By Brian Kohlmann, The Printery, www.printerywi.com
If you are among the many companies that print large quantities of brochures, envelopes, business cards and other materials in order to get a lower rate only to destroy a large portion of it down the line, you are not alone.
Print Model of the Past
The print model of the past relied on larger than necessary purchases to drive the cost per piece of a particular item to the lowest point possible. Although the initial print spend was manageable, the “total cost of ownership” was never recognized. For example, when you print 10,000 brochures and then inventory them for a period of time – it costs money. When you throw out those brochures due to obsolescence – it costs money. In the long run, what you thought was a good deal ends up not being so.
Enter the concept of print-on-demand (POD). By utilizing a web-to-print tool – often referred to as a store-front (think Amazon.com) companies are able to better manage not only their brand, but their print spending as well. This tool makes it easy for you to purchase only the items you need in the quantities you need, only when you need them. Working through a web-to-print system allows you the opportunity to better manage your print and marketing spend as well as the “total cost of ownership” of your projects. Now more than ever, every penny saved is critical. Why waste when you can be smart with your money.
The concept is easy to follow. Once the web-to-print system is in place, you log in like you would any “shopping” Web site. You place your orders for brochures, business cards, letterhead, coffee mugs, etc…, proof and approve the order in real time, and then check out. Your order is printed and fulfilled by the printing company hooked to the back end of the system. They then drop the finished goods into the FedEx or UPS system for delivery. There is little to no inventory, obsolescence becomes a thing of the past, your brand “look” remains consistent, the accounting function is streamlined, and most importantly everything is tracked in a reportable form for your review.
How to Get Started
So, how do you know if a web-to-print system is right for your company and how do you get started? Well, look at it this way – if you have branches, divisions, or franchise locations across the country or across the globe – a web-to-print system is a great way to manage your marketing communications resources. If you have a company with a large number of employees in need of business cards or other stationary products, a web-to-print system might be the way to go. If you are a company that prints large quantities of material only to keep the cost down, then ends up destroying a large portion of that inventory, a POD solution may be an appropriate way to cut costs.
As for getting started – many of the printing companies in the area have made the investment in the infrastructure and technology necessary to implement print-on-demand store-fronts. If you want to know if web-to-print is right for your company, contact them and ask for a consultation. Here are some things the sales representative will need to know to get started:
• Number of people, divisions, or distributors who will use the site
• Your current marketing communication spend
• Type of products you order on a regular basis
• How much product you inventory or have destroyed in the last year
• What quantity of product is truly needed
In the end, this technology isn’t for every company, but if the circumstances are right, the money saved can be significant.