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e-Tools for e-Printers

April 2000
Internet companies are exploding onto the commercial printing scene, which means new ways for printers to purchase products, communicate with customers and improve efficiency.


BY CAROLINE MILLER


(Editor's Note: This is the first in a continuing series that profiles real-life examples of printers and their usage of various e-commerce services.)

You would have to be living in a cave not to have noticed the explosion of Internet companies springing up to provide every kind of imaginable service. Actually, living in a cave is no longer an excuse—even caves seem to come equipped with Web browsers these days. So it's no surprise that the commercial printing industry is also riding the e-wave. You can purchase paper and equipment over the Net, send proofs around the world, vie for jobs over the Internet and much, much more.

Still, old habits die hard. You may be apprehensive about integrating e-commerce solutions into your business. However, the Internet-age is here and, once you get over your initial unease, you may find that Internet-based tools can be beneficial to your business. Printing Impressions recently spoke with three industry executives, who are implementing Internet-based solutions in their day-to-day business lives, in order to get a glimpse into who is using Internet technology and what their experiences have been.

Saving Time and Money
David Midler, co-owner of Atlanta-based Presentech, is always looking for a bargain. Which is what he discovered when he logged onto PrintNation.com: a veritable e-commerce superstore for commercial printers. "It's the Amazon.com for printers," Midler remarks. The site offers users access to more than 1,300 manufacturers with more than 100,000 graphic arts products available to customers. "Their prices were significantly less than where we buy from now," he claims.

Midler placed his order and three days later, it arrived at his door. "It came really fast," he reports. Now seven orders later, Midler says he has found a new place to purchase supplies and equipment. "Which is kind of amazing, because I don't switch [vendors] very often," he remarks. The low prices and fast delivery are great, but Midler sings the praises of PrintNation due to the wide variety of in-stock products.

A majority of the business Midler's digital printing company handles is presentation work for corporations. So when an order for color overheads came in, Midler turned to PrintNation. He needed a large quantity of protective sleeves, which can be nearly impossible to find in any quantity, he explains. PrintNation had them in stock and shipped to Midler within three days. "It's just amazing," he says.

 

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