The PlanetPress software suite, now available from Gestetner SA, lets you extract data from various sources and automatically merge it into professional-looking documents - from marketing mailers and invoices to on-demand identification tags.
NRG Gestetner South Africa has signed a distribution agreement with Objectif Lune, the Canada-based global leader in the variable data printing industry. This sees Gestetner become the sole distributor of Objectif Lune's PlanetPress software in South Africa, giving Gestetner a complete electronic document management offering in the local market, from creation and dissemination to eventual archiving.
"The addition of PlanetPress to our workflow offering, K2.net, and our electronic document delivery solutions provides clients with a solution that ensures quality at every step, from slick design to super-efficient distribution to best-practice management. Not only do they meet corporate governance requirements in record keeping, and become more efficient, but now they can also impress their customers with the professionalism of their appearance," says August Frauenstein, solutions product manager at Gestetner South Africa.
Objectif Lune will provide Gestetner with advanced training in the software to ensure its clients gain maximum value from the offering. Besides the full PlanetPress solution, smaller companies can also get two lighter versions of the software, PrintShop Web and PrintShop Mail.
The most significant differentiator of the new software solution is that it allows Gestetner customers to do extensive mass customisation of printed material at a marginal additional cost, with information pulled in and merged from multiple sources, to create a beautiful, full colour, professional document that is specifically tailored to chosen audiences.
PlanetPress, Objectif Lune's flagship suite, is a powerful document composition tool that draws information from any number of variable data sources - SQL databases, AS400, text files, office or business intelligence suites - and merges them with text and images in a customised template to create complete documents that can be aimed at groups, or single individuals. PlanetPress is a complete desktop publishing package with an easy to use interface that can integrate with popular publishing systems, output directly to printers (including managing their finishing options), or integrate into electronic document dissemination systems.
"Variable data printing technology offers a competitive advantage for many companies that can tailor marketing and customer communications material to be more personal or provide better information. We have found that for others it is an absolute business necessity, particularly in organisations that need to include variable text such as account information with specific barcodes or even photographs in their documents," says Frauenstein.
One example of a successful PlanetPrint user is KLM. When customers of the Dutch airline purchase their tickets they list their dietary preferences. When they board, KLM provides them with customised menus according to these preferences.
"The possibilities are endless," says Frauenstein. "When a company prints accounts, it can automatically segment customers and print statements that include targeted promotional material for an appropriate new product. For conferences and seminars, pre-event information for delegates can be printed with each person's travel and accommodation particulars, itinerary, and then at the event, admission passes can be printed on the spot with photographic identification and schedules.
"Many companies still rely on word processing applications for their mail merging requirements, which is hopelessly inadequate for any kind of sophisticated, professional looking document production. There is a definite need for a specialist variable data printing application. PlanetPress provides an easy-to-use interface and uses a Postscript driver, making it compatible with any vendor's hardware," says Frauenstein.
In a world where customers expect something special, companies need to look further than generic mass communication material. Modern variable printing technology allows companies to cost-effectively customise communications to really grab attention, and to draw attention to specific, individually relevant information. Variable data document tools can mean the difference between presenting a client with just an invoice or an invoice that also sells the next product.