3Com University puts distribute-and-print to the test.
3Com, the Santa Clara, CA-based high-tech company, has a tremendous responsibility to its employees. With a plethora of electronic products in its arsenal, the manufacturer takes great pains to educate its employees and customers about its technologies and business marketing strategies.
Each year, the company hosts two educational conferences—one in the States, one abroad. The forum, affectionately named "3Com University," draws more than 3,500 attendees hailing from the corporation's numerous business units.
Taking the southern route
In 1999, 3Com chose Atlanta as the host city for its domestic event, which promised a 10-day intensive curriculum. Upon arrival, each of the 3,500+ attendees were scheduled to receive several 4˝-thick, three-ring binders containing course materials authored by the conference's faculty. The potential freight charges associated with shipping these printed materials from Santa Clara to Atlanta caused 3Com to look to a distribute-and-print scenario for production.
3Com didn't go into the project blindly, for it had a pre-existing relationship with XYAN.com, a King of Prussia, PA-headquartered network of digital printing facilities located throughout the country. In fact, 3Com's in-house print production facility is managed by Customer Service Specialist Jim Domingo, a XYAN.com employee dedicated exclusively to the 3Com account. Domingo and his 3Com cohorts launched into action by establishing communications with XYAN.com's Atlanta facility and its southeast region vice president, Jerry Nessen.
As the university's faculty members labored over keyboards to author their training materials, XYAN.com built a model for handling the project.
As copy was written, Domingo poured it into QuarkXPress pages, wrote PostScript from the native application files, preflighted and transmitted them via FTP (File Transfer Protocol) across the Internet to a secure server (with 2GBs of reserved space designated for the project) accessed only by designated XYAN.com recipients.