Who doesn’t want to save money? For most businesses, this is a top priority. According to research from InfoTrends, printing costs for business-related communications consume an average of 1-3% of a company’s annual revenue. Excess costs accrue from administrative fees, storage costs, errors and rework, and waste.
How many times have you wanted to update your own marketing pieces or order a simple reprint, but you were required to contact the staff at your printing company and navigate protocols? This is an even bigger dilemma when you want to accomplish these tasks after business hours. Our web-to-print portals essentially eliminate those extra steps by providing you with 24/7 access to your marketing materials and the ability to customize, print and mail through a personalized interface.
Are you interested in learning more about our web-to-print portals and how they can benefit your workflow? Let’s go over the basic details.
What is a Portal?
Our portals are web-based storefronts that allow easy access for ordering pre-designed products, and designing new products, while also providing a place to submit, proof, track, transfer and quote projects. Portals automate the processes of pricing, ordering, producing, and fulfilling orders. What differentiates portals from standard web-to-print websites is the fact that portals are gateways for graphic commerce rather than simply sites to order print. This means that portals allow not only the ordering of basic cookie cutter print, but the creation and editing of customized, personalized print specifically for a certain company. Individually implemented portals use web-to-print technologies to create an online catalog of a customer’s previously ordered projects. They usually include thumbnail sketches of the customer’s products and project details such as size and type of paper stock.
Benefits of Portals
Lower Direct Product Costs
Research conducted by the Aberdeen Group found that companies that switched to portal technology have achieved a 17 percent cost savings on print materials and related services. In another study conducted by the Electronic Document Systems Foundation, similar cost savings were found. When conducted on companies with over 1,000 employees, 39 percent of companies reported a savings of 10-25%, and 13 percent of companies reported savings over 25 percent. When conducted on companies with less than 1,000 employees, 18 percent of companies reported savings of 10-25%, and 6 percent of companies reported savings of over 25 percent.
Lower Supply Chain Costs
When switching to a portal based website, companies usually move from transaction-based pricing and separate prices for each project, to contract-based pricing and one overall price. Contract-based pricing is easier to handle and cheaper than transaction-based pricing. Cutting the number of people involved in your printing process greatly reduces not only price but time as well, so the total supply chain cost is extremely diminished.
Reduction in Waste
Portals allow companies to order products in small quantities by using on-demand production technology, which provides the opportunity to print as needed (rather than in bulk), reduce inventory, and reduce the waste of obsolete products.
Portals also allow users to order 24/7 rather than only during business hours.
With a portal in place, companies can track their spending based on an individual item and user. This means that companies will be able to see how much users are spending and what they’re spending it on. Knowing this, companies can cut any unnecessary orders.
Portals allow for companies to implement a flexible security model that regulates user access and permissions. Companies can choose what users see certain products, and delegate different levels of visibility. They can also create a system that requires the permission of a manager for materials that cost over a specified dollar amount.
Types of Portals
Print procurement portals provide an e-commerce style storefront for the customer. This format is useful for impromptu uploading of files and customization of pre-loaded templates. This portal also provides clients with instant quotes and a shopping cart interface for payment, including a place to input credit card information and view sales tax.
Branding Control and Customization
Branding control and customization portals are built and branded for a specific organization. The organization manages their portal, which includes a website with restricted access where employees can place orders. Branding control portals are designed to be organic and flexible, enabling the company to work with the portal’s developers to meet their print and design needs. Usually companies design the site to mimic the styles of their own websites or databases, making it easier for employees to navigate. This allows employees with no prior knowledge about graphic design to create a professional quality product that fits their needs. The templates and variations of products in the portal are limited to the requirement of the customer and designed with their marketing department to ensure consistency. This helps companies adhere to their branding policies.
Document management portals are self-service web storefronts that are mainly used to allow customers to reprint jobs and manage their product inventory and shipping. Because companies are ordering products that already have price and design approved by both printer and customer, this site can provide the customer with complete fulfillment capabilities. This means that all the customers must do is go on the website, choose which design and quantity of material they want, and click order; the order will then go straight to the print queue. Customers are also able to track inventory on stored products. The site holds all previous order history, so companies can eliminate inventory paperwork. Because the site automatically tracks inventory, it can alert the customer when a product is running low.
Workflow automation portals involve completely integrating a web storefront with the production process. This type of portal is hard to successfully develop, making it a very rare commodity in the print community. The integration allows the customer to design or edit a product, get instant pricing and shipping, and send it directly into the print queue. This process is extremely time efficient and allows the customer to go directly through the preflight process without talking to a sales representative, saving hours, possibly days of pre-press time. The aid of an in-house information technology department is what usually makes this possible.
Another study revealed by InfoTrends found that users of online print ordering and management systems report an average savings of more than 14 percent. Our web-to-print portals offer organizational solutions that can help cut costs.
Portals allow companies to save time and money. They are designed to put as little stress on users as possible, allowing them to design their projects and utilize the website per their preferences. Essentially, you can leverage this technology to work more efficiently, and increase effectiveness in your delivery and management of marketing communications.