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Blog / Web to Print and Printing Industry: What printers look for in web-to-print solution?
Monday, November 5, 2012

With increasing automation in printing industry, printers need efficient and automated tools like MIS, workflow management and web-to-print solutions to increase their productivity and become responsive to increasing market demands.

However, the complexities involved with purchasing and adopting such technology driven solutions has prevented printers from taking advantage of these productivity enhancer tools.

Some of the major concerns that printers face while adopting digitized web to print solutions are:

  • There are multitudes of web to print solutions available in the market. Choosing the right solution that can seamlessly integrate with existing work process and fits into company’s budget is a rather time consuming and challenging task for printers.
  • Implementing an in-house web to print solution requires huge investment in terms of setup and maintenance of necessary hardware and software infrastructure.
  • Many web to print solutions come at large upfront licensing costs, which puts extra burden on existing business and demands higher returns right from the beginning.
  • Printing firms need to hire on-site IT staff to implement the new print workflow, operate the software and upgrade it as per growing market requirements.
  • Most of the printers are not much tech savvy. Their core expertise of lies in printing materials and machinery and implementing an automated workflow system requires considerable shift of focus. Hence it is a challenge to choose a solution that requires least intervention and is easy to learn and operate.

Due to some or other issues as indicated above, many of the printers has either not adopted the web-to-print or have adopted but are not using them due to underlying complexities.

But, the good news is, recognizing the above challenges faced by printers, many web to print providers have developed their solutions on scalable and integrated platforms and are offering flexible pricing models to ensure that printers get the maximum benefit of their investment with quick turnaround time.

Some of the key points that printers look for while choosing the right web to print solution are:

  • The solution should be available on flexible pricing models. Large printing hubs generally prefer to buy it on lifetime licensing model, so that they can utilize the existing IT staff and system infrastructure to implement the system without any recurring costs. With just one time licensing cost they get complete ownership of the solution which they can implement as per their specific requirements. However, small scale printers who have limited budget can take benefit of the cloud based subscription service where the solution is available on very affordable monthly and yearly plans.
  • The solution provider should have dedicated technical and support team that takes complete ownership, right from the requirements gathering, to customization in the solution, to seamless integration of the solution into existing system and doing a live test to ensure the complete integrated system is in place for production use. This will relieve printers from burden of understanding and implementing the integration process.
  • Printers should get access to 24×7 help desk system or customer service where they can raise a trouble ticket for anything like bugs, usability queries, configuration issues etc. and be assured that they get the timely support without any delays.
  • Market is seeing the increasing trend for more integrated solutions than loosely coupled heterogeneous systems, to lower the operational and maintenance cost. Hence the web to print solution has to be developed so that it is easy to be integrated with any existing workflow and MIS systems. This enables printers to maintain the complete solution stack in a controlled environment.
  • It should be easier to change from SaaS model to licensed model anytime, hence giving clients the flexibility to keep their investment low in initial stages and opt for more cost effective license model once the system is fully validated and great returns are assured.
  • The solution should be easy to learn and adopt. Printer should get access to fully documented and well guided user manuals and video tutorials to train their staff easily and quickly to make best use of such solutions and reduce the print cycles to ensure maximum print production.

With increasing digitization and competitiveness in print industry, printers are left with the only two choices of either adopting advanced tools or systems to enhance their productivity or take risk of running out of competition in time to come.

Hence, printers need a low cost, simple and very secure web-to-print solution that can fit their budget and industry demands to win the race and be profitable.

CEO and Co-founder at Design'n'Buy.