Where do E-services “Fit” in Printing?
We have clients who buy lots and lots of printing. They may say, “I buy this brochure once every six months and then my people in the field requisition it 2,000 times. We expect you to drive costs out of the print production side. Let’s work on the part that’s broken. It’s really about organization, control and efficiency.
We’d go in and ask a client, how much printing did you do last year, and they’d say, “We don’t know.” How much did you spend on print last year? We don’t know. Our model is, after six months, you’ll know everything about your print spend.
How valuable is it for printers to have fully automated processes?
To be part of our Preferred Partner network, you do have to go through a qualification process. You must meet minimum quality standards, plus have the ability to communicate with us electronically.
But the job is usually only on the shop floor for four or five days, and customers are not checking in every day to see where it is. When we look at the ability of our vendors to interface with us, it’s really on the job initiation and collaborative phase, and then on the back end, in invoicing the job and providing data about the job. We want the client to be able to initiate jobs, do collaborative proofing, and so on, on the creative side, and then to know when the job is shipped. And clients don’t have to pay 70 invoices from 12 different vendors. They pay one invoice, to one vendor.
There are two kinds of transactions in complex organizations, the one-offs and then the repetitive consumption, the literature that’s in the warehouse, the counter cards, stationery and so on. Clients don’t want to issue purchase orders for all that repetitive stuff, they want to pay it like a phone bill. That leaves them free to focus on the more complex print jobs, which may not go through an online system. You don’t build an online system to handle one-offs.