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Commentary & Analysis

The Cloud: Speeding Receivables for Printers

Two printer case studies on speeding receivables show another way that cloud business can save print shops money.

By WhatTheyThink Staff
Published: October 26, 2017

Areas of IT Infrastructure Migrated to the Cloud (by company size)

 

Small business

Medium-sized business

Enterprise

Total

Applications

61%

61%

74%

69%

Storage

49%

53%

47%

49%

Database

25%

45%

31%

33%

Security (testing aaS)

16%

18%

13%

15%

Other

14%

10%

9%

10%

None

8%

4%

4%

5%

Source: Survey of IT professionals in North America  (eMarketer 12/2015)

Increasingly, we are entering a world in which everything is connected. All of our systems, both home and business, are feeding data into the cloud, where it is collected, stored, and analyzed. That data is used to improve the speed, efficiency, and productivity of everything we do.

But not all printers are flocking to the cloud. In part, it is because it may be hard for them to see the connection to a real live printing business. You may already have a high level of automation. What additional benefit does the cloud really bring? Let’s look at two case studies that bring the value home.

Printer #1 had a problem collecting funds on purchases made by its customers. Historically, this print shop, like many others, would run a client’s jobs, then wait 30 to 60 days to get paid. The shop would email, call, and then email some more. At one point, close to 30% of its revenues were tied up in receivables.

Amazing Print Tech, a provider of web-to-print solutions, suggested using the cloud instead. It proposed a solution in which graphic designers would no longer emailed proofs to their clients. Instead, the sign-off process would be moved to the cloud. Customers would view their proof online, and once approved, they could choose paper and quantity and be taken to checkout for payment.

At first, the shop was hesitant, saying this was not the way they did business. Nor did it believe that clients would accept a cloud-based system because they were used to the old payment terms. So Amazing Print tweaked the system to allow clients to choose their own payment terms. Clients were given four options:

  • Checking out online by credit card
  • Checking out using a procurement code or purchase order number
  • Paying upon pick up
  • Selecting ‘bill me later”

To the client’s surprise, when offered the option of paying immediately, more than 80% of its customers took it. This eliminated a huge backlog of receivables. Additionally, customers complimented the printer on offering the convenience of “getting it done” rather than making them wait for a bill and deal with the extra paperwork.

The cloud solution turned out to be a win-win for all involved. All of the printing company’s transactions were synchronized in QuickBooks; the printer got paid more quickly; and clients were happy with the ease of ordering, reordering, and eliminating paperwork.

As another example, Printer #2 was also having a problem with receivables. By switching to a cloud-based accounting system, it also gave its delivery people tablets its customer can use to sign for delivery. Now once the client signs for a job, cloud software automatically generates an invoice. With just this simple change, the printer picked up ten days on its receivables.

So before you assume that you can’t adapt cloud-based systems because your customers won’t accept that much change, think again. Customers are highly adaptable, especially when the change benefits them.

 

Source:  Adapted from Cloud Production: A New Path to Profitability (How to Benefit from Cloud Automation), by Slava Apel and Joseph W. Webb, Ph.D., 2017. 

 

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