If you’re a manager of an in-plant printing operation, you’re always looking for ways to streamline processes. It’s likely that your day-to-day involves one of two scenarios:

Scenario 1

You support a company where work comes in from a stable group of internal employees or systems. Work is regular, expectations are predictable, workflow is not always top-of-mind – until something goes wrong. You have your customers, but there’s always more out there.

Scenario 2

You may run a reproduction department for a university, where jobs come in from all sorts of departments, faculty, staff, and thousands of students who move on every four years. There are many jobs and many front doors (email, FTP, hard copy, etc.). Work often arrives with incomplete production information, and the labour required to produce the work is significant, as are the error rates.
Both scenarios leave room for efficiency and quality improvements. When the jobs go to production, operators must make assumptions about the client’s intentions and translate that into a set of activities: make ready, imposition, color management, and paper/media selection. If they get it wrong, the client may reject the piece, creating rework and a negative experience.
No matter the scenario, you know there’s a better way – so how do you pitch it and get the buy-in to move forward?

Web-to-Print: making the job easier

Whether you’re a commercial printer or a university in-plant, customers expect to be able to easily order services online and that calls for a robust web-to-print solution.
A smart web-to-print solution creates a fresh, welcoming front door to your business, and the smooth, frustration-free ordering experience makes it easy for people to do business with you.
No longer tied to the office, customers are free to order print jobs from the classroom, football stadium, beaches of Tahiti, or anywhere they can tap into the Internet.
Here are five strategic benefits to help you make the case for a web-to-print solution:

1. User friendly

Web-to-print is a simple solution that’s powerful enough to handle the variability of your requests. With fewer clicks, templated workflows you’ve set up a welcoming front door for your clients.

2. Open architecture

The system connects seamlessly and is flexible enough for future growth. You can add wide format capabilities, new finishing options or even multi-channel distribution settings.

3. Cross-system communication

The web-to-print portals can communicate with other pieces of your management information system to enable user authentication, EDM, billing and chargeback capabilities.

4. Hands-free manufacturing

Web-to-print eliminates many manual touch points, ensuring consistent speed and accuracy for any print jobs.

5. Rules-based automation

With the ability to apply conditional logic to unique tasks your production staff can finally make data-driven informed decisions.
With web-to-print’s visual cues for terms like duplex, coating and binding, there’s less opportunity for error often caused by the specialized vernacular of print. And with exact print and finish specifications, your operators can produce a quality product on the first pass, cutting down on waste and rework – ultimately improving your bottom line.
When jobs are sent through a web-to-print solution they also become protected assets and are archived in clients’ digital profiles, ready to be reprinted, shared or changed electronically as needed. And with the power of a database that records where jobs come from and where they go, there’s even more enticing improvements to billing, tracking and reprinting activities.

The bottom line

No matter how much you print, you want it fast, easy and affordably – a challenge if you accept jobs by walk-in, email, FTP sites or even flash drives. When you make the case for a cloud-based web-to-print solution, you’re setting the business up for long term success by:
– Eliminating mistakes before print-ready files reach the print centre and improving the overall client experience.
– Lowering costs and increasing print center volume by adding services without adding staff.
– Shortening job turnaround times with configurable, automated workflows that can include corporate systems and third-party products.
And while many companies don’t install web-to-print software because of a lack of IT resources, Ricoh has hosted and on-premises solutions that can be implemented, customized, and supported by our web-to-print software specialists.
Get the buy-in you need for a web-to-print solution with help from Ricoh.