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The Advantage Online

Nov 1, 2006 12:00 AM

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If you are a realtor and you need business cards and related materials, Advantage Printing can help. Founded 15 years ago, the Spokane, WA-based printer initially specialized in laminated business cards. Today, Advantage Printing offers laminated photo business cards, (“Quick*Start”) UV-coated business cards delivered the next business day, postcards, stationery, envelopes and even custom playing cards.

Although the printer was an early digital print adopter that had enjoyed 28 percent growth since its inception, a cumbersome manual ordering process began to hinder its growth. Prior to 2003, customers faxed order forms or submitted files on compact discs. Three years ago, Cohesion Inc., a systems integrator, helped Advantage Printing implement Press-sense iWay Prime, a Web-based interface that automates typesetting, prepress, payment processing and production control. The results were dramatic.

Streamlined process
Press-sense iWay Prime automates two tasks, typesetting and data entry, that would otherwise require three employees. And, since customers have had direct control of their printed products, internal error rates have been slashed. Advantage printing’s re-run rate now is approximately one percent, vs. eight percent under its manual workflow. Without adding workstations or employees, Advantage Printing grew 36 percent in 2003.

“iWay Prime’s productivity and repeatability were significant factors in winning over [our] management,” says Dave Huewe, Advantage Printing’s GM. “It’s the key component for our continued growth as a company.”

With iWay Prime, Advantage customers can order printed products 24 hours a day, 365 days a year. The printer offers an online tutorial and telephone-based customer and technical support services, but has found most customers can place their orders without any intervention. Difficulties resulting from time zones, faxed order forms and phones calls have been reduced significantly.

“Since introducing iWay Prime, we also have discovered that for 75 percent of the orders, the typesetting and order entry departments are no longer needed,” says Huewe.

Press-sense iWay Prime’s tracking and reporting abilities have gotten good reviews from Advantage’s customers.

Currently, Advantage Printing works with approximately 2,600 users from a wide variety of organizations. These users range in ability from novice to expert. Some users represent wholesale print buyers who upload completed PDF documents for print, while a significant number of users purchase printed products that are based on templates designed by Advantage Printing.

Advantage has found a somewhat unexpected additional source of business: the wholesale, four-color process printing market. Press-sense iWay Prime Advantage easily enables Advantage Printing to market to work with small printers that lack four-color process capabilities.

Customers are impressed
Advantage Printing is looking forward to Press-sense enhancements but couldn’t be more pleased with the current product. “We have benefited from iWay Prime’s relative ease of use, the ability our customers now have for tracking all of their orders at any given moment, and our customers’ ability to repeat orders easily without rekeying information,” says Huewe. “No less important is our ability to communicate and receive orders from our customers, via the Web. All of these benefits are extremely important as they allow us to continue the growth and development of our business at a reduced rate of capital expenditure and overhead. Most important are our customers, who are extremely impressed by our ability to have their materials printed by the next business day.”

Graph Expo
At Graph Expo, Press-sense featured Press-sense Manager, which extends the CRM capabilities of the iWay base solution. The company also showcased Press-sense Omnium, a comprehensive automation and standalone enterprise resource planning (ERP) system engineered specifically for the print industry. Press-sense solutions also were demonstrated in Hewlett Packard’s booth. Press-sense’s technology also could be seen powering Xerox’s FreeFlow Web Services 5.0 and OcĂ© PRISMAweb 3.

About Press-sense
Founded in 2001, Press-sense has an installed base of over 700 customers throughout North America, Europe and Asia Pacific. Press-sense solutions enable printers’ customers to access product templates, develop and proof print jobs, and place orders via the Internet.

The big three
Press-sense offers three basic product lines:

  • Press-sense iWay v3.0 is an open platform that allows the user to create, customize, order, print and generate mass or personalized marketing campaigns. The latest version offers numerous user enhancements, new integrations into other third-party solutions, and the ability for print providers to supply “guest access” to occasional buyers.
  • Press-sense Manager is a new software package that enables users to integrate analog customer management, fulfillment and billing into a digital workflow. Especially suited to smaller commercial printers and digital print shops, it adds CRM capability for integrating analog order capture and management. With its essential MIS capability at the back end for billing and fulfillment, Press-sense Manager is a robust management tool that can be integrated with the JDF-compliant, Press-sense iWay solution.
  • Press-sense Omnium 1.5 is a comprehensive solution (omnium is Latin for “everything”) engineered exclusively for print businesses. It fully automates the process of converting customer “intents” into comprehensive production and fulfillment plans, while automating the flow of business information and data. Press-sense Omnium also seamlessly integrates with production and accounting workflows to track and report on quality procedures, CSR tracking and follow-up, client communications, billing, inventory, and delivery management. It removes barriers between the business and production sides of a printer’s business to create a completely integrated solution, providing a clear, analytical decision-support tool.