The key advantage of in-plants has always been their presence within the organization. A local resource.
The web is negating location by bringing order entry to the customer on every screen (PC, mobile, tablet). If an in-plant fails to invest in web-to-print technology and the required sales and marketing strategy to truly launch it in their organization they are at risk for replacement by outside competitors who can appear MORE CONVENIENT than the in-house provider.
Will investing in a web-to-print strategy increase volumes for an in-plant? The in-plant has to take a proactive approach to marketing their services – using technology to reach more and more customers in their community will increase their volumes by decreasing rogue spend. Estimates vary but as much as 30-40% of spend on printed materials happens outside of established vendor relationships/contracts because individuals are looking for convenience first.
“In-plants don’t typically speak about market share, I think in-plants should be actively calculating the percentage of work they are capturing in their community. The act of figuring out how to capture the overall print spend will help the in-plant understand the potential for growth inside their community.”
Web-to-print is the in-plants best tool for both offense (capturing more volumes) and defense (protecting against outside competitors) who typically lead with technology and convenience as a method for displacing in-house resources.
Remember its not as easy as purchasing the software – you have to have a strategy for how you are going to get the community to adopt the software. This is way more difficult than buying software. You need a go-to-market strategy for your captured community. I know it sounds weird but too many in-plants have invested lots of time and money into web-to-print technologies and failed to realize any benefits because they didn’t make the necessary investment in their community adoption program.