ROYAL IMPRESSIONS -- Getting With The Program
One of the keys to Royal Impressions' success in variable printing was its development of the MCOM (Marketing Collateral Order Management) system, Estrada notes. MCOM can be used to place an order for personalized and customized jobs, including actually building a variable data document online. It also can be used to procure static documents on-demand.
The company built its own Web-based system because there weren't any solutions on the market that met its clients' needs, Estrada says. "This wasn't a 'build it and they will come' exercise. It evolved completely out of a specific client's vision," he explains.
Initially the company built custom deployments of the system for each application. "We didn't want to build a box and tell clients to fit the way they do business into how we designed the system," Estrada says. "Over the years, we've learned that there are certain core features and capabilities that all clients want to have. We still need the flexibility to do custom development, but we can start with 85 percent of a system built already. That has become a competitive advantage for us."
As an example of the system's flexibility, the director of CRM programs points out that a recent deployment is designed to support up to 8,000 users. Each is going to be able to place orders for customized and personalized pieces on a monthly basis in quantities in the hundreds.
The nature of the marketing programs and client base mean that a need for design services can also figure into the package. Again responding to demand for tight turnarounds, 10 years ago Royal Impressions bought a three-person design firm it had been sending work to on an outsource basis. "We need to have that capability in-house," DeSantis says. "Today we have six quality designers on staff to go farther upstream with clients and to add value."