HIFLEX WebShop and MIS provide Integrated On-line Ordering
Friday, April 24, 2009
Press release from the issuing companyAshland, NY -- DTP, CTP, digital print: For the last 30 years the printing industry has been in a state of constant change. The latest developments have been in this area of Web2Print. Revenue for Web2Print sales in Western Europe is over 4 billion euros and 12 billion USD in the USA. These amounts are projected to double by 2010 according to the market research institute InfoTrends (www.infotrends.com), meaning that more than one third of all print jobs are going to be purchased and handled through the internet.
Web2Print is not exclusively for online specialists but also for traditional commercial printers –
In the printing industry, Web2Print procurement is not just a sideline business opportunity. Web2Print has become mainstream. Internet print procurement no longer belongs solely to the printers who exclusively do their business online. More and more, traditional commercial printers are utilizing the internet to meet the changing buying behavior of their customers and to take advantage of the new generation of buyers who prefer to buy print online, who they do not currently sell to. Traditional/legacy Web2Print systems are sold and installed as stand-alone-solutions without interfaces to MIS order management systems. This has become a major challenge for printers who have installed these systems as the amount of Web2Print orders increases daily, weekly, monthly and yearly. The trend of online procurement is that buyers purchase much smaller dollar valued orders and do so far more frequently.
This trend is referred to as “buying more of less” and ultimately, Web2Print orders utilize the same administrative resources and make their way through production the same way as standard print orders. Early adopters of Web2Print did not focus on order administration as the main focus was on the usability for the customer. The topic of integration was disregarded, but experienced online businesses are becoming more aware of these challenges and looking for integration from Web2Print, through production and onto delivery.
Stand-Alone or in combination with the HIFLEX MIS – Integration is the focus –
For over 20 years, HIFLEX has provided its customers with workflow solutions that have significantly lowered their customers administrative cost overhead. HIFLEX Systems are installed in over 30 countries and 28 languages. The company is lead by the three Reichhart brothers, all of whom were trained first as printers and second as business economists. Thomas, Stefan and Markus Reichhart grew up in the industry and recognized early on, the potential of online business for printing shops. In 2001, the HIFLEX eBusiness system was developed as a module and extension of the HIFLEX MIS system. In 2007, HIFLEX took its JDF experience to a new level and launched HIFLEX Webshop, the World’s first and only dynamic Web2Print ordering system. HIFLEX WebShop (www.bestprint24.com) is offered both as a stand-alone system or bundled with the HIFLEX MIS. Starting with the open design of HIFLEX Webshop, it can communicate as a stand-alone-solution with any traditional MIS system via the JDF standard format or bundled with HIFLEX MIS. HIFLEX WebShop is integrated with HIFLEX MIS using the very powerful HIFLEX Application Programming Interface (API). The HIFLEX API offers many integration solutions for virtually any external system using its XML/SOAP (Simple Object Access Protocol). In 2008, HIFLEX’s WebShop integration into HIFLEX MIS was awarded two CIP4/JDF Innovation Awards and the PIA/GATF InterTech Award for the consistent use of JDF through-out HIFLEX Web2Print & MIS and the ultra high level automation for a Web2Print Storefront.
Web design made easy, thanks to HIFLEX’s chosen & cutting edge Web Content Management System (WCMS) –
HIFLEX Webshop offers a design configuration tool with ‘Drupal’ (www.drupal.org) the leading global Web Content Management System (WCMS). System administrators can choose from hundreds of design templates, or as Drupal refers to them ‘themes’ and changes only take place when the user activates the new functions into the completed design. No programming or DTP skills are necessary because single elements can be shown or hidden and can be moved via drag and drop functionality within the page areas. These functionalities are why HIFLEX has chosen Drupal and why they have become the global leader in WCMS.
The key to Webshop’s success is the ‘Product Chooser Bar’ and Matrix for highly flexible and quick online estimating –
HIFLEX Webshop has a simple and easy user interface. The central element of HIFLEX WebShop is the HIFLEX ‘Product Chooser Bar’ and product matrix. The user chooses a product they wish to order and are then prompted to select, step-by-step, each of the product’s properties they desire, such as format, pages, colors, paper types, finishing and refinement. The system then immediately calculates an online quotation. Prospective buyers can change all of these properties and immediately and dynamically see the resulting price changes. Individual and custom or non-standard formats and quantities can also be entered by the buyer for custom quoting. During the selection process, impossible combinations are excluded by plausibility checks and mandatory processing steps are included, e.g. creasing with 200 g/sm paper.
The WebShop platform offers the possibility of creating custom print designs from the web browser and the powerful and automated HIFLEX ‘File Uploader Tool’ where buyers can upload files for all of their jobs and specific orders. HIFLEX Webshop provides print buyers with a “softproof” option that automates the proofing process with an online digital proofing workflow. The buyers submitted print files are preflighted automatically, in real-time and proofed immediately for their review. The customer receives a simultaneous preflight report, advising if the files can be processed without problems. HIFLEX Webshop provides the widest assortment of printed products of any Web2Print Storefront on the market today with millions of different product choices including non-traditional products such as cups, baseball caps, ballpoint pens or roll-up banners.
Accurate estimating and integrated costing is essential for success –
The bulk of administrative and technical processes for orders are handled automatically by the HIFLEX MIS backend. HIFLEX Webshop automatically creates quotes, order confirmations, invoices, job tickets and delivery notes as well as JDF data for import to other systems. Manufacturing processes and costs vary widely for the extensive variety of products that are offered. HIFLEX WebShop uses a ‘lite’ version of the HIFLEX MIS estimating engine which accurately calculates all the necessary costing information for each special workflow process and product ordered. HIFLEX WebShop automatically provides buyers with ordering agreements for each order and confirming job layout and bleed information. This information is designed to provide buyers with easy to read and use, instant information, generated dynamically by WebShop for each order.
Web2Print profitability with the HIFLEX ‘Collective Order’ –
Web2Print orders are normally produced using the ganging of multiple jobs onto single forms. In addition to the processing of single customer orders, HIFLEX Webshop organizes the creation of ‘Collective Orders’ using interfaces to automatic layout calculators for gang printing forms. HIFLEX provides an automated workflow for combining these orders onto individual forms by then passing the impositions via JDF data format to pre-press. After the orders are completed, production costs are automatically split up into the individual orders.
Using Internet shipping interfaces (e.g. UPS or DHL) the order will be marked for parcel pickup service and standardized parcel stickers with valid tracking number will be printed.
Marketing is the challenge –
The actual challenge of a successful Web2Print Storefront is its branding. HIFLEX Webshop offers partner and affiliate programs to support proactive new customer acquisition. WebShop also provides an integrated voucher system for bonus and discount campaigns, which is executed by means of email newsletters.
To ensure customer acquisition and customer retention are working correctly an exhaustive target group analysis is necessary. While printing resellers may be in need of products they call “stitched books”, publishers might be looking for “magazines” and direct consumers for “club books” or “yearbooks”. All three want the same thing but each may call it something completely different. If you want to acquire their business, you first need to speak their language. To be able to efficiently address all of the identified target groups, HIFLEX provides a Multi-Branding license. This unique HIFLEX licensing model enables print solutions providers to connect multiple storefronts running under different domain names, but under to the same WebShop backend system. Each domain name can be branded and optimized to address the needs and speak the language of that specific target market.
Lastly, search engine optimization which is the process of achieving a high search engine ranking, is already included in HIFLEX Webshop. HIFLEX has dedicated its target optimization efforts toward the leading search engines such as Google “PageRank” and Alexa “Traffic Rank” which are the accepted standard in internet search engine technology. HIFLEX Webshop uses Google Analytics to evaluate user ‘utilization behavior’ which provides closed loop, customer feedback. Additionally, the HIFLEX backend provides diverse statistics on customers, orders habits and product trend analysis.
HIFLEX WebShop is the complete package designed for profitable Web2Print procurement –
HIFLEX WebShop offers the broadest range of available online products in a totally dynamic online storefront; MIS, UPS and FedEx integration, automated invoicing, automated file uploading, real-time preflighting & proofing and finally HIFLEX eMarketing assistance for your Web2Print Storefront. In summary, HIFLEX Enterprise Solutions provide its users the complete package with the highest level of integration and functionality on the market today.
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