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Blog / Is web to print for only commercial printers and print service providers? How in-plants can adopt this technology for benefit of organization?
Wednesday, August 5, 2015

web to print in plant printers
Print Industry is a complex mix of various mom and pop stores, corporate printing giants, small & medium print service providers, in-plant printers and printing businesses with various other models of business.

Being a part of industry, it’s interesting for me to explore and find out differences for these different business models. The one thing that runs common among all of them is printing and here is where “Web-to-Print” comes to play a pivotal role. Web-to-Print has completely revolutionized the process for commercial printers and small and medium print service providers.

As web-to-print solutions provider, I always think of what customers’ want, what is the core and augmented value they can derive out of our solutions. Commercial printers have their set of expectations from Web2Print products such as basic e-commerce features, room for personalizing, able to manage look and feel for different stores and shipping and payment gateways integration. That’s why segment of commercial printers have large number of players who are accepting this trend of Web to Print.

“Printing” being the parent, in-plant printers can be metaphor as siblings of commercial and corporate printers, small & medium print services providers. But they experience considerable difference in terms of their requirements and expectations from Web-to-Print Solutions provider.

Before leaping into the requirements for in-plant printers, let’s have a quick look at where In-plant printers operate. Basically in-plant printers can be part of any organization just like they hold various departments of Human Resources, Sales, Operations, Marketing, Production, Delivery and others. But the most relevant scenario where in-plant printers hold relevance is colleges, universities, government institutions and organization having huge printing requirements internally.

The in-plant printers typically face challenges in terms of limited budget and manpower allocation, improving accessibility, fast turnaround with urgent requirements, printing in bulk, lack of standard requirements, gaining copyright for approvals of their materials and others.

Now the question rises, whether Web-to-Print is able to answer these queries for In-Plant Printers. I connected the dots in my mind and found that with Web to print adoption; in-plant printers can eliminate these challenges.

How Web-to-Print can do make over of In-plant Printers?

With listing out the challenges faced by In-plant printers, several ways in which they can adopt Web to Print and for organization benefit and eliminate challenges–

1. Web-to-Print Private Website

In-plant printers can enhance their existing printing services by leveraging the power of Web2Print with a full-fledged and functional web-to-print  Private website. With Web to Print website, in-plant printers can provide a platform for different users to communicate and assign work to in-plant printers. This eliminates the back and forth of work between in-plant printers and concerned departments.

These websites allows individual departments to upload their print jobs, reprint previous orders, create customized material on approved templates and order items from inventory for printing.

Each and every department can either directly access in-plant website or can create customers’ login for themselves to order their printing job. This will created an automated process for registering jobs on in-plant printer’s web portal and they can streamline the job process on the basis of urgency or “First Come, First Serve”.

This is the easiest way of improving accessibility throughout the organization and optimizing printing capacity for full utilization.

2. Variable Data Printing Plug-in

Many in-plant printers are already doing practice of website and print automation with storefront. The value addition in their existing system is VDP Plugin. With requirements of many in-plant managers of personalizing different documents for existing and potential users, they need to invest time in creating individual copies for all of them. VDP can be the answer here.

Variable Data Printing is the technique which allows users to produce marketing and printing material with variable data during printing process. I was also not convinced about the implementation of VDP for in-plant printers. While researching for the same, I came across, case study of VDP for University of Oklahoma which is one of the largest in-plant printers in United States.

For them VDP emerged as new way of enrollment, as it allows them to differentiate university and to make personal appeals to convince prospective parents and students to choose OU.

With this, there can other situations like, printing report cards where we just need the format to be same, other field like Student’s name, numbers, and rank will keep differing and thus ideal solution here will be VDP.

This will eliminate manual work of feeding details for each student and modifying values during production rather than creating thousands of copies of individual report cards.

3. Web-to-Print Multi Department Storefronts

Mostly corporate printers accommodate this module for creating different stores with different look and feel for their various customers. They want different look and feel, themes and other specific brand elements.

In-plant printers can work with a simpler version of multi-department storefronts. With multi-department storefronts, different departments can personalize their documents differently, can use customized templates, place order from their accounts and get work done from in-plant printers.

This coupled with mailing services of Web to Print also enable sharing, proof-reading and approval of materials online. Thus, it makes a complete package for in-plant printers’ needs.

4. Web-to-Print powered with Mobile

With Web-to-Print it’s easy to integrate and replicate whole system of in-plant printers’ on mobile also. This makes it easy to view and streamline things while out of organization. This also gives them Omni channel presence and in turn enhances customer experience.

Web-to-Print can be a one-time investment with lifelong benefits for any in-plant printing set-up and thus can be adopted by any organization. With the example of University of Oklahoma we can estimate how beneficial it is for in-plant printers to go with Web-to-Print solutions.

So Web-to-Print can serve in-plant printers in the same and efficient way, it’s doing for commercial and other printers.


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