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Published on January 9th, 2009 | by PrintPlace

“The Customer is in Compete Control” Q&A with Lisa Hoffman, PrintPlace’s Product Manager

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Here are some informative highlights from an interview with Lisa Hoffman, Product Manager of PrintPlace. The company started as a traditional commercial printer, but invested heavily in advanced technology to revolutionize the industry’s business model. Hoffman gives this and many other reasons PrintPlace is the fastest growing online printer in the industry today.

Prices and customer service sets PrintPlace apart from other online printers
Our customers say we have the best customer service and best prices. We have no specific market [which means we cater to individuals and companies equally]. We are the only online printer with a certified G7 Expert (color expert) on staff. We offer more flexibility in our options than most printers. With our new Same Day Turnaround service, we offer more products on a same day turnaround (including booklets) than any other online printer, especially OFFSET – not digital.

100% offset printing at digital printing speeds
We are 100% offset (no digital printing) yet we offer lower minimum quantities and faster turnarounds than many printers. PDF proofs are free and UNLIMITED. Customers can upload, reject and re-submit as many times as they want for no additional charge. We generate high resolution PDF proofs faster than any other printer – 3 minutes or less.

Recommended design software
We recommend PDF/X1-a format for best results, since this format combines the best color and font management and produces the least possibility for error. Many of our customers use Adobe InDesign or Illustrator and export to PDF with excellent results. Publisher is fine as long as the included images are saved at 300 DPI resolution. Our website contains articles that detail how to export from many popular design programs.

Our automated upload accepts PDF, TIFF, EPS or JPEG. Native files can be sent via FTP to our file repair department who will export and upload to the customer’s job for a nominal fee.

Our art department can convert a customer’s file to PDF for a nominal fee. If a customer uploads a print-ready TIFF or JPEG file, our automated proofing system will convert to PDF for proof review.

Press capabilities
Our presses are all Komori sheetfed, 40” capacity, with inline aqueous coating. We also offer UV Coating as an option. Our newest Komori presses reduce paper waste with de-inking and pre-inking technology for faster and more accurate make-readies (more jobs per shift & its green to save sheets). The presses integrate with MIS which further streamlines our operations, which are some of the most advanced and automated in the nation.

Bindery capabilities
All of our bindery is in-house. We cut/trim, fold, glue, die-cut, score, perf, saddle stitch bind, hole drill, shrink wrap, tab, and process direct mail.

Mailing services
Yes. We can even provide mailing lists. Customers can save time and money by printing and mailing in a single ordering process.

Turnaround is 100% determined by the customer
Customers tell us what turnaround time they need when placing an order. We have options from Same Day turn to 7 Day turn, depending on the customer’s need and budget. Our turnaround times are NOT just estimates – they are guaranteed!

Everything is printed in CMYK
If you submit an RGB document, it will be automatically converted to CMYK during preflight. PrintPlace’s state-of-the-art color managed workflow automatically detects the ICC profile attached to your RGB file (if you have included one) and manages the color through the conversion process. If you upload an RGB file, please be sure to download the converted print-ready PDF from our system to view the color after the conversion. Changing from RGB to CMYK will always produce some color shifting and a reduction in the color gamut because it is impossible to reproduce the entire RGB color palette with an offset press. We recommend creating and submitting your document in CMYK to assure the color looks as close to your original file as possible.

Quality control to ensure the best prints
Press Operators are held accountable to get the form to color before putting sheets on the counter. We collect data from every press run and inspect the data to correct unwanted trends. We use the G7 methodology to ensure consistency.

Print guarantee
Satisfaction Guarantee covers rerunning or refunding the job. If you are not satisfied with your purchase, contact us within 10 days of receipt of order, and if the order is found to contain an error that is not within our allowable tolerances, we will reprint all or part of it on an expedited turn.

The customer controls the printing
The customer is in complete control of the entire ordering process. They no longer have to wait for a salesperson to pick up a disk or wait for days to receive a proof after uploading to FTP. They approve the proof and send to press at the click of a button. From there, they can check the status of their job in real time, 24 hours a day, 7 days a week. Email notifications are generated automatically at each important stage of the order, keeping customers constantly informed and in touch with their project. As soon as the job ships, they receive tracking information via email.

Why customers should choose PrintPlace over their local printers
We offer the best of both worlds: the personal attention of a local printer, albeit not “face to face,” but at a much better value and without sacrificing quality.

The recent recession has caused people to take a closer look at all of their expenditures, as they no longer have the luxury of buying solely on relationship or “comfort.” Local printers usually employ commissioned salespeople, which results in a significant increase to their cost of doing business. Additionally, their manual method of producing jobs just doesn’t afford them the opportunity to compete with the automation and “lean manufacturing” of online printers. This is evident by the fact that despite the faltering economy, PrintPlace is growing and expanding, rather than shrinking. We just opened a second facility to service our West Coast customers in 4th quarter 2008, and our East Coast facility is soon to follow in New York. We believe this illustrates the confidence of customers to consider online printing as not only a viable, but a preferred, option for their printing needs.

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