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IT Manager Jerry Young utilizes EFI's Digital Storefront in their end-to-end solutions

Published on June 9, 2011

Johnson Anderson's IT Manager Jerry Young talks about how their end-to-end solutions start with EFI's Digital Storefront for seamless integration with Monarch in their envelope business for not only business to business but also a retail storefront for anyone.

Cary Sherburne: Hi, I’m Cary Sherburne, Senior Editor at WhatTheyThink.com and I'm here with Jerry Young who is the IS and IT Manager at Johnson Anderson. How are you today?

Jerry Young: Good, and you?

Cary Sherburne: Good, and maybe you can start by just giving us a little background on your business. You’re in Minnesota and if you can talk about what you do and how many people you have and that kind of thing.

Jerry Young: Well, I’m the IT manager for Johnson Anderson. We basically have 95 employees. We’re a flat sheet convert company which specializes in envelopes. For about the last five years we’ve gotten into converting so we offer a full wide range of products and support for our customers.

Cary Sherburne: And mostly envelopes then.

Jerry Young: Mostly envelopes. That’s our primary business that we grew on. We’ve been around for a little more than 21 years now. We’re really known for our one, is the quality of product and two, our fast turnaround times that we offer customers.

Cary Sherburne: And so I understand that you’ve really got have built yourself kind of an end-to-end digital workflow in terms of the ability to manage the business starting with digital storefront.

Jerry Young: Really it starts with that. We started with digital storefront approximately three years ago and we have both a business-to-business digital storefront and then also a retail application that anyone can buy from. And from there we can offer a full wide variety of products and services to customers but more importantly, the first stop is their business-to-business customers. It makes it easier for them to order products, quick and simple but it also integrates into Monarch seamlessly, which that’s what we’re looking for is a seamless portion of that integration.

Cary Sherburne: Right, so in terms of the – let me go back to digital storefront for a minute. So if I’m a consumer coming in you have a certain set of envelopes that a stocker product line or skews or whatever you call.

Jerry Young: Pretty much so. Our retail customers that we offer on the web itself, we offer a variety of business cards, letterheads, all shapes and sizes of letterhead, business cards, envelopes more importantly because that’s our main thing. But then we also offer people to upload their own artwork and specify specialty items. If they have special artwork, yes, they can load it into a predefined template and from there they can pick and choose their paper sizes, their types of paper and then order of that nature. So we try to cover all of the areas from the end designer that designs envelopes they can load it up or for an individual that maybe wants to do small business envelopes for themselves, they can load their artwork up and then actually put in their name and address and submit that and see the price and select the papers that they want.

Cary Sherburne: And pay, of course.

Jerry Young: And pay upfront, yes. That’s exactly it.

Cary Sherburne: Yeah, and then on the B2B side, would they have a catalog of things. They can probably do ad-hoc orders as well as catalog orders?

Jerry Young: Well our business-to-business is really focused upon individual customers that we have that would be a great fit for them and also Johnson Anderson. But more importantly, our customers have come to us and said we’d like a storefront presence on it.

Cary Sherburne: Okay.

Jerry Young: So what we ended up doing is we meet with the customer several times, and from there we’ll lay out what things we need from that customer in order to build them a digital storefront. But more importantly, it’s branded to them. It is their storefront; it’s not Johnson Anderson’s. We have their logos, their colors on there and then we put on there all of their products that they would order. So when they go out there and log in they only see their products, what they’ve requested, their pricing on there, so it makes it quick and simple for an individual customer to work. And they can have branches all over the country which makes it even simpler.

The other thing that they like about that ability is they can see inventory levels on their product. They can say, “Oh, we’ve got 30,000 envelopes. We need to order 40”, then the system automatically backordered 10,000 envelopes. So they can see that. Reorders are even simpler. So they can click basically three times, four times on the products. They’ve already checked out. They paid for it. How simpler can you get than that.

Cary Sherburne: Yeah, and then from a production prospective, if you’re pulling it out of inventory or if it requires you to produce new materials, that information then flows directly from digital storefront into your Monarch system.

Jerry Young: Yes it does. And once it gets to Monarch there’s a couple of more entries that we have to make in order to get it into print flow scheduling program but that just, there again, it saves time and energy and money on our side an order because we don’t have to recreate the job for one.

Cary Sherburne: Exactly.

Jerry Young: And two, by several additional entries we can have it into the scheduling program, they can schedule it on whatever manufacturing piece of machinery we’ve got and the turn time is quicker. So it is a complete seamless integration except for going from print flow, from Monarch to Print Flow you still have additional work to do on it but it’s a lot simpler doing it that way.

Cary Sherburne: That way.

Jerry Young: And it makes it easier on the customer because we already have their proofs in stock. This is what we’re selling. This is the pictures that we got so when it does go from digital storefront to Monarch, their artwork is already sent there so no longer do we have to fax back and forth and get okay on proofs. It’s already there.

Cary Sherburne: It’s already there. And then they can sort of see statuses.

Jerry Young: They can. They can go back in on the system, look at their order that they placed and see the status of the order. If it’s in production, if it’s been shipped. Once they ship it they automatically get an electronic receipt, an electronic email stating here’s your tracking number. It’s been shipped to you. And then once it’s been shipped we’ll actually bill the customer and we’ll send them an electronic receipt.

Cary Sherburne: And for a typical B2B order, do you have some metrics or quantification of about what this is has saved like before digital storefront and Monarch it took X amount of time and now it takes Y amount of time or?

Jerry Young: Well, what we’ve really looked at hard and that is cost savings. What does it cost to produce the ticket, normal, versus producing it from digital storefront? And we’ve actually come up from savings right now. It normally takes about $110 to $120 to produce one job ticket but using digital storefront we’ve gotten it down to about $63.

Cary Sherburne: Wow.

Jerry Young: We’re even working even harder to get it down to $30, $35. So you see the cost savings for us that we can incur. Even though we’ve made it simpler for the end customer, it saves us time and money in streamlining that operation.

Cary Sherburne: And at the backend on shipping, that’s another big area where you can save, right, because you don’t have to re-key the data and?

Jerry Young: That’s exactly it. We’ve got it to once it goes into shipping, when they go into our shipping system we’ve got it to where it’s integrated to UPS and Federal Express. It automatically brings in their name, address, city, state, zip, their email address, so based upon that all they do is have to weigh it and say yep, we’re going to ship it like this; that’s it.

Cary Sherburne: That’s it.

Jerry Young: And they put a label on it; it’s out the door. So automation, we’ve got it as well automated as the systems allow us to but we’re always looking for new technology to complete that task.

Cary Sherburne: Yeah, and you know, recently EFI acquired SmartStream and that has some more house and fulfillment capabilities. That something you’re looking at?

Jerry Young: And we’re not using that currently right now. Is it something that we’re looking; we’re always looking at new technology that EFI has to offer. Is it a good fit for Johnson Anderson? That’s to be determined. And a lot of it has to do with cost too. It’s got to save us a lot of money in a long haul versus in a short time because you can’t quantify it if it’s a short term because some of the expenses are very expensive upfront. And implementation is sometimes very strenuous too.

Cary Sherburne: Right, right. Now before Monarch did you have an MIS?

Jerry Young: We had another MIS system prior to that. We basically we’re on that for about four years. But…

Cary Sherburne: You just kind of outgrew it.

Jerry Young: …due to limitations. Well, that vendor wasn’t continuing development like EFI was. We looked at EFI and other packages for a complete package. And they basically offered the complete package but more importantly, they were looking at doing more development in the future. What we were concerned with instead of okay we buy this package, we do the conversion, but there’s no more enhancements ever and that’s a huge portion of it. And EFI is continually improving their products to make them better. And more importantly, the Hagen user group also can submit corrections, additions, and they do listen to them. So and that’s important too that they are indeed listening to the users.

Cary Sherburne: That’s’ terrific. Well that’s really good to hear because it always amazes me how few companies really have implemented MIS and I don’t know how you can run a business without it.

Jerry Young: You can’t.

Cary Sherburne: You can’t.

Jerry Young: Not this day. And that’s why we’re looking at more in the future of the digital storefront and the seamless integration of Monarch because that’s where the business trend and business is going. If you’re not, you’re going to fall behind. And we first started this basically four years ago and we really were behind the curve but now we’re not. We’re probably one of the more advanced users on the digital storefronts because of all the XMPie products and non-static products that we use than any other user. And for shear number of products that we have on this site, no one can touch those.

Cary Sherburne: That’s terrific. Well that’s a really great story. Thank you for sharing.

Jerry Young: Thank you.

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