Progressive Impressions International -- Digitally Driven
by chris bauer
A wide array of digital printing devices have called Progressive Impressions International (PII) home throughout the company's 13-year history. Currently, the Bloomington, IL-based firm boasts eight Xerox cut-sheet monochrome devices, as well as a twin Océ continuous feed monochrome device. From a color perspective, Agfa, IBM and Xerox color systems have been used, but now the company's entire footprint consists of Xerox iGen3 and DocuColor 6060 technology. But it has not always been that way.
"When PII first began, we only had offset presses," recalls Jamie Huff, CEO. "During the early- to mid-1990s we began migrating to digital technology to take advantage of our data management capabilities and to offer our customers data-driven marketing pieces."
In 1999 PII converted to 100 percent digital printing. Some partnerships bridge the gap between traditional and digital.
"We still utilize traditional printing equipment a great deal," Huff adds. "PII is part of the Taylor Corp., one of the leaders in cut-sheet commercial printing. Through our network of sister companies we have an extensive array of printing technologies and capabilities at our fingertips."
The real splash into the color digital printing world the company made, however, was its recent purchase of six Xerox iGen3 digital presses, making PII Xerox's largest installation to date. Five of the digital presses will be located in the United States, with the sixth in PII's Netherlands facility. The full-service marketing communications company expects to more than triple its digital color printing volume within six months.
"We needed the capability to quickly scale up on a global level to meet the surging demand of customer print-on-demand (POD) and one-to-one marketing needs," Huff explains. "With our extensive database management capabilities we needed horsepower that could support our customers' complex variable data applications and time-critical POD jobs."
PII offers an array of marketing services, including creative consultation, database management, e-commerce solutions, project management, a call center, customer service and personalized printing.
"With true one-to-one marketing, you can target specific customers with tailored messages at a precise time, making those messages more effective," says Huff. "The DocuColor iGen3 allows us to create high-quality materials with a level of personalization that we were previously unable to achieve."
Progressive Impressions International produces marketing materials, direct mail pieces and sales collateral for customers worldwide, including A.G. Edwards, Bosch Corp. and Caterpillar. With the DocuColor iGen3, PII will convert some offset printing jobs to digital, allowing for more flexibility in the printing process, as well as to target new customers seeking personalized printing capabilities.
New customer applications being run on the DocuColor iGen3 include:
Customized calendars for A.G. Edwards. Financial consultants are able to customize calendars from a template on the Web and personalize it with their photo. Primarily a retention tool, the calendars are sent to clients, keeping the consultant's and firm's name in front of them all year long. PII will do 1 million impressions a year with various calendar programs.
Print-on-demand fulfillment for Bosch Corp. PII produces product manuals and point-of-sale sheets on an as-needed basis. By using the iGen3's print-on-demand capabilities, Bosch is able to prevent the overprinting of documents that sit on shelves and are wasted. This saves millions of dollars by printing only the materials a customer needs, when they need them.
Internet-based marketing program for Caterpillar. Sales agents use a Web-based program hosted by PII to create and order marketing materials, which are then printed and shipped—usually within 48 hours. Agents can specify the specific materials and quantity they need, thereby eliminating waste. By using an approved Caterpillar template for the design, Caterpillar dealers are able to leverage powerful brand equity while maintaining the corporate identity.
A Xerox SmartPress Consultant, part of Xerox's customer business development team, spent time on-site at PII to ensure that the company took maximum advantage of the DocuColor iGen3's capabilities, and to assist in identifying volume-building and revenue-generating opportunities.
"Since the early 1990s we have been working with Xerox to develop successful digital printing opportunities," Huff reports. "We felt that the iGen3 was the best product on the market. That, coupled with the Xerox commitment to the product line and the progress we had seen in their other digital platforms over the past 12 months, made us feel confident they were the best partner to choose."
Providing Best Solutions
With that, Huff promises PII is a company committed to servicing its clientele. It's "Whatever It Takes" attitude is a core value at PII. "We exist to provide opportunity and security for our employees, and we know that the only way to make this happen is to provide a 'Whatever It Takes' attitude in providing our customers with the best solutions possible."
PII has taken the lead in Web integration with development of its On1 technology. An On1 solution lets members of a sales force go online to select, personalize and mail a brochure or any of their corporate-branded marketing materials. Insurance, investment and manufacturing clients are already using this technology to manage their direct marketing—all on one site. In the future, Huff says PII will continue to invest heavily in On1 technology.
"This technology allows our customers to harness the power of the different Taylor companies under a single technology solution," he notes. "Whether it is procurement ordering corporate stationery products or marketing implementing a worldwide database direct mail program, the different modules of On1 allow this to happen in a seamless, efficient and cost-effective manner.
"From a production perspective I think we'll see further product development in many areas over the next 24 months," Huff concludes. "We look forward to further integration, from printing to finishing, to reduce the amount of time and labor it takes to produce finished pieces."
* In just eight years, PII has grown from three employees to nearly 200.
* 75 percent of PII's clients are on the Fortune 500 list and 50 percent are in the top 100.
* PII produces more than 85 million direct mail pieces per year.
* PII's publications are printed in 24 languages and are sent to more than 35 countries.
* In a typical business quarter, its customer service teams handle more than 20,000 phone calls and nearly 15,000 faxes.
* More than 130,000 images are maintained in PII's Electronic Library System.
* PII's technology professionals maintain more than 20 million data records.
* PII manages more than 350 gigabytes of information.