automation is not for the big guys. Automation with tools like LightSWITCH, FullSWITCH and PowerSWITCH from Gradual Software are quite cost effective and provide a very compelling ROI. When you get into PowerSWITCH and it's ability to pickup XML and other meta data, then apply the meta data and then act on it you have a very powerful setup. This meta data can be from a very simple web form, an MIS system or something like Press-Sense iWay Prime or RSA WebCRD.

            It's really quite powerful and cost effective. Plus using something like SWITCH enables more than just automating the receiving and routing but also the PDF creation and preflighting. Further you can even trap and impose the jobs if you want. So there's much that can be done.
            Matt Beals
            The views expressed here are my own personal views and are not those of my employer.


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