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The fast lane

May 1, 2006 12:00 AM

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FLM Graphics (Fairfield, NJ) has provided printing services to Volvo Cars of North America, LLC (Irvine, CA), for nearly 18 years. In the beginning, their vendor-customer relationship was typical of the times, with FLM printing a wide variety of marketing materials and drop shipping them to Volvo retailers across North America. While this system worked, customizing ads and other printed materials for the local level had become a costly and cumbersome process.

“It was taking Volvo days and even weeks to get a ‘localized’ piece created, approved and ready to print,” says Peter Desbets, senior vice president of business development for FLM Graphics.

Nearly eight years ago, Volvo decided it was time for a change. The Swedish-based car manufacturer challenged its long-time partner to take a step above the normal role of a printer, to design an efficient and cost-effective way to provide approved brand images and marketing materials to more than 450 dealers and ad agencies in North America.

Shifting to a higher gear
“We wanted to implement a local marketing strategy that would protect Volvo’s global brand,” says Richard Errico, advertising production manager for Volvo. “It seemed like a natural fit to have FLM augment the services they already provided to Volvo with the capability to store, manage and share marketing files online.”

FLM responded with an asset management system that Desbets says was rudimentary, but useful. That system only remotely resembles the sophisticated asset management solution FLM provides for Volvo today.

“Volvo wanted a smoother pipeline for local advertising that would enable immediate electronic delivery of files to retailers, newspapers and local printers, for faster turnaround,” says Desbets.

Three years ago, FLM turned to Saepio Technologies (Kansas City, MO) when it came time to integrate a Web-to-print and dynamic template system. Powered by the Saepio Agilis Print Toolkit, this online ad builder uses a Web portal format to serve up print ads that can be customized easily for use at the local level.

Today, Volvo contracts with various agencies for prebranded template design, while FLM handles overall project management for Volvo North America’s brochures, ads and all print media. Local Volvo retailers have immediate access to postcards, fliers, service forms, newsletters, large-format posters and banners, and newspaper advertisements that can be customized with a variety of images and local store specifics. These advertising materials are instantly sent to retailers, newspapers, co-op managers or local printers for fast approval and production.

Volvo retailers have the option of sending the files directly to a local printer or using the Web-to-print feature, which sends the files directly through the FLM production process for printing. This customized solution includes an e-commerce feature for ordering printed materials and mailing services.

“It makes sense to have one integrated source for all our major print requirements, including our showroom literature, and to have that same company involved with our asset management, because our brochures generate so much of our assets,” says Errico. “FLM stepped up to the challenge with a robust asset management system that they constantly update. I consider FLM to be an important partner, and they certainly have helped in maintaining and growing the Volvo brand.”

At the corporate level, Volvo benefits by retaining complete control of brand integrity while empowering local retailers to go online and customize advertising materials for use in their local markets. Ultimately, Volvo also benefits from a greater ROI.

Driving new business
Desbets says the addition of the Saepio Agilis Print Toolkit and digital asset management technology has elevated FLM from a standard printer to a value-added printer that offers technology-driven solutions and overall project management through all levels of media production.

“Saepio is a great partner for us,” says Desbets. “Both FLM and Saepio benefit when we can offer this value-added technology to other clients.”

Using the model set up with the Volvo account, FLM has been able to create new revenue streams by providing similar applications to other clients. In addition, the application has generated more business for other divisions of the company.

For example, the Volvo application enables local retailers to customize banners and posters and send them directly to FLM’s Trucolor Division for large-format digital printing. And FLM benefits from the additional printing generated by Volvo dealerships across the United States and Canada who select the Web-to-print option the application offers.

“The leverage we get from the Web-to-print and dynamic template system we created for Volvo gives us a step up,” says Desbets, “and that’s what printers need in today’s market to compete successfully.”

For more information about the Saepio Agilis Marketing Suite, visit

Making education easier
The use of technology to augment traditional capabilities is transforming companies like Chicago-based RT Associates ( from printer to critical marketing partner. In the case of Becker Professional Services, this new partnership saves money by reducing resource demands at the corporate level.

As part of the DeVry University system, Becker Professional Review is a global leader in professional education serving the accounting and finance professions. Becker CPA Review and Stalla Review for the CFA are the largest and longest-running review programs worldwide, serving 40,000 students with courses offered onsite at locations across the United States, online and on CD-ROM. The Big Four accounting firms all have chosen Becker as their preferred review course provider.

In the past, Becker’s corporate marketing staff spent a great deal of time customizing course schedules, brochures, direct-mail pieces and other business-to-consumer marketing materials for use at the local level. Once that process was complete, they had to make educated guesses about print quantities, then send files to the printer and make delivery arrangements—not an easy task when you consider that Becker offers hundreds of classes at locations nationwide. “Becker was frustrated because resource demands at the corporate level kept increasing,” says Bill Carver, vice president of sales for RT Associates. “In many cases, they ordered too many pieces, which ended up just sitting on the shelf. We’ve implemented a system that enables personnel at Becker’s local sites to accurately manage, order, distribute and version marketing materials for their specific use.”

The system marries on-demand e-commerce technology with a digital asset management solution that limits orders to materials that will actually be used. At the heart of this solution is the Agilis Storefront, the platform for the Agilis Marketing Suite from Saepio Technologies. RT Associates easily integrated Saepio’s software with existing technology to add the capabilities.

Becker staff at any location simply log in to a custom Web site and choose from nearly 80 templates, versioning the documents with graphics and words as needed. A shopping cart interface completes the Web-to-print process, routing the files to RT Associates for printing. Users also can search for preprinted product brochures and add them to the shopping cart. Printed materials are drop-shipped to the proper location, completing the entire process in a matter of days.

“The solution is easy for our employees to use, and on top of that, they are able to produce the right messaging for their local markets in few easy clicks,” says Katarina Pantelic-Orb, associate manager, field marketing, Becker Professional Review. “Our motivation for implementing this system was to make our sales force more productive, and to give them tools they need. This system has met and exceeded our expectations.”

The Agilis Storefront platform also supports the development and distribution of digital content including video, radio and Web technology. These features are readily available and RT Associates is considering adding them to its value-added services in the future.

“The Saepio Agilis software enables us to show Becker exactly what is being used,” says Carver. “There is a tremendous benefit to Becker because fewer resources are required at the corporate marketing level. Our business benefits because the system gives us new revenue streams and makes us a more critical marketing partner.”

About FLM Graphics
Based in Fairfield, NJ, FLM is a full-service graphic communications company that offers clients a complete range of printing, imaging, creative production and e-business services. The shop runs two Heidelberg Speedmaster six-color presses with inline aqueous coating, a five-color Speedmaster perfector and a Heidelberg Quickmaster four-color DI press. They also run an HP 8550N color laser printer.

In prepress, FLM uses the Prinergy and Synapse Prepare PDF workflow applications from Kodak, Kodak’s Lotem 800 Quantum Spectrum platesetter, Kodak Matchprint proofers and a Tekgraf Spinjet dual-sided color imposition proofer.


For more on Web-to-print solutions, history and provides, see "W2P" in our May issue.