By Courtney Saba – DPS Magazine
Web to print (W2P) systems serve print environments from in-plant operations to commercial printers. Depending on an organization’s clientele and particular needs, print providers benefit from a variety of features offered by W2P solutions, including workflow optimization, streamlined ordering, and automation.
In addition to the advantages these systems offer, print organizations must understand the investment required to get W2P up and running—from the initial system setup to employee and client training.
Successful implementations provide insight to printers considering adding or upgrading W2P. Here we profile four print providers that have successfully implemented W2P either as a standalone offering or part of their overall production workflow. Each company offers a unique scenario and incorporates W2P for different reasons.
Michigan Farm Bureau
Based in Lansing, MI, Michigan Farm Bureau was founded in 1919 and is the state’s largest general farm organization. It supports a variety of commodity agricultural sectors and is committed to representing, protecting, and enhancing the business, economic, social, and educational interests of its farmer members.
Throughout 67 county farm bureaus and more than 450 agents across the state of MI, the organization employs a staff of over 200,000. Within its departmental services division, the organization serves all of MI and incorporates a range of communication services from design and printing to finishing and mailing.
“We meet all of the communication needs of our organization as well as our outside clients,” says Karen Meyers, business manager, Michigan Farms Bureau. Some of the services they offer include graphic design, dimensional printing, variable data printing, banners and signs, digital and offset printing, bindery, as well as finishing and mailing services.
In 2009, the bureau decided to support its production operations with W2P. It researched several different options with client ease of use as well as integration into its management information system (MIS) as leading priorities. Ultimately, Michigan Farm Bureau decided on Avanti’s eAccess solution, which complemented its existing MIS, Avanti MIS. eAccess is hosted on premise.
Once the decision to implement W2P was made, the deployment process began. According to Meyers, it was fairly smooth and the training was successful. She says the most tedious part was setting up all of the templates for variable print on demand items, which took a couple of months.
The W2P system was introduced to clients on a rolling basis. “We launched the website initially to our county offices, followed by our agent workforce, and then to some of our outside clients,” says Meyers.
Whenever introducing new products and systems, it is important to educate clients in order to get them to understand and utilize them. Michigan Farm Bureau provides continuous training sessions as well as documentation on how to place an order with eAccess. Both resources are available whenever necessary.
Through W2P, Michigan Farm Bureau was able to successfully address some of its biggest production challenges and reduce touch points. Meyers says the investment in W2P is a positive addition to the organization. “We have been able to automate our workflow and simplify the ordering process for our customers.”
The bureau calculates return on investment based on the savings in staff time required to set up customer files as well as through the increased business generated as a result of eAccess.
Michigan Farm Bureau plans to continue the growth and expansion of its W2P site, as it is always adding new products and are continuously marketing its services.