The Internet's rapid adoption as a vehicle for business communication broke new ground in '99 with the emergence of a variety of e-commerce services targeting commercial printers. With 2000 in sight, it is imperative to know the Internet players that want to know YOU.
BY MARIE RANOIA ALONSO
Interested in using the Internet for winning print bids and for collaborative discussions with print buyers? Curious about using the Web to get the best prices on paper, or to take part in an equipment auction? If so, there are suddenly, it seems, an aggressive variety of e-commerce companies positioning to be the shopping platform of choice for the printing industry—everything from print buying to buying supplies to get the printing done.
Forget the telephone. Never mind leaving voicemails for paper or ink suppliers, or answering voicemails from anxious print buyers calling for quotes, job status or reprint orders. Forget entirely the mundane sound of another human voice, as it applies to print procurement, print production and print fulfillment protocol. (Hey, it's the price of progress!)
At present, there are an impressive variety of new, Internet-based, business-to-business technology providers. Make no mistake, with sights set on the commercial printer, these companies mean big business—or rather, e-business.
To get a handle on the current field of Internet players aiming their Web links at the, like it or not, (dot)com-mercial printer, Printing Impressions offers this checklist of e-companies, e-services and, more astutely, their respective e-significance to the craft that remains putting ink on paper—for profit, with or without the Internet.
Ten years ago, Robert Hu, formerly president of Menlo Park, CA-based A&a Printers & Lithographers, started voicing his thoughts on industry trends—from emerging prepress technologies to pressroom practices to the Internet. In 1997, Hu decided to focus on his Internet intentions, specifically as they applied to print procurement.