Covid-19 has profoundly impacted the printing industry, but not in the ways you might think. In March of 2020, all business processes that involved human touch and face-to-face interaction were eliminated or significantly scaled back. What many of us thought would only last a short period of time quickly turned to long-term changes. These business processes and in-person interactions are being replaced.
Not Recovery, But Reinvention
In the wake of Covid-19, the print industry is not recovering but reinventing. Each part of the print industry will be faced with monumental decisions that will require significant strategy. Jennifer Matt, president of Web2Print, puts it plainly: “…success will depend on your ability to deploy, implement, and optimize your use of software in the digital transformation of your business”.
This global pandemic will force each part of the industry to accelerate to digital transformation or begin to fade away entirely. Reliance on paper-based workflows is now nearly obsolete. As many larger suppliers and distributors have been forced to move their teams to virtual workplaces, where there are no options for paper-based workflows. The rapidly changing nature of the print industry has also driven competitive pressure for faster turnaround times and left no room for inefficiency in workflows.
It is vital that suppliers, distributors, small print shops, professional print services and managed print services escalate their efficiency and dive deeper towards innovation. After all, through the decades innovation has proven to be the key to thriving in the print industry.
As suppliers continue to source and manufacture large print runs for distributors, they need solid communication with their clients and have their specialty clearly represented. Quality control and pricing continue to be at the top of a supplier’s focus. Although a fast and frictionless process can seal the deal with distributors.
An efficient proofing process not only offloads the responsibility from your distributors, but it is also extremely appealing. Straightforward processes, quality products and competitive pricing are staples to win a distributor’s business and maintain strong relationships with them.
Distributors are often like a high-level assistant to their customers, finding the right product for each project, keeping track of deadlines and helping internal processes and programs run more efficiently. Innovating with software needs to be at the forefront of distributors minds.
An easy interface is absolutely needed for businesses and organizations to make approval decisions, design and collaborate with distributors. Distributors help businesses of all sizes while managed print services appeal more directly to some of the biggest industries – education, healthcare, legal and auto dealerships.
For Managed Print Services
Managed print services target industries requiring a high volume of in-house printing. Their services include analyzing printing needs based on each client, eliminating the need for a local printer. Relying on local printers can become costly and cumbersome.
Many of these large managed printing companies advertise complimentary proofing, but this is only as effective as their communication and editing methods. If the client isn’t able to express their vision or specific details applicable to their project, they are unhappy and on their way to a different print company.
Managed print services make the printing process more accessible and efficient for the users and include maintenance, delivery, and training for all users. Yet, if managed print services continue working at these high velocities they must utilize software that eliminates bottlenecks, keeps deliverables organized, streamlines workflows and keeps key players in the loop.
For Print Shops
Small print shops focus on personal and friendly customer service, and the ability to print a variety of products and accomplish many different print jobs. Smaller print shops are often working with limited software and resources, resulting in outdated systems that are difficult to navigate.
Comprehensive and easy-to-navigate online proofing tools is now a non-negotiable for small print shops looking to meet the needs of clients of any size, work with a variety of files and carry out a multiplicity of print jobs.
Online Proofing Tools: Innovation Through Technology
Desktop Publishing technology has become increasingly more accessible, affordable, and user-friendly for novice designers. This technology has enabled individuals to self-publish content and create ready-to-print material, making it even harder for print shops to attract and retain customers.
Retention calls for a design and proofing process that is as frictionless as possible. Implementing online proofing tools, such as Ashore, make working with you on a project much more collaborative while creating less labor-intensive processes for your customers.
Ashore is an online proofing software that resolves the tumultuous challenges hitting the printing industry – now more than ever. With automated workflows, branded proofing dashboards, internal organization, simple review links, incredible approval rates and countless other benefits, Ashore’s proofing software is unmatched.
Most online proofing tools available limit your approver options or charge per user on accounts. Ashore’s flexibility gives users the power to leverage this proofing software to meet their goals and create more convenient workflows. With affordable plan options, there’s no need to compromise your needs and number of users – you can find what works best for your company.
For Suppliers: Extensive whitelabeling helps your company maintain a professional presence and beautifully integrates Ashore into your processes. Our comprehensive API also helps to integrate your proprietary software with Ashore. There’s no need to worry about the number of files you’re sending, Ashore gives you an unlimited number of files.
For Distributors: Varied portfolios and high project volume means organization is vital. With tags you can quickly sort through proofs using your client’s name, project name or whatever you’d like! Your clients won’t need to make an account or remember another password – add them directly to your proof or send a review link and they will only have to identify themselves the first time they access a proof.
For Managed Print Services: Take advantage of Ashore’s automated workflows. Customize your workflows according to your team and keep internal review clean and effortless. Simply select your desired approvers and non-approvers for each stage of approval – from design team to project managers and finally, to your client. Forgot to add someone to an approval stage? Add them directly through your workflow or simply send them a review link.
For Print Shops: No need to chase your client for edits, Ashore reminds them effectively and eliminates the awkward confrontation. Automated reminders have increased users’ approval rates by more than 50%! Ashore is accessible on any mobile device and with quick page tour guides, your customers can enjoy a hands-on experience in the design process.
Approvers have three different comment tools for contextual commenting. These tools take the guesswork out of feedback and contribute to clearer communication overall. Customized checklists included in approval decisions can also reduce confusion, acting as an e-signature and giving you receipts for your customer’s approval.
Ashore champions the commitment to customer service and overall quality that small print shops are chasing in the decline of in-person interactions.
Don’t Settle for “Good Enough”
Every project is different and the needs of your customer or client can vary quite a bit. This means customization is key. Ashore gives you substantial opportunity to customize your proofing process with approval checklists, email templates, internal deadlines and much more.
Accomplishing precision and quality in every project isn’t impossible, but it necessitates organization and clear feedback from your approvers. Tags in Ashore are essentially folders that help you find proofs right away. Ashore’s partnership with Postmark guarantees that emails are sent securely and gives users live updates on emails – from delivery, open and clicked.
Details go hand-in-hand with maintaining precision and there are plenty to keep track of with each project. Proof timelines in Ashore don’t spare any detail and have easy filter options to sort through information. From email delivery to new comments and status updates, a timeline helps you capture a project’s progress at a glance.
Online proofing tools help to ease worry of miscommunication or missed changes. Put an end to the cumbersome and hard-to-track correspondence. Annotation tools in Ashore lend themselves to more natural and contextual feedback. Layered comments create an easier editing experience for approvers. With each new comment, the current one is bold and dominant in view while the others become faded.
Access to a proof should never be laborious or stressful for your approvers. That’s why Ashore only asks an approver to identify themselves the first time they use our proofing software. Alternatively, users can add their approvers and give them immediate access.
Reinvent Or Die
The Printing Industry has begun reinventing in 2021 and although these changes and massive adjustments can seem daunting to most printing companies, Ashore’s proofing software may be the Hero every printing company has been hoping for.