Web 2 Print on Steroids
So you want some large format products ordered and received via an online portal. No problem! Online store fronts selling large format print options are everywhere and easily accessible, but the question is, how does one choose?
It’s probably best to start with your Web-to-Print (W2P) requirements. Do you want the option to customise a product to your specific size and application? How about being able to upload your artwork directly to the system via a shopping cart? And having the ability to see the problems in your artwork immediately after uploading it, prior to printing? Would you like the convenience of immediately seeing exactly how much shipping costs will be and when your order is expected to arrive, based on the dimensions of your job and the delivery address? And what about tracking your job online in real time as it progresses through production?
Large Format printer Vivad thinks so too. In fact, those requirements formed the basis of their W2P creation Vivtrack – a five year project that formed what has now evolved to become Vivtrack 2,
“When we first came up with the portal, we didn’t want to simply develop an online store. We wanted to build a system which would allow anyone to customise it according to their needs, complete their online process in one sitting and provide complete transparency to the job progress. I think it’s safe to say that we achieved that ambition,” says Ewen Donaldson, Vivad’s owner, pointing out that Vivtrack 2 has become an instant success story since its official launch at PacPrint last year.
|MD, Ewen Donaldson||
The Vivad team
The system provides quick, easy and cost-effective access to Vivad’s diverse online offerings such as keder banners, self adhesive vinyls, fabrics, rigid substrates, and display systems. There are already 30 product categories online and more being added all the time.
Importantly Vivtrack2 provides a complete, automated workflow solution and is simple to use:
(1) Let’s assume that the user wants to order a fabric stretch-frame. They have the option to select the type of extrusion, enter the dimensions, and select the maximum packing length (this will determine how many joiners the frame, will have).The system determines the configuration and the number of cross braces required. Next the user selects either the standard graphic or block-out graphic option.
(2) As soon as the frame is ordered a personal profile is created for the user. This “My Vivad” page features a history of ordered products for quick and seamless selection and reordering.
(3) The user can then add the frame to their shopping cart and upload artwork directly to the line item in the shopping cart.
(4) Once the file is uploaded, Vivtrack 2’s pre-flight engine automatically checks the proportions of the file for any low resolution elements in the design when the image is scaled to the entered size.The file will either pass, pass with warnings or fail.
(5) If there are any warnings, a report is generated which highlights within the design any low resolution elements and suggest an appropriate viewing distance. The user can then decide whether they need to resupply the artwork or to continue with the files supplied.
(6) Once the order is placed, the user can track where their job is in the workflow online. Thanks to Vivtrack’s complete integration with its MIS (Management Information System), the job could be pre-approved and in the print queue at the time of placing the order.
(7) The system then provides freight options and costs based on the destination, packing dimensions and required delivery times of the order.
Since its launch at Pacprint last year Ewen tells us that Vivad’s trade clients have been utilising the technology at an increasing rate.
“The feedback we’ve received confirms that users find Vivtrack2 an easier option than printing in-house and enjoy the system’s almost unlimited flexibility. We are seen to be a supplier of choice for other print shops who outsource their print production at times and can present our range of products as an extension of their own. Our portal, fast turnaround time, high quality and reliable delivery gives our trade clients confidence and control over their print jobs,” says Ewen.
“We’ve also provided trade pricing which is up to 30 percent lower than our recommended retail prices, recognising the fact that our trade clients add a margin to reflect the added value they provide to their clients,” he adds. This means that trade clients can immediately see both the RRP and the discounted trade pricing in the web store." The 30% margin is simply a suggested line in the sand, your business with your client is your business
Initially launched in 2000, Vivad started printing truck side curtains for the transport industry. Their first purchase was a Vutek 5300 five metre superwide printer. Over time more opportunities opened up in large format digital printing than just fleet graphics. Demand for large format was extending into other general signage as well as various industries such as exhibitions, events, retail, architecture and media - the company had been formed at just the right time!
While the business progressed, the concept of Vivtrack started to hatch.
“I’m fortunate to have a clever sister, Kirsten, who is also a professional software developer. Back in 2000, I remember creating an Excel spreadsheet for doing the quoting, Kirsten used this as her first software specification and started writing our quoting system. Since then Kirsten and I have worked together writing software which runs the business," says Ewen, who has a Bachelors degree in Electrical Engineering and a Graduate certificate in Enterprise Management. Not surprisingly he is experienced in software development and admits that he had always been a bit of a “computer nerd since high school.”
In 2007 Vivtrack was launched as a simple approval system.
“Over time we continued to write algorithms which further automated the business. For example we wrote a packing algorithm which calculates the theoretical packing dimensions and weight of any of our print products, so that we could accurately quote the freight to anywhere in Australia.
“Vivtrack 2 was by far our biggest undertaking. The idea was to give the user the ability to complete the whole process in one sitting, such as selecting and customising their print product, uploading their artwork (and having it checked for problems), approving the job for print and getting it in the print queue seamlessly. The quick production workflow has been possible because we integrated Vivtrack 2 into our MIS system,” he adds.
Over the years the company has grown in leaps and bounds, and with it, its staff which now total 30. Three years ago the company moved from its previous 1200 square metre factory to more expansive (3500 square metre) and attractive premises. Vivad recently joined the ranks of other green companies and now uses solar power, having installed 400 solar panels providing 100kwh of power on it’s roof.
Vivad have always been upgrading their technology and are moving away from solvents towards UV cure technology with equipment such as: the Durst 500R UV 5 metre roll press, the Durst 325 Rhotex Dye Sublimation machine (to keep up with the growing demand for fabrics in retail and signage as the need for PVC decreases), the Vutek GS3250LX UV flatbed, and two HP 360 Latex (which provided a major step up for the production of Vivad’s self adhesive vinyl work).
Vivad also supply a range of 13 stretch frame extrusions which can be ordered at size through the Vivtrack Portal
This year the company has added the Durst Rho 512R Plus UV inkjet press and Australia’s first Bullmer 5m cutting table to its mix.
“These updates are important for a number of reasons - to keep up with technology and the increased demand as we grow organically, to deliver short run work and to improve in capacity as a five metre supplier,” says Ewen.
Looking back at Vivad’s journey of nearly two decades, one can see the makings of an innovative and progressive path towards the future.
“We continually strive to improve the way companies do business with us - our plans to launch Vivtrack 3 in 2019 is one way in which we can achieve this. We’ve been gathering customer feedback on the system and are responding to their requests for new features and an improved user experience.
“There is nothing like a good system to give clients confidence, but relationships form the foundation of what Vivad is built on," he concludes.
Newsflash: Vivtrack 2 will be demonstrated at Visual Impact in Sydney in September. For more information and to register, go to www.vivad.com.au
“Vivad are giving away an Apple iMAC and three UE Boom blue tooth speaker systems to four lucky users who register before September 14”