Wednesday, November 16, 2011

eDevelopment's suite of software solutions for reprographers and AEC customers of reprographers (eDistribution, eCommunication, eShare)

Very recently, I received an e-mail from Mark Langdon, President of Eastern Engineering Supply. Mark wanted to alert me to software solutions that he and his associates have developed and are already using (and offering to A/E/C customers) or currently have under development and will soon be using and offering to A/E/C customers.

Mark’s e-mail to me was, I think, prompted by a post I did about the success ReproConnect has had with its eplanroom solution. While ReproConnect’s eplanroom solution is targeted at reprographers who want a very-easy-to-use eplanroom solution, one offering basic functions, Mark and his associates have developed (and are still working on) software solutions (for reprographers and for customers of reprographers) that go well-beyond basic eplanroom functions.

Here’s Mark’s most recent e-mail to me:


I’m back from Canada and had some time to retype the email you requested. If there’s anything you would like for me to change or add please let me know. I tried to add things that might be helpful to your followers. Specifically, the CDT certification process. I’m not sure how familiar you are with this certification but this might be a great future post for your blog. All of us in eDevelopment believe every reprographics firm needs to become certified.

Below is a detailed description of who eDevelopment is and what we’ve been working on:

eDevelopment is a software company that was started in 2010 by five companies in the reprographics industry. The five companies, in alphabetical order, are Alabama Graphics, Drexel Technologies, Duncan Parnell, Eastern Engineering Supply and Lynn Imaging.

Blog-author’s notes: Before you go on to read the rest of this post, I want to make a couple of comments. (a) All five of the companies listed as participants in the company known as eDevelopment are members of ReproMAX. (b) Four of the companies listed as participants in eDevelopment – Drexel, Eastern Engineering, Lynn Imaging, and Alabama Graphics are also members of RSA. (c) I find this interesting (i.e., that these companies are members of ReproMAX and RSA), because RSA developed and distributes an eplanroom software solution called Plan Command, which these RSA members have apparently chosen not to promote or utilize and because ReproMAX developed and distributes eplanroom software known as DFS and “collaboration and communication” software solutions, the latter under the moniker, “cMAX”, which, likewise, these ReproMAX members have chosen not to promote or utilize. OBVIOUSLY, NOT ALL RSA members believe that Plan Command is the most appropriate solution for their A/E/C customers and NOT ALL REPROMAX members believe that DFS and cMAX are the most appropriate solutions for their A/E/C customers. (d) Since I’ve mentioned (in today’s post and in previous posts on Reprographics 101) ReproMAX and RSA and the software solutions they offer to their members and to their members’ customers and prospects, I guess, in order to be fair, that I should, once again, mention that ARC’s PlanWell Collaborate software solution is targeted at the same members, customers and prospects. There are, of course, other software solutions – directed at sharing, collaboration and distribution of documents and information related to A/E/C project-participants, solutions that have been developed by non-reprographers and non-reprographer associations, but I’m not going to mention any of those in this note. Okay, let’s go on ….

eDevelopment currently has three different software packages in our portfolio. The three software packages are eShare, eDistribution and eCommunication. The order that I named all three plays a key role in how they fit into the life cycle of a project. All three of these software packages are managed by PLP Digital Systems. This means PLP has been responsible for the development of the software and will continue to be responsible for the development in the future.

The first software in our portfolio is eShare. eShare is still in beta and has not been released to other reprographic shops, yet. Currently only the owners of eDevelopment are using eShare. This software is basically a FTP site on steroids with a lot more organization. This product is most beneficial during the design phase of a project but can also be used during the bid phase. More detail will be released on eShare shortly, when we release it to the reprographic industry. We expect to go live with this product in the first quarter of 2012.

The second software in our portfolio is eDistribution. eDistribution has been around for ten years and was originally developed by Lynn Imaging. This software addresses the bid phase of a project. With eDistribution, ITB’s are distributed to multiple contractors at the same time, ensuring the project attracts the right contractors at a competitive price. eDistribution is available as a password-protected site for private projects, letting the contractor control who can bid on their projects. eDistribution allows you to send notifications, track communication and view various bid documents and download various bid documents. Whether the project is private or public, flexible and automated controls ensure all bidders have the latest information to accurately bid the project.

The third and final software in our portfolio is eCommunication. eCommunication addresses the construction part of a project and is the signature product for eDevelopment. Most people in the reprographics industry know how many documents are involved during the bid phase but are not aware of the massive amount of documents and documentation involved in the construction phase. In the past, AEC firms would literally have rooms full of documents such as submittals, RFI’s, ASI’s, and Change Orders to name a few. As more and more companies move to the digital movement eCommunication allows every firm involved on a construction project to communicate in a timely manner. eCommunication takes all these documents and bundles them into a digital format that allows every contractor to track the process flow. Users receive relevant changes and actions that need attention via email notifications. Users can browse, view and download documents from the vault. Users can initiate submittals, RFI’s, ASI’s and CO’s and quickly search project logs. Many of the AEC firms currently using eCommunication tell us that the software can save them four hours a day. eCommunication is an excellent product to replace lost print revenues. It’s not uncommon to generate $5K to $30K in revenue per project from eCommunication. Revenue from eCommunication is generated by charging a percentage of the project. I would warn any of your bloggers that learning the construction process is not an easy process to learn. All five of the companies involved in eDevelopment have employees that are CDT certified. I would encourage all your bloggers to look into their local CSI chapter and learn about becoming CDT certified.

All three of these products can be used as a stand-a-lone product or they can be used together. All three products have the ability to pull information from the same database. I attached some brochures for you to look at. Feel free to share these with your followers. However, I did not attach any literature for eShare since it’s still in beta.

With eShare, eDistribution and eCommuncation we have the ability to take a project from concept to reality. When using all three products you have the ability to generate more revenue from a project than during the print days of the past. When a customer uses these products you also become more than a reprographer to your customer. You become a construction information manager. You are now a part of the construction team. How many reprographers are a true part of the construction team? With the three products mentioned above eDevelopment is well equipped for the AEC industry to go digital.

Okay, that was the extent of Mark’s e-mail to me, and, to Mark, thank you for sharing this information with me and with folks who visit Reprographics 101. I very much appreciate the time you took to share this information, and I wish you and your associates great success with eDevelopment's software solutions.

Blog-readers, you can click on these links to access these documents, which are now hosted in my Google Docs library:

Information about eDevelopment:

Information about eCommunication:

Information about eDistribution:

Literature about eShare is not yet ready for release.


  1. Hi Joel,
    I read and appreciate your blog. I wanted to comment on this post as a member of Lynn Imaging. For those of who like videos, Lynn Imaging produced a long and short video promoting ecommunication. In the long version you can hear from one of our customers who used the software on a recent project. It gives the reprographic customers perspective on what this product has done for them. We have seen a change in the way customers view us - we are more than a printer now, we are partners on the construction project. We are consultants and technology providers - and have truly become "construction information managers." This has forced us to really look at our identity as a company. It has given new life and excitement to our sales department in this suffering economic climate! The link is below:

  2. Shelby you are correct. To re-assert the printing teams place in the construction process will take more than marketing. I believe it is a fundamental change in strategy. That is creating a value add beyond beyond speed and price/per sheet. We started down a road to reduce printing for the smallest players with the smallest margin. What we watched is a dramatic change in habits. I know we need a healthy repro business to survive the convergence. I want to help.