Online Print Portal
Saving Time and Energy
Doesn’t everyone like it when a task is made easier?
If something can help you be more organized or help you get a to-do done faster, wouldn’t you go for it?
In recent months, Perfect has had several customers do just that.
They’ve started to use web-based portals to order their frequently needed business documents and marketing materials. The online print portal has helped them save time and get projects turned around faster. It has even provided them with more effective brand management. Employees and offices “in the field” are using the portal to order pre-existing materials instead of trying to produce materials on their own.
Each individually implemented online print portal uses web-to-print technologies to create an online catalog of a customer’s consistently ordered materials. The catalog includes thumbnail images of the available pieces and project details like size and paper stock. Users order materials through the self-service portal as their need arises. Placing orders via the portal can be easier than working through a production manager or e-mailing a customer service rep, as real-time product details like availability, specifications and pricing are housed in the system. The user just selects a quantity and shipping location, and the order is complete. Since the portal contains order history, the need to create or hold on to corresponding paperwork is eliminated as well.
Perfect has provided online print portals for long-time customers like Brandywine Senior Living and OppenheimerFunds, as well as new clients like Living Beyond Breast Cancer (LBBC) and Sapient Global Markets. The implementation process takes about 30 days. It includes customizing the look of the portal to match the customer’s brand and sketching out the workflow to meet user requirements. Some clients use the portal to streamline the ordering process for their production managers or print buyers, others use it to give ordering access to employees at remote locations and offices.
“We customize each implementation based on the customer’s needs,” said Joe Olivo, President & CEO at Perfect. “So far, each customer has had different reasons for establishing web-to-print capabilities. Some want to make repeat orders easier, some want better control of inventory levels, some want to ensure consistency in brand and print quality.”
- Meeting a Variety of Needs
Products available in the online print portal vary from customer to customer, but they include things like signage, sell sheets, brochures, business cards, envelopes, labels and publications. At Oppenheimer, for example, the special events department was having a major issue with the cost and time needed to complete orders for signage for events in cities like New York, Atlanta, Chicago, Dallas, Las Vegas, Boston, and Los Angeles. The orders ranged from as few as one sign for small events to more than 100 for large events. Oppenheimer wanted to make their ordering and billing process simpler, and they wanted an easy way to get brand-consistent signage in a pinch when on site at an event. The portal has cut down on the time it takes employees to submit an order and it has made Oppenheimer’s billing process more efficient and less costly.
Late in 2015, LBBC was looking for a new print vendor to provide print, mail, fulfillment and distribution services. One of their requirements was the availability of an online ordering portal. LBBC had managed its own online ordering system but they wanted to replace it with a new one. The system would need to provide LBBC constituents with the ability to order educational materials as well as LBBC-branded collateral materials. LBBC’s ordering process can be complex, as they make about 30 products available and distribute more than 100,000 free guides annually to women with breast cancer and healthcare professionals around the United States. LBBC’s portal is now processing about 60 orders a month.
“Perfect took the time to understand our needs and built a new portal that is easy to navigate, user-friendly and intuitive on both the front and back ends,” said Kevin Gianotto, LBBC’s Associate Director of Marketing. “This is helping us ensure that our donor support is being used in the most cost-effective way possible and that those in crisis are receiving the information they need quickly and efficiently.”
Perfect’s portal users have been very satisfied, whether it is with a better design, improved user experience or the elimination of paperwork. “One feature all the customers have loved is the consolidated monthly billing that we do for portal orders versus billing for each individual project,” Olivo said. “This makes processing invoices a lot easier on their end.”
- Expanded Capabilities
While current customers have found success using an online print portal primarily for ordering repeat materials, the technology can be used to conduct just about all print business online. In addition to placing orders, online print portal functionality can allow customers to submit requests for estimates, submit orders for projects other than pre-existing materials, review and approve proofs prior to print and even create custom materials from existing design templates. “We haven’t had customers request full online capabilities yet,” Olivo said. “For custom or complicated projects they still like to deal personally with our sales and customer service reps. We’ll see what the future holds.”