imageMEDIA began the week by improving the ordering process to give you additional turnaround options. This discussion will skip the business implications of this change for you and us (better left to others who have yet to blog), but will instead focus on the impact this has on the web site.

New turnaround calculator options
New turnaround calculator options

First, you’ll notice the additional options on the calculator. These days indicate the number of business days that it will take for your order to be completed once you approve your press ready artwork (if your artwork is ready to go at order time, you don’t want proofs, it’s before 3PM EST and you pay by credit card, those days are from today). This time includes printing, coating, cutting, scoring, drilling, or whatever else your order requires. If your order is a “Mailer” (Address Printing & Mail or Address Printing & Ship), it will also include the time required to address your printed pieces. The time does not include delivery time, but if you are in the area, you could come by on the day displayed to pick up your order.

Thoughts On Turnaround And Ordering

Something you want to keep in mind: As mentioned in a previous post, Web 2.0, RIAs and Flash tools, the product calculator exists on top of the previous ordering system. That means that every option page from before is still there.

Estimated Time To Complete

Order Summary Turnaround Estimates
Order Summary Turnaround Estimates

In the ordering system, you may notice on the top of the right summary panel, there is an item called “Ships” or “Mails”; depends on your delivery selection. This indicates the day that your order will be ready, including considerations of weekends and holidays. As you make selections, you will see this value change to reflect the turnaround consequences of your decisions. The value beneath that “Delivered as early as” or “Can reach recipients by”, again depending on delivery selections, indicates our best guess of when you or your mailing recipients will receive the product. It is a guess in that it depends on service selections provided by third party carriers that may not be based on guaranteed delivery dates (ground shipping or first class mail, for example).

Proofs

The calculator assumes that you want a proof from your order and this adds a day to your turnaround. You really should want a proof as it is the last chance to verify that the artwork going to press is what you expect it to be. However, if you are confident everything is right, and you don’t want to wait, or can’t, you’ll want to change your proof options. The easiest way to do that is to click on the “Design and Artwork” link sitting directly on top of the ordering area. That will link will take you back to the “Artwork Options” page where you will find a section named “PROOFING”. If you don’t want a proof, make sure that you have selected “No Proof” and then click the “Next Step” button on the bottom right of the ordering area.

Mail Rush

As mentioned, the turnaround options include addressing times if your piece is a Mailer. The quicker turnaround times include a “Mail Rush”. So, when you get to the “Mail Options” you may see the “Rush Mail” selected by default. You are definitely free to deselect this option, but just remember that it will slow the completion of your order. To increase your turnaround options for a Mailer, read the next section.

Changing Turnaround Option After Leaving Calculator

Order Steps Buttons
Order Steps Buttons

You have options and you are allowed to change your mind. Once you have clicked “Continue” in the calculator, you still have opportunities to change you order, including turnaround. To change this selection, you’ll want to click on the “Product Options” link. In the area where you used to have the option to select between “Standard” or “Express”, you now are able to select from four turnaround options. [Bonus hint: There are 4 printing turnaround options. A Mailer has a “Rush Mail” option, so there are, for a Mailer, actually 8 tunraround options. The calculator only shows five of them. If you want to have more choices, make sure that you visit the “Product Options” step by checking “Need more product options” in the calculator or clicking “Product Options” during the rest of the ordering process.]

Optional Coating And Delay

If you need to change the coating options of your job, you need to be aware of the impact that may have on the completion of your order. If coating options are available, the calculator will give you the choice to make any changes you require and the turnaround will reflect that delay. If you change your coating options later while configuring your order, “Product Options” page, you will have a noticeable impact on your order completion date.

Order Details Page

The order receipt as well as the order detail page also display more information on your selected turnaround and priority level. One of the new, most noticeable features is the “approval” display, right under your order label. This are shows estimated completion date, updated every time a change is made to your order, or as your order progresses through our automated queues. All calculations are based on the approval date, so approve your order as soon as possible!

Closing Thoughts

It is our hope that these enhanced turnaround options will be a welcome change to the ordering process. At the same time, we are working hard to give you additional options like this without causing any undue pain while placing an order. We definitely appreciate any feedback you would like to share.