Is your web to print delivering the goods?

Published October 2014

At Claritum, we help hundreds of Clients procure a wide range of print, packaging, gifts & premiums, uniforms & apparel, office supplies and a wide range of frequently ordered products and services. Our cloud spend management platform streamlines thousands of orders, so we’ve seen what works and what doesn’t. Is your web-to-print service working for you?

web to print

An essential capability for Print Service Providers (PSPs) is the ability to efficiently capture orders from Clients through an online storefront, catalog or customer portal. PSPs include distributors, print managers, manufacturers with centralized sales teams, creative agencies, in-house marketing communications teams and other service providers who buy and sell marketing print and promotional products.

Many PSPs still rely on traditional account managers manually taking briefs and quoting on a job-by-job basis. Whilst this approach ensures that the Client receives a great service, its hardly 21st Century and is increasingly only cost effective for larger, more complex projects.

Forward thinking PSPs invest in web-to-print (W2P) to allow their clients to log in to an online portal, personalize a pre-designed artwork template and place an order. Often these are single sourced from a manufacturer who offers a portal into their own production and sometimes they provided by specialist web-to-print software providers. So, why does this solution typically fail to deliver the goods? Why don’t customers adopt and use these solutions as widely as they could? Where is your web-to-print solution falling short?

The reason is a single capability web-to-print solution is only part of the solution.

Clients need to order more products than just variable data print orders. So any platform that limits them to personalizing artwork is too limiting. No one will log in to multiple systems to place orders. It has to be simple, easy to use and convenient.

Clients often need to order personalized products in the same requisition as a stocked product, configured kit and re-order. They also want the same storefront to allow them to specify custom requirements, receive bids and place custom orders. They need to track deliveries, make approvals and view reports. All in the same storefront, catalog or customer portal.

Smart PSPs recognize the importance of remaining independent from manufacturers. Simply introducing a Client to a manufacturer’s single source web-to-print tools eliminates any value the intermediary provides. Why does a client need a PSP when they can order directly from the printer? Being seen to add value is critical.

The optimum W2P solution enables buyers to switch orders automatically dependent on the size of the order, the delivery location and other factors. A W2P tool that simply creates personalized artwork results in more manual order processing, not less. There is more to placing an order than personalizing the artwork. A more comprehensive solution is required.

The right solution needs to control user permissions, allow publishing controls to ensure the right product is available to the right user at the right time. It needs to display pricing alongside the product and have an easy to use shopping basket approach to make ordering business products as simple as online shopping. The right solution also needs to provide spend controls and approvals to ensure the PSP maintains real time visibility and control over Client spending, otherwise its not a credible solution to many end users.

For any catalog solution, it needs to automate the entire back office process including generating the work ticket, selecting the right supplier, raising a PO, issuing the artwork along with the order and delivery details, tracking the costs and automating the down-stream invoicing.

About Claritum

Claritum helps many of the world’s largest enterprises, leading businesses and fast-growing service providers control their complex, frequently ordered expenditure such as marketing & operational print, promotional products, uniforms & apparel, packaging, IT & consumables and related services.

Our cloud spend management platform enables our customers and partners to gain granular visibility and control of every transaction, globally and in real time. Over 150,000 users in 70+ countries rely on Claritum to deliver significant, measurable and sustainable savings.

Find out more about Claritum's

Print procurement platform