Internet--The Evolving Print Community
"It's almost like a union for the independent commercial printer, a buying union," Innovation's Cooley states. "We join together, buy our products as a whole and get rewarded for it—no more paperwork for us."
Outside of PrinterAlliance.com, positioning itself as a portal service for the graphic arts industry is GraphicsResourceCenter.com. The site offers commercial printers, publishers, industry associations and manufacturers, as well as educational institutions, a platform to communicate, shop and promote new business opportunities.
The service is similar to PrinterAlliance.com in the way it puts the commercial printing community, as a whole, on the Internet to facilitate both information sharing and business gains.
As PrinterAlliance.com and GraphicsResourceCenter.com push to change the way the printing community communicates with itself and its supply community, other Internet services are changing the way the entire printing community interacts with the print buying sector.
Impresse.com, a private company founded in 1997, is one Internet-based service targeting commercial printing. Impresse.com automates all business interactions between print buyers and print vendors—reducing the time required in most bid-to-print processes. Print buyers can access Impresse.com from any Internet browser, select from a set of approved commercial printers and request, receive and compare a variety of estimates and quotes.
Printers pay a nominal fee to be linked to the e-procurement network, which features, for both print buyers and commercial printers, new project specifications, reprint ordering, quote requests, quote comparisons, quote negotiations and—key for the actual print production process—job tracking.
The service automates all business interactions between print buyers and print vendors. But this automation is not the only mission of Impresse.com; it is simply the technological route Impresse.com employs to facilitate better corporate dealings between the print buyer and printer.
The benefit of Impresse.com—and comparable e-procurement services, such as Noosh.com—is found in the more immediate, online printer buyer/printer interaction Internet print procurement affords. What does this mean for the commercial printing community?