Commercial Printers Pulp Generate New Revenue Streams with Presswise and Digital Printing

PULP was born out of the determination of the 40-year-old B&B Printers, a $6 million general commercial printer, to reinvent itself within a dramatically changing marketplace. Formerly a 100% Heidelberg 40" shop, B&B added intelligent print, Web-to-print, cross-media, and other highly profitable marketing services to the mix and rebranded themselves PULP.

Along with the transition came a few challenges. Robert Carrier, VP of Sales at PULP, explains that by their very nature, digital jobs must run through the system faster, and are often relatively small orders. Although PULP had a conventional offset MIS solution in place, it was never intended to process $37 business card orders. He adds, “We planned on doing big things with this press, but with the tough economy, we needed to take any kind of work we could get. The problem lay not in producing the jobs, but producing them profitably. We needed to automate the process. That’s where PressWise comes in.”

Carrier points out that in a typical offset workflow, a job consists of 10, 12, or 14 steps from order to delivery, whereas Datatech SmartSoft’s (Booth 751) PressWise enabled them to get that down to three or four steps.

PULP is currently using the PressWise Web-to-print and estimating modules, with the company’s two largest customers being 100% digital Web-to-print customers. The firm’s sales force is also 100% involved in the new sales process.

“They understand the technology well enough to talk about it and recognize opportunities,” Carrier says. “They are happy, because they see commissions as a result of their work, and the clients are happy because they are getting better results than in the past.” He cites one large customer, one of the largest employers in Tennessee. “Before we added PressWise and digital printing,” he says, “we were one of a half dozen printers that bid every job, for orders of 3,000 to 5,000. Their marketing employees would go to printing services when they needed a new piece, printing services would get bids, choose a printer and manage the process, with printed product being delivered in seven to 10 days or more. With PressWise in place, I was able to approach them with a better way.”

PULP was able to produce orders in smaller quantities with faster delivery times. Additionally, PULP offered the ability to customize materials so they were more targeted and relevant. Carrier and his team educated the customer about the value of print on demand and, as a result, gained all of their business in a three- to four-month sales cycle.

Within the first year, PULP had saved the customer half of its printing budget, producing three or four times as many pieces than were produced before, with a guaranteed turn time of three days.

Carrier says, “We are doing $200,000 to $300,000 annually with this client, and we have never run a single hard-copy proof. They use PressWise Estimator to enter the job, they okay a PDF proof that is automatically generated, and we produce the job.”

PULP has been able to replicate this process so that today 28% of its revenue comes from its digital operation, and Carrier expects that to climb to 40% by the end of 2011. The firm benefits from the new digital automated workflow, measuring its success by monitoring its value-added margins. Carrier says, “None of this would have been possible without PressWise. With offset, we are lucky to maintain 50%, but with digital, we are at 80%. PressWise and the team at SmartSoft were the catalyst for revolutionizing our business.”