Business Tools for In-plantsOctober 5, 2009 By Bob Neubauer
To help in-plants better maximize the efficiency of their digital operations, Canon Business Solutions has created a program that provides a set of tools exclusively for in-plants. Expected to be available in the fourth quarter, the new In-plant Business Tools Program (iBT) is in the form of a Web portal, which provides ROI calculators, self-assessment tools, marketing ideas and a justification suite to help in-plants tell their stories to upper management.
“In-plant service providers represent a tremendous value to their organizations but often lack the business tools and resources necessary to help deliver that value,” observes Aaron Hale, Commercial Print Industry Marketing Specialist with Canon Business Solutions. He has spent the past year attending various in-plant events and talking with managers. “We listened to many in-plant professionals talk about their challenges, and realized very quickly that we had an opportunity to help our customers be successful in sustaining and growing their operations.”
The program, now in beta testing with a few in-plants, will be made available to Canon Business Solutions in-plant customers who purchase or lease imagePRESS or imageRUNNER Pro digital production presses.
Included in the In-plant Business Tools Program are sales tools, like ROI calculators to help in-plants show their customers the benefits of personalized vs. static direct mail campaigns. Using one of these ROI calculators, in-plants can input cost and volume data for both personalized and static direct mail pieces, along with projected response rates. The calculator will show customers the additional revenue they will see by doing a targeted mailing, printed on-demand.
A unique Reverse ROI calculator lets customers input the sales increase they want to get from a campaign along with their expected response rate. The calculator will show the number of direct mail pieces the in-plant will need to print to get this result.
“With a tool like this, [managers] can show them in a snap what that campaign will cost,” remarks Hale.
A self-assessment tool will help in-plants get a balanced assessment of their strengths and weaknesses. It asks questions about whether the in-plant has a strategy for increasing awareness about its services, or whether it is preparing to offer a Web-to-print solution.
A marketing tools section offers marketing ideas, both for in-plants that have never marketed before and for those who have, and need more advanced assistance. An open house kit provides things like an event checklist, a PowerPoint presentation, and a template for producing personalized invitations. To help in-plants create variable data postcards to promote their services, there are InDesign templates that they can modify, print and mail.