Web-to-Print and In-Plants

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Web-to-Print and In-Plants

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.

3 Comments

  1. Al Schmidutz on February 17, 2014 at 12:06 pm

    Investing in Web-To-Print for an in-plant is critical because in-Plants have a somewhat captive audience to serve. If the in-plant can provide the path of least resistance while maximizing time and quality, they they will win for the parent organization. In many cases they are operating on a constrained budget for labor resources and by investing in W2P, they can streamline the entire operation and grow web-configuration and automation skills.

    Although commercial competition can also make it easy for customers, creating online partners of the in-plant is absolutely necessary. I’ll also add that it requires a savvy understanding the business to know what jobs are best outsourced and which ones are best kept in house. Working with the right partner to quickly process orders is an element that can’t be overlooked.

    It’s not about keeping every job in house, it’s about managing all of the work that exists. W2P can help solve this.



  2. Chuck Werninger on February 17, 2014 at 3:41 pm

    Well said, Jennifer, you hit the nail right on the head!

    It’s much more complex than simply buying the software but the in-plants who fail to buy and implement a sound web to print offering will continue to see their core customers leave them for “the easy button”…even though the alternative print quality might not be as good, the service level not as high and the price may even be higher, they will leave you and never send a card. They’re often sold on the simple convenience and if you don’t provide it, someone else will!



  3. Jennifer Matt on February 19, 2014 at 1:11 pm

    Al and Chuck thanks for adding to the message. I think the in-plant is a special character because of the description of “captive community”. We get fooled into thinking captive means the community will actually follow the rules or make decisions that are in alignment with the overall company.

    Not true. People make decisions that in alignment with their career goals. Everybody is suffering from too much to do, not enough time to do it. These people are perfect targets for the “easy button” – take some of my job tasks away, make things easier on me, do anything that will reduce my burden.

    Online ordering isn’t just available all the time – it should also provide the all-important proactive feedback loop. If you’re still making people call you to find out where their order is, you’re placing a burden on the customer that others can remove with technology.

    Jen