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Internet Service Providers--Need for Speed

August 2000
Increasingly, printers are using e-commerce to streamline their businesses.


BY CAROLINE MILLER


Efficiency is the newest buzzword in the Internet realm. In the world of commercial printing, everybody needs it yesterday. And with deadlines shrinking by the minute, efficiency can be a printer's best friend or worst enemy. So where does a printer turn when he wants to improve his business efficiency and distinguish himself from his competitors?

The World Wide Web.

"The Internet is just an even more powerful tool that will provide cleaner data and better data mining capabilities. People have always wanted to manage things in one bucket; I think that is the power of the Internet," reports Glenn Trout, president of Fobpaper.

In the third installment of our series, looking at how three printers are utilizing the Internet in their operations, Printing Impressions sits down with Fobpaper.com, Prtplanet.com and Printable.com to explore how their e-commerce solutions are impacting the graphic arts industry.

fobpaper.com
Fobpaper.com is one way that printers can build efficiency into their business, contends Glenn Trout, president of Fobpaper. "I firmly believe that customers don't want to go to 10 different sites to meet their paper needs," he remarks; instead, printers want to log onto one site when procuring paper. This concept of one-stop-shopping is what drives Fobpaper.

Fobpaper is a vertical purchasing hub. It differs from other exchange and catalog Websites in that Fobpaper also replaces the traditional, internal, off-line system that sourced input materials, according to Trout. Fobpaper aggregates, collates and stores purchasing data, while providing its users with an outsourced purchasing option.

So what are the benefits to using Fobpaper? Simply put, increased efficiency.

Trout claims that users of Fobpaper can cut their transaction costs by up to 75 percent and users can also reduce input material prices by 10 percent to 20 percent.

Also, Fobpaper offers the printer the ability to log on and order any time of day. Access and the selection drew the attention of one Midwestern printer, who asked to remain anonymous. "They have a great collection of paper. It is just as good as any local merchant. And being in Chicago, I've got [access to] them all," the printer reveals.

However, Fobpaper offers printers access to more than just paper. A printer can purchase other needed consumables, such as ink and film, from Fobpaper sister sites Fobplastics and Fobchemicals. "We can customize the site for them to input any raw material that they might need," Trout discloses. Fobpaper also offer printers a variety of features that enables them to track their orders.

 

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