Web to Print Best Practices Presentation Graph Expo 2016

  • Howie Fenton
  • |
  • November 01, 2016

I've recently returned from the Graph Expo 2016 show in Orlando, and I must admit, I was pleasantly surprised by the in-plant attendance! I attended four in-plant events and participated in two. In each case, there were at least sixty people in the audience. One of those events was the RSA luncheon presentation, "Web to Print Best Practices for In-plant Print Centers."  I was one of three panel presenters along with Bob Neubauer, the editor of In-Plant Graphics Magazine and Vince Tutino, the Senior Product Manager from RSA. The moderator was Elisha Kasinskas, Marketing Director of RSA.

Each of us were asked to answer questions on three phases of web to print implementation-- early, middle and late. After each of us described best practices, we summarized what was most important, and for me, that is having an overall game plan.

  1. Identify goals and objectives. Are you hoping this software will help you make it more convenient for your customers to order, increase your own internal efficiency, or reduce your manufacturing cost?
  1. Identify candidates. The most common ways to identify different options is to read trade magazines (In-Plant Graphics), talk to other companies (from peer groups or associations), and use keyword searches (Web to print software) in search engines like Google. As you identify potential solutions, start a spreadsheet that includes the different features.
  1. Identify a metric. Based on your objectives set in step 1, try to identify a metric that can measure your success in achieving that objective. For example, if you're thinking about reducing your manufacturing costs, consider cost per piece. If you are thinking about reducing service level agreements, consider measuring your cycle time. Also useful is considering how you will automate the measurement process.
  1. Gap analysis. Perform a gap analysis that compares your staff's skill level to what is required with the software. Where there are gaps, you need to plan to train staff or hire staff to fill those gaps.
  1. Get the buy-in. Reasons that companies struggle with their web to print implementations involve not achieving the buy-in from staff and customers. You should plan to discuss early and get feedback from both customers and staff about the features and functionality of the software.
  1. Beta Test. Before introducing to all customers, you should deliver the solution in limited fashion to a beta test group of customers. There was an interesting debate on the panel about exactly who should be your beta test client. Vince suggested it should be long term customers that you have a strong relationship with, who are easy to work with. I related the story I heard from Rocky Reynolds at Citrus College who used his most difficult customers in the beta test to ensure they have the best solution for the toughest critics.

Watch the Session Video now

Watch this expert panel share WTP insights to enable in-plant print shop managers to implement and use a Web to print system and to realize its maximum benefits.


About the Author

Howie Fenton

Howie Fenton is an independent consultant and trusted advisor to in-plant printers. He recommends equipment, best practices and workflow automation tools to streamline operations. To learn more about measuring performance, benchmarking to leaders, and improving your value e-mail Howie@howiefentonconsulting.com

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