RPL Graphics--The New Breed of Printing Company
Value-added services are another element of RPL's strategy. "We perform version control to make sure that technical documentation goes out with the correct version," says Doreen Linden, managing director and sales manager. "For direct marketing companies who need to personalize mailings or catalogs, we also provide variable-data printing."
Other value-added services include digital archiving, custom index tabbing and kit assembly. RPL consults with customers on production and design, finding ways to refresh an old design, implement a new one or identify production and layout changes to stay within budget. It repurposes information from a print project to a customer's Web site, CD-ROM or direct mail campaign.
It also offers technical consulting, for assistance with anything from preparing and saving files correctly to multi-level data conversion. RPL covers the final stage of a job by providing complete fulfillment and shipping services. "We ship around the world," adds the senior Ron Linden. "Sometimes we ship a ton of documentation in a day."
In several key accounts, RPL has installed a system for ordering printing via the Internet. A customer in, say, Dallas may use the system to order a manual by its part number. RPL then posts the cover of that manual on its Web site as verification that the correct one has been ordered. The customer then enters the number of items to be printed and shipping locations. While the job is in progress, the customer can track its status.
The online ordering system has helped jobs move quicker. It has relieved RPL's customer service reps of routine tracking chores. Most importantly, it gives customers central accountability for all print orders, even those entered from locations around the world.
RPL exemplifies a trend seen today in manufacturing operations of all kinds. As the actual manufacture of goods (in this case, putting ink on paper) becomes more automated, and as markets become more global and competitive, profits depend increasingly on the service side of the business. Value-added services and online ordering systems can simultaneously increase revenue and make the manufacturing operation more efficient.