Web-to-Print and ERP for printing

15 February 2014

Manoj Kotak, managing director of Image Online, is an expert on web designing, web-to-print and e-commerce. He explores on how to integrate ERP with web-to-print solution in the first of his series of blogs on PrintWeek India's website.

manojkotak Manoj Kotak, director, Image Online

As part of our on-ground promotional activities for our Flexi web to print solution we participate in trade fairs across the world. During these printing industry interactions, we often receive inquiries about “ERP for Printing, Online Quote Module, Inventory, Invoicing, Accounting for print jobs ordered offline (through BD and canvasser networks), etc.

Many of visitors are desirous of implementing a web to print solution for their print house, but struggle to find an answer to the question related to ERP!

  • How can the web to print solution be integrated with my existing ERP for printing? or
  • “I am planning to invest in an ERP for printing, will I be able to integrate a web to print solution with the same”?

Making matters tough are some ERP solution providers who erroneously add “web to print” as a part of their feature list. This only leads to confusion – is the W2P & ERP for printing the same? Or Though they are separate will connecting them work wonders for generating print orders?

Technically, everything is possible. However consider this

  • What do you really want this solution? And at what cost? Do you want to try or just to spend?
  • Do you already have web to print or ERP for printing or both or any of them integrated with your print process?

Somewhere we are missing the core function of both web to print & ERP:

  • Can we treat web to print as an easy, web-based print order procurement tool and
    ERP for printing as an effective way to implement or process orders generated using web to print?
  • Do we see a point where pre-order and post order meet?
  • What is your Goal?
    • If you a big offset printing house catering to bulk offset print orders from your regular customers, then you possibly don’t need web to print. You only need an ERP to handle volume-based orders coming from a small group of customers.
    • If you are into short-run digital printing or offset printing handling as low as 500 quantities, what you first need is W2P to gain high-volume, low-value customers at the Print Order Procurement stage.

We always say Nothing Changes! ERP for Printing and W2P are nascent technologies. Over the years, printing orders, large or small have been successfully implemented and fulfilled. Hence, you still can survive without worrying much about technology. Our goal is to only educate you about the various possibilities and apprise you about the solutions available so that you are better equipped to know you really want for your business.

The answer is clear – with your current infrastructure, if you want to explore web based print order procurement tool that can also cater to your existing customers, start with a web to print system. With OR without ERP you are anyways printing multiple jobs for your clients!

However, when the volume increases, or if you are shifting from standard to multiple type of papers, handling lot of quotes, connecting them with paper inventory and so on; you can start implementing ERP.

Ideally, don’t wait to find a perfect system from both of the worlds; you might end up paying more for a complex system.

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