An overview of the benefits of web to print – for people running print tenders.
What are web to print platforms and why do people use them?
Web to print platforms are online, collaborative areas where print-ready artwork is stored and where employees across the organisation and across locations can call-off or order print.
It’s worth noting that web to print historically was a fairly limited technology, and their modern equivalents have grown into systems offering a much wider range of functionality.
In addition to managing artwork, the latest systems offer account and project management oversight, spend control, quality control, brand management, as well as offering advanced reporting suites.
If you’re running a print tender, we believe that having access to a system like this should be at the heart of your strategy.
So, here’s what to look out for and what benefits such a system can bring:
Cost centres and approval paths
Built into your platform needs to be the ability to setup cost centres and approval paths. This allows each branch, department or location to act as a cost centre. Which means when a user from area ‘X’ logs into the portal, they will be able to review their division’s print spend to date against a budget.
They will also be able to head to the ‘Print Shop’ where they’ll be able to find a range of commonly ordered print items with pre-agreed pricing. They will then be able to edit some predefined content – according to an established template (where applicable) – and order the print they require.
Approvals paths are hard-coded into the system while giving teams across the organisation the flexibility to quickly order brand-compliant print.
This order will then go down your pre-agreed approvals or sign off path for approval before the print is either called off from stock or printed. At this approvals stage, managers can review the print specification, cost and the artwork, and can then approve the order.
On approval, the artwork is sent to your printer partner to produce and deliver or reject the order with a reason. If rejected, this will then go back to the cost centre user along with suggested improvements or changes to amend accordingly, to ensure requirements are met.
Digital Asset Management
Digital asset management is a key feature of web to print systems, allowing for the storage of any and all digital assets. This includes videos, PDFs, images, artwork etc. and is a really easy way to ensure your cost centres have access to the most up to date marketing guides and digital assets. It’s also a simple way for brand guardians to ensure only the most recent and brand-compliant assets are available across the organisation.
The print shop needs to be entirely bespoke for every customer. Products which you most regularly order – anything from basic business cards and flyers, to merchandise and catalogues – will be pre-loaded onto the system and be available in a user-friendly shop format for browsing and ordering. At Webmart, we call this facility the print shop, but it might be called an online catalogue or brochure.
Here, the specifications of certain products can be locked down to ensure brand consistency across cost centres. For example, we could only allow people to order your branded notepads on 80gsm stock, or A3 posters on 200gsm silk as per your tendered specifications.
A few other handy features to look out for:
- Live, 24/7 reporting
- RFQ functionality
- Brandable fully to your organisation in line with your brand guidelines
- Templates with the ability to lock down certain elements.
Product call off and stock management
Your print partner should be able to manage product call off on your behalf.
Here’s how it typically works:
- Identify your expected daily/weekly/monthly volume of call offs
- This can then be integrated with your print platform
- Once integrated with the platform, logistics partners will hold a suitable level of stock and mail out the items following a call off within the agreed SLA.
- For example, at Webmart we manage stock for a number of high street brands and charities such as Great Ormond Street Hospital. We have also developed our own stock management platform which is integrated into our print portal, which allows customers to manually call off products when required.
If you’d like to get hands on with a web to print system, Webmart’s print portal is available free to every Webmart customer. For a demo of how it works, please get in touch by emailing firstname.lastname@example.org or calling 01869 321321 or filling out the contact form below.