Web-to-Print Portals Lead to Profits, Efficiencies
Its DME Connect offering enables portal owners to (among other things) instantly proof and approve products on-screen in real time. To enhance automation on the printer-facing side, DME has developed a variety of modular components created in-house. DME's intelligent production network (IPN) is the heart of the back-end system, a standalone system wired into their new custom W2P application, notes Eric Remington, directory of technology solutions for DME.
"The nucleus of that system is the XMPie variable data composition engine, with which we're very familiar," Remington notes. "We've been successful in the past as a marketing service provider doing high-end automotive programs and a variety of complicated marketing initiatives and customer retention-type systems, using cross-media and the XMPie suite to deliver e-mails, PURLs and direct mail pieces in concert. Now, we're using our experience from a variable data pattern and automating around that system."
The need for automation to help drive jobs through the system could well be the basis for a platform that could be sold to other printers, according to Remington. Sales opportunities could develop, for example, by adding outside printers—those with offerings DME does not provide—to DME's IPN. "At that point, anybody who has a W2P portal can utilize that type of product," he adds. "The prerequisite is anything we can compose through XMPie is a candidate for that automation system."
Unveiling Consumer Applications
While DME had offered W2P for many years prior, its program truly took off about five years ago. Marketing budgets and traditional direct mail were beginning to shrink and, since DME relishes its cutting-edge philosophy, it decided to support other channels. In 2008, it debuted a pair of consumer niche products: one for personalized wrapping paper, another for wall clings (adhesive-backed, temporary cling-ons). A well-known insurance carrier bought into the cling-on concept for a line of business cards to take the place of refrigerator magnets.