July 7, 2003 -- Colchester-based card and integrated print services provider Hythe Offset, a member of OakHill Group plc, has taken advantage of the arrival of broadband in its area by partnering with Vio as its communications provider.
The company will now manage all aspects of its digital file transfer through the Vio Open suite of workflow management applications, and also employs Vio as its Internet Service Provider (ISP).
Offering a full managed service from design through to personalisation and fulfilment, Hythe Offset employs a staff of 140 and serves a diverse customer base of blue chips and SMEs in the UK, continental Europe and the USA, in industries such as telecommunications, automotive, financial, food, pharmaceuticals, drinks and retailing.
Until recently, the telecomms facilities available to Hythe Offset limited the company to ISDN, as the cost of leased line connection was prohibitive for the volumes of data involved. But, as pre-press supervisor Steve Lowe explains: “We were getting to the point where we were struggling with communications with customers, their agencies and designers, especially as more and more of them have moved to broadband themselves. We weren’t only using our ISDN lines for production traffic - incoming and outgoing emails were going via that route as well, so it could get a bit chaotic when we were trying to retrieve large files for urgent jobs over a 64Kbps connection!”
He continues, “As soon as we knew broadband was coming our way, pre-press manager Colin Nice and I approached Vio, amongst others, with a view to using them as our sole supplier, of the line itself, the applications and the Internet service. Having a single point of contact for all these things is perfect for us, and so far Vio’s technical support has been second to none.”
Hythe Offset has set up a Vio Send to Me button on its own website, which invites customers to submit digital files, via the Internet or alternatively their own Vio ISDN to Me service. Shortly, Hythe Offset will add Vio FTP to Me to its capabilities, to help a number of overseas customers using this method of transfer.
The response from customers has been very encouraging, according to Steve Lowe. “We sent a circular to all customers and internal customer service representatives (CSRs) explaining what we were doing. Customers were also sent an email with a web link, enabling them to download the Send to Me application.
“We’ve already sent Vio Red Hot Icons to some key customers – we think they’re a brilliant tool, and they’ve already proved their value”, he adds. “In the first week of using Vio, we had a client with a last-minute rush job that we needed to get out over the weekend. We installed a Red Hot Icon on their desktop, which meant they could just drag and drop all the files and they were automatically routed to us, with no hang-ups, guaranteed.”
As the team at Hythe Offset gets to grips with Vio’s full range of capabilities, the company plans to expand the number of Vio workgroups, and employ some of the Vio Automation features to auto-retrieve files from certain customers into specific internal workflows. Steve Lowe is also setting up instant Vio email notifications to CSRs, so that everyone working on a client account can be automatically kept in the loop on a job’s progress.
Steve Lowe concludes: “The move to Vio was motivated mainly by customer demand, but it’s a critical step in driving forward our communications strategy and preparing the company for a digital future, especially as we edge further towards CTP technology. It’s early days, but we’re sure that we’ll see Vio make a real difference to the way we do business.”
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