It never fails to surprise me how technology backlogs are hurting companies involved with print. I’ve spent the past six years meeting industry leaders and have never failed to be amazed by the resources shortfall and inability to tackle critical issues – even among some otherwise highly successful companies. It might shock the shareholders of some of the world’s largest companies – mostly in the retail space – to discover that there is a backlog which is measured in years for the implementation of technology projects. I listened to a director of a major global retailer explain a three year implementation of basic technology this week. By the time it’s implemented, it’s surely out of date. That kind of execution speed would have raised some chuckles from our clients – the technology savvy entrepreneurs who lead the online printing industry. They measure their progress in weeks, not months or years. They are leading the race to bring democracy to global business marketing at an ever increasing pace.
My team and I have explored many options to help print partners fast-track their development and decided that we needed to seek the help of experts with particular expertise in developing ecommerce websites which communicated well with the technology that Tweak print provides. Not only that but one which provides the connections to social media, production systems and all sorts of finance and reporting functions. We had a good look around the world and found that we had a similar point of view as a really smart, globally focussed team based in Dortmund, Germany. Our Chief Commercial Officer, David Kearney and I didn’t take long to develop a Technology Partnership agreement CloudLab AG, a global specialist in website development for the Print Industry, headquartered in Dortmund, Germany.
This new agreement means that Tweak Print can now be implemented in just a week. CloudLab and Tweak have embraced the spirit of ‘co-petition’ which was championed by Vistaprint founder Robert Keane (the guy who invented online design) at the 2015 Online Print Symposium – a forum spearheaded by industry icon Bernd Zipper (an industry connector who has brought the whole world of online print together).
Marc Horriar, CloudLab CEO, shared his vision for CloudLab and how their ‘black box’ can support the online print industry is truly visionary – I spoke to him at Drupa in Dusseldorf today.
By Jerry Kennelly,
Founder & CEO, Tweak
My name is Marc Horriar, I am CEO and founder of Cloudlab AG. Our company is based in Germany. We are web to print and print shop provider for Magento. This means we took a Magento standard system with all its power and we enhanced it so that it’s suitable for the printing industry.
We have all the online editors, the upload and print production workflows. We have production workflows which we can connect to the presses and we have a very flexible product where we can build the most different kind of project, like packaging printing, normal commercial printing, large format printing, label printing for all kind of sizes of companies, starting from one employee ending with twenty thousand employees.
Together with our partner Tweak we are able to get online printers up and running within a very short time. We can provide them with an online editor based on Tweak with all of the beautiful templates those guys are known for. We have the flexible features of printQ in the software solution, which also allows the customer to do upload and print workflows here so that he/she uploads their artwork alone or that he alternatively online edits the templates of Tweak. All of this is very easy to set up. You don’t need any training; you don’t need any workshops to understand the software. We will provide you with a manual, how to get going. You are able to go very fast with this solution.
Our software is very flexible so as we are at the point of being Magento powered we have all the eCommerce standard workflow in there which is working from the first minute when you use it. This means you have Magento with all of the shopping cart customer database. You can get your payment integration in just a second running and you also have it connected to the logistic partner so it’s not really a lot for you to do, you just need to configure what is there already and in doing so we help you.
Next to the partnership with Tweak where we focus on a very fast solution where we want to get everybody running fast, we also of course have the full tweak solution and also the full printQ solution. The full printQ solution is probably one of the most advanced web to print and print shop systems on the market currently. It means you can do whatever you want basically. The system is very open so you can have your own development team working in there, specializing it on any kind of product you would like to sell online and if you don’t have a development team you can also rely on our experts here. We have a big development team here which can do projects of any kind for you. It starts with small projects. It can also go for huge European-wide webshop systems which you might want to build up as a system. As a system it’s also very powerful from a feature set. You could also example do upload and print again with pre-flight as a system. We can have online editing on packaging printing, of labels, we can 3d preview all of the kind of products. We have mass personalistion, reliable data printing and even a stock inventory integrated so it’s really a long-term solution. Our idea is to provide you with one web to print solution and print shop solution where you can do all of your portfolio online.
Why Tweak? Tweak as a partner because those guys offer a lot of templates. This is one of the problems of our solution. We are only an integration partner. We have the technology but our customers would need to build templates on their own. Now with Tweak offering, I guess, millions of templates for the products, all this effort of creating, spending months or maybe even years depending on how big it is for templates it goes away. It is a very easy integration also. We integrated it in a matter of weeks in our solution and it gives us all the options. We can just jump into the Tweak editor, load the correct template, the user is able to online edit the Tweak template, get it back in our shopping cart, we have all the previews here, we have the low res PDF there and when he checks it out he can even ask the printing company to online edit again in case the customer made a mistake for example. If he then pays your order and approves / accepts your order, we get and screen the high res PDFs from Tweak, get it into our production workflow so that we can connect it to the corresponding presses or department or even partner technology.
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