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E-TOOLS - Staying Connected

May 2001

Performance Printing Vice President and Sales Manager Debbie Moore reaches for the bottle of aspirin less and less these days. Instead of chasing down faxes, responding to customer job queries and shuffling paper work, she is spending more time selling to new clients and building better relationships with her existing clients.

Moore is one of a few commercial printers who are enabling their clients to track jobs over the Internet. A Collabria user for the past 18 months, Moore's clients—which primarily purchase collateral materials—are able to track their print jobs via a desktop Web browser.

"It frees our time up. We aren't getting those phone calls tracking orders," she says. "It saves me time and allows me to do extra things for my customers."

Moore's clients are notified via e-mail by Moore once their jobs have been approved. They can see whether a job is pending, finished or has been shipped. In addition, her clients also have the ability to track past jobs. "Customers really want the ability to go back and track their orders after the fact," she explains. "They want to know, 'When did I order that piece?' or 'Should I have ordered more than I did?' It helps with their budgets. They don't have to go back and pull their invoices. Instead, they can pull it up on the Web browser and track their printing. They have more control over their spending now, and can plan for the next year," Moore claims.

It's this ability to track ordering patterns from year to year that attracted the attention of Rick Davis, of Allied Printing and Ket-Moy Printing in Hamilton, OH, to two years ago.

Davis currently uses Printable with a large retail customer whose operations span three states and seven outlets. The client is notified when a job is submitted for approval, when it is on-press, as well as when it has been bound and shipped. Likewise, the customer has the ability to track past jobs.

"It's a retail outlet, so its ordering patterns are pretty much the same from year to year. Printable's archiving system allows orders to be archived; the client can see what was purchased the year before," Davis states.

A Web-based system also ensures that, although a print buyer may be replaced, a printer will not be. "All the new print buyer has to do is go check the site to see what they normally order. Because it's easy to use and understand, it makes Performance Printing that much less replaceable," reveals Moore, of her Atlanta-based operation. "It makes it harder for new print buyers to bring in their own people when this system is already in place."

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