Data-driven direct marketing providers do not fit the profile of a typical DALIM ES user. But IWCO Direct, one of the nation’s largest providers of data-driven direct marketing solutions, is using DALIM ES as one of the underlying asset management and preflighting tools for its workflow.
IWCO Direct has been earning customers’ trust by collaborating with North American marketers for nearly 50 years. The company’s full range of services includes strategy, creative, and production for multichannel marketing campaigns, along with one of the industry’s most sophisticated postal logistics strategies for direct mail. Through Mail-Gard®, IWCO Direct offers business continuity and disaster recovery services to protect against unexpected business interruptions, along with providing print and mail outsourcing services. The company is ISO/IEC 27001 Information Security Management System (ISMS) certified through BSI, reflecting its commitment to data security.
More than seven years ago, IWCO Direct began adding full-color digital print to complement their traditional printing platform, which used offline laser personalization. Customer needs were met by using a basic asset management system and creating folders that accepted a few assets for their customers.
“Managing customer content was relatively simple in the beginning of this ‘white paper environment’ when the use of variable and dynamic content was limited,” said Dave Johannes, Senior Vice President of Operations. “We installed one digital press in 2010. As customers adopted the new platform, we continued to expand, and had ten digital presses by 2014. As the digital print/white paper platform grew, we continued to use our conventional print methodology to manage assets.”
As customers for the new platform grew, preflighting and managing assets became more challenging. “The easy part is buying a digital press. The tough part for most people, and what catches them off guard, is the change in workflow from traditional print to the digital press platform,” notes Johannes. “Most people underestimate it.”
In the traditional print world, there is a prepress department responsible for color management across print versions. In a white paper environment, the workflow management needs expand to include data processing, content development, asset management, page composition, postal sorting, and data manipulation to create limitless versions.
In traditional environments, Prepress works with art files for different versions that are sent to a press to produce preprinted shells. Next, they are personalized and finished offline, prior to inserting and postal sorting. “The low hanging fruit for early digital print adopters was postal savings, achieved by combining multiple preprint shells into a single digital production run,” remarks Johannes. “Once marketers began to realize that three to five versions of preprinted shells could be a single mailstream in the digital environment, their creativity kicked in. Suddenly three to five versions became 10, then 20, and then unscalable using our conventional workflow and tools designed to support traditional print.”
To manage the increasing demand for true one-to-one marketing, IWCO Direct re-engineered their front-end workflow. This began by looking at what assets were required. They knew they needed a stronger library and better preflighting tools, so they looked at several providers and full suite capabilities. They determined DALIM TWIST and ES were a good fit, and installation began in 2015.
“DALIM ES is easy to plug and play. IWCO Direct produces high volume, highly variable, direct mail acquisition programs. Since this requires a number of logos and images of multiple sizes, the velocity of moving assets and files is pretty high,” explains Johannes. “We’ve had success using DALIM for preflight, as well as reviewing and checking assets. “DALIM’s tool set allows us to quickly and efficiently evaluate the structure and layers of furnished assets which, when set up incorrectly, can have a huge impact on printer performance,”Johannes added. “We use DALIM’s TWIST product to perform these preflight functions prior to adding assets to our library.”
DALIM’s suite of ES and TWIST is being integrated into IWCO Direct’s full digital workflow along with other tools such as GMC Inspire, Messagepoint, and Satori for postal sort to build an end-to-end digital solution.
“We like the way DALIM ES is architected. We included it in our workflow, programmed the API calls, and made it a part of something bigger. ES has improved productivity; the preflighting activity for each image is very good. It has all the functionality we need, with the additional benefit of flexibility. It will be a powerful part of our workflow,” continues Johannes. “Our goal is to build a portal-based system, with client access in and out of the system. We are currently testing our internal system in anticipation of making it available for client access in the future.”
In the future, clients will be able to upload files to a customer-based portal and will be able to drop content, update content, or delete assets. “We have a few clients who are interested in using our services for all their asset management. Once these clients are fully integrated, we could offer asset management as a broader service where they can send content to other providers,” adds Johannes. “DALIM ES is a powerful asset management tool. It helps with preflighting as well as storage and reuse of assets—and DALIM SOFTWARE has been a very good partner to work with. With new ideas and challenges, they help us move forward.”