ONLINE INTERFACES -- Printers Set Sites on Clients
The company is striving to provide customers a "picture window" into its production environment, he says. Various technologies are being deployed throughout the process to provide the view, but customers will access it all—some as an option on a fee basis—through personal, secure Web portals.
Not all access will be equal for another reason, Edberg notes. Premedia/prepress operations require a higher level of customer interaction than other stages of production, he adds.
Brown is implementing Dalim's Mistral automated production and communication system as the backbone of its premedia customer interface. The workflow system already has been tested and deployed internally, and the company is now on track to roll the interface out to customers starting in March, Edberg reports.
"We've already been able to gain efficiencies internally," the premedia manager observes. To support that contention, he outlines the typical scenario for dealing with customer inquiries before and after implementation of Mistral.
Previously, if a client called a customer service rep to ask about the status of a job, the CSR would say, "I'll check and get back to you within the hour." Then, the CSR would physically walk over to prepress and ask the operators where the pages stood. Prepress would say, "We have to check," then scramble around to figure out the answer. After getting that answer, the CSR would likely get involved in conversations on the way back to his/her desk or have to take another call, so it turns into more like an hour and a half before the customer gets the status update.
"With all the CSRs having access to Mistral, they will be able to instantly bring up a job and check the status of individual pages and entire flats," Edberg points out. Pages can be viewed as status icons or thumbnails of what they actually look like. Users can choose the imposition view to see if any pages are missing from a form.