Pain Points in Print Affect Executive Decisions: Six core areas of print cost optimization and effectiveness for executives.

ImageBefore we take a look into the six areas, let’s look at why these areas need addressed.

What is driving this fear of out of control print and media costs?  What worries the executive?  Pain points to the problem.  It does not always point to the solution.

Marketing Disconnects

There is a valid fear among CFOs that continued dollar loss is unavoidable in print and related communications services.  Studies show that in excess of 70% of CEOs distrust the marketing engine.  The inability of marketing and communications areas to relate expenses back to profitable company growth stymies a financial analysis.  Why settle for this?  There are gains to be had.  There are profits to be built and encouraged.  The activity can be and should be measured with a hard look at Return on Marketing.

Media Proliferation

Another pain point is the threat of new media channels and mobilization demands.  Marketers and executives alike tell analysts they are afraid they and their organizations do not understand what they need to know to adapt.  They are thrashing and reading statistics of other attempts in similar organizations in disbelief and despair.  What to do?  Where to start?  How much to spend?  Will the long term value traditionally obtained through customer loyalty and persistency be affordable?  How many channels of communication need to be engaged to be effective?  Which will be life threatening if you don’t engage now even if the expense is unmanageable and lacks decent measurement points?

IT Collision Course

Add to those two the collision of IT and marketing that plagues most companies.  IT has been the technology driver and owner of control of data assets.  A continual emphasis on security and access and controls has made the information inaccessible and hard to understand for most marketers and communicators looking to take deep dives into segmentation and determine relevant categories of buyers on which to focus.  Proliferation of disparate systems within most organizations means the data is not congruently analyzed.  Add to that mess, the data was accumulated for operational purposes not for human communications and conversation and concern.  It is dry and most times irrelevant.  To work in the conversational communications of people to people in which marketing happens, the systems of accumulation and the intelligence behind them must be reworked.  You cannot take a financial programmer and build a human sensitive interactive analyst.  The change does not work in most instances.  Certainly attempting to do it in the speed needed by marketing and communications and sales tasks most companies well beyond the capability of their human resources departments.

Late Adoption of New Media Marketing

Face it.  You’ve waited too long.  The competition is racing and working with new media and you just got your facebook presence online.  It is static and not getting feedback from the right people.  Forget about customers in this world.  Focus on people.  It is people that buy your products.  And they are not talking to you.  You have done something, but it is just not working.  How do you leap frog over the inaction of the last few years when you should have been an early adopter?

Summary and Setup

If you agree with the dilemmas posed above, you know you have to do something about that massive print engine.  It is a powerful tool in the Marketing 3.0 Blueprint.  Trust me.  All those other channels need print to bring them to life.  That is one of the lies of the technology thought base.  If you buy a lie in the beginning, you will suffer and suffer and suffer.  Print is not gone.  It is radically changed.  It is interactive.  It is humanized.  It is responsive and direct and timed.  It is focused and integrated.  Using it in flat and traditional manners will get you decreasing return on your marketing and sales dollars.  You need to optimize the engine and take quick advantage of the power of customization and integration of print media with other channels of communication.  It is not cheaper to skip print.  It is foolish.  Neither is it smart to print like you have been printing.  That won’t work.  You need a new print engine that is dynamic, customized, interactive, data driven, communicative, and humanized.

Next Installment:

We will begin to look at the six core areas that must be addressed in a print engine overhaul to build the powerful and competitive approach for your organization.  You must.

Responsibility and Sustainability

Removing Workflow Constraints

Profitable cost reduction in print and communication services.

pyramid

Every executive is tasked with reducing costs and increasing profit.  We can forget.   The press of managing the budget can get tied into just meeting the plan instead of achieving the underlying goals.  An officer has a fiduciary responsibility to increase shareholder equity.  You can’t just “manage the budget”.  It needs to improve impact on the bottom line.

Print services is one of those areas that just seems to take money and not give a return.  That is a shame.  Print services can be such a profit booster, when rightly implemented and attached to corporate initiatives.

Last week my partner and I reviewed two university in-plants.  They were ivy league and state.  In just a few hours we were able to isolate incredible opportunity to both reduce costs and expand profitable services.  You just have to know where to look.

I’ve written quite a lot lately about business plans and new product development.  Those were the subjects taught at GraphExpo and are being reviewed by hundreds of folks daily.  Some of the feedback I get is a need to be able to assess a print services operation and come up with a viable action plan to improve impact on the bottom line.  Too often managers and consultants are looking to survive.  You need to thrive.  There is no reason not to thrive.  The opportunities are amazing.  Over the next few weeks, we’ll explore how to thrive.

There is no reason to just get along.  There is no reason to roll over to conventional strategy of limiting the benefit of your overall communications engine through bad sourcing decisions and coagulation of IT, marketing, and print services.  Where you source your print and communication services is a growth decision not a cost cutting decision.  You can throttle your progress engine by making this decision incorrectly.  Done correctly, you will cut costs, improve service, increase access to effective communications and be a hero.  Done incorrectly, you will cut short term costs and produce blockages in your growth and communications engine and frustrations for marketing and sales and the data miners.  You cannot grow using yesterday’s wisdom in a thriving world of interactive print, direct, indirect, social, online, mobile, and mass virile and viral communications.

Related:

Responsibility and Sustainability

Removing Workflow Constraints

Pain Points

Opportunities to Profit with In-Plants – MyPrintResource.com

Opportunities to Profit with In-Plants – MyPrintResource.com.   REBLOGGED from listed site.

Opportunities To Profit With In-Plants

BY JEFFREY STEELE (/CONTACT/10107135/JEFFREY-STEELE)

CREATED: OCTOBER 7, 2012

Not all is doom and gloom in the world of in-plants.

These are not the best of times for in-plant operations. Many have been shuttered, and those that remain are being scrutinized ever more closely by the

companies and organizations for which they provide printing services. But not all is doom and gloom in the world of in-plants, says Elisha Kasinskas, Marketing

Director for Rochester Software Associates (Booth 237) in Rochester, NY.

“Despite what we hear, every in-plant is not closing,” says Kasinskas, whose company markets workflow software. “But to really thrive, they need to be strategic

components of the organization. That involves being a part of the fabric of the organization, serving on committees, participating in the organization or company

community, and actively seeking business for that organization.”

Phil Larson, President of the consultancy Shepherd OK in Oklahoma City, calls this “an incredibly exciting time” for in-plants that are amenable to evolving.

“You almost have to learn a new business,” he says. “You have to be able to relate to the executives and to the marketers. You have to adapt.”

Opportunities to Profit with In-Plants – MyPrintResource.com   <<<<<<Read the rest….

The Biggest In-Plant Mistakes

At the GraphExpo in Chicago, listen to four key in-plant leaders talk about big mistakes.

Views on Shop Transformations – Conditioning Change For People

Discussions with shops around the nation result in a few inevitables.

1. How do you get people to move forward?

2. How do you get other people to move forward?

That is a purposeful pun.

It really gets to be all about people in our efforts to change products and processes.  Those changes always mean changes in people, projects and props (the tools and technologies).  But the people are in the center of it all.

Product change means marketing and selling customers and investors.  For an In Plant, they are the same.  Customers are investors.  They are the source of income and many times the only source.   Sure, the CFO, COO, and CEO have strong opinions and input especially for transactional product lines.  Yet, more and more effective print and distribution management for In Plants must engage the Marketing and Sales customers.   That is high powered growth.  Transactional has a high likelihood for being sourced and reduced significantly.  You must move forward.

Process change is the same.  Your highest sell is to your internal production teams.  Next comes the customer.  Many processes can be changed without engaging the customer.  Yet, you need to ask yourself why you are doing changes if the customer does not benefit?  They have an interest, even if it is just to know you are working on cost improvement or cost containment for them.

Prop changes are for the products and processes or they should not be done.  Nuff said.  You should not be retooling just to get the next fancy wangamahoochie.  Technology must meet real business demand to go through the pain of change.  Your production team must understand how the customer will benefit along with the product and the process.  Your production team should improve skill and contribution and have more fun when you change technologies and tools.

Projects are what implement changes.  Have them or die.  A defined way to analyze, define, plan, implement, and optimize goes with every change.  There are budget approvals and customer approvals and departmental approvals and  worker approvals and self approvals and vendor approvals and IT approvals and on and on and on that must be planned and coordinated along the path to productive and prosperous change.

So people are involved in every step and every area of change.  Those murky, hard to understand, mental, emotion, physical, and spiritual beings can make change heaven or hell.

Just for fun think of four types you will encounter.

Mundane Mary:  The person will ask question after question.  She will want to understand the universal and specific reasons for the change.  Put her on the analysis team with a specific deadline.  She might drive you insane, but she might find a hole in some plan that saves your hide.

Slap Happy Sam:  The person will want to implement without a thought.  Every day is an opportunity for a new party.  He can get inclusion guaranteed as long as he is armed with a few facts to support his sales of you and the project.  Make friends with him.  Get him to understand how this change will improve happiness for someone.

Hard Ball Bart: Whew.. he will want profitability or cost reduction.  This guy is important.  He will make you justify in the right manners.  Convince him.  Do your homework.

Amiable Amy:  She just want to get along.  So make sure she is on the implementation and training track.  She will work until it works for everyone else.

This is a blog not a book.  So I am ending here.  Just some thoughts to stir you up on the path to progress.

High Volume High Efficiency On Demand High Requests

Over 200 requests for this presentation recently.  Thought I would share for all to see.

High Volume High Efficiency On Demand reviews the five Ps necessary to effect short and long term change for an organization.  This is specific to an In Plant print shop, but the principles apply to any endeavor.  People – Process- Projects- Props (tools and technologies) – Products and Services.

 

#graphexpo…. new stuff

GraphExpo exposed some new opportunities for In Plant and commercial and hybrid operations.  The print services provider of the moment is fast becoming the communications provider of the future.  There are incredible opportunities.

New opportunities:  More than one spot featured what I will call, “Talking Paper”.  Ricoh featured this and DocuMobi (now loaded on my Android and I hate loading new apps). It is the image that is recognized instead of a barcode.  A good idea if the readers become  integrated I can just use one scan and my device figures out which source I need quickly.  The interactivity of the quick video with documobi is  a blast.  Print with a smile.  In fact, DocuMobi was using Direct Smile in the mix.

Next up was a great development.  More than one press manufacturer had mixed roll paper feed into multiple option feeders.  How I wish I had this six years ago when 75% of the paper I was using was one type. The inability to mix roll and cut sheet is frustrating for most shops. Kudos to the front end company that is making this possible.  I did not delve deep enough to know which one it is.

Social interaction. Not social media. Social social.  IPMA and Print Media Centr both had open booths.  The playability at the PrinterVerse was oustanding.  What a refreshing step away from the vendor hawk areas.  Vendors take note.  Provide a place where no sales people are allowed and people can just enjoy.  One of my great friends in life is Emerson.  No, they have nothing to do with printing or communications.  They provide power systems.  Every once in a while they provide a few days in a non typical convention town where only their engineers are communicating with customers.  They mix education on trends and build great relationships.  Kudos, GASC.

More fun?  Ricoh gets the all out award for creative display.  That town center was a blast. I wish I had four hours just to walk around.  I sure hope you caught it on pictures so I can redo a virtual tour with easy drill down into the shop windows.  Wow.

As Gomer would say, “Surprise, surprise, surprise!”  Right in the middle of Konica Minolta is EngageIT.  I love EasyPurl and Mindfire and InfusionSoft and Interlinkone and Xmpie, and, and… anyone who mixes up the channels in easier ways for printers.  This product looks to be a game changer.  Written by a gaming ad agency, it has simple abilities to make it happen based on realistice patterns of interactivity.  And you  don’t need rocket scientists in your shop to make it work.

In Plant education was a phenom.  Much thanks to GraphExpo for courting this audience that makes up a bigger and bigger portion of the industry.  Sorry commercial guys, if you don’t learn how to in plant, you are going to go away.  More and more companies get it.  The digital revolution brings ability for volume, quality, variability and impact in smaller and smaller and more affordable packages.  The need for mass volumes and monster equipment is waning.  Companies that have never thought about In Plant operations will start thinking. Those that have them have begun serving others.   The education options were superb and dead on.  The In Plant folks had fun, learned, and were exposed to new possibilities. I talked to many of them.  They are ready to grow and take a bigger portion of the market.

That’s enough for today.  Just a little reporting on the fun side.

You are not who you are. It just looks that way.

The first step to change is a holy dissastisfaction with the present state.

You are not what you have done or what you are doing.  You are what you’ve become and where you are going.

Like that?  Makes sense to me.  Where are you going?  What have you become?

Do you like the answer to both of those questions?   So many times we settle for status quo because of what we have experienced and then work to keep adding to blanked existences and shop patterns and sales attempts that are working to a degree, but never seem to break through to the level of performance we would like.   That is one heck of a long sentence.  Mull on it for a minute.

We settle for status quo.

We get comfortable with prior experience.

We labor at the common and comfortable.

Eventually it is dull and boring and feels like a blank.

Our shops become patterned for problems.

We like the problems with which we are familiar.  We know how to fix them.

Our sales are structured and predictable.

The circle remains unbroken.

Deep inside, we yearn for a new level of productivity.  We want to grow.

We want to become more than we have become.

We want to go where we have never gone.

Familiar?

Remember T. S. Seisel?  Of course you do.  He is American and world history.  As a young man his political cartoons graced many key magazines.  His 15 years of ad work for Standard Oil helped build the company.  Working with Frank Capra, he produced animated training films for soldiers of WWII.  Still don’t remember him?  That was the majority of his life.

Oh, the middle most S?  Seuss.  Dr. Seuss.

The first book was rejected 27 times.  At the time he was a famous cartoonist.  Rejected.  What had become of him?

Then the Cat in the Hat project just seemed to expose a different man than any had ever met.  Over the years, he had become and was becoming someone much different.  Where he was going was an unknown until that book well into his career. 

Every one of us has that potential in every part of what we do.  So many organizations settle for mediocrity.  The incredible potential bottled in their staff just sits and stews all the way to retirement.  It gets so bad, companies begin giving away the mature workers because the organization has doomed them to zombism through saying, “No”, to creative becoming idea after powerful results changing idea.  The source of great ingenuity and innovation that resides in the years of wisdom and experience is put aside for youthful energy who have yet to become much of anything.  They will.  Given time, we all do.  Most likely they will become zombies like their predecessors.

Seisel broke mode.  It was a persistent and purposeful pursuit inside of him that broke mold.  He just refused to quit growing and becoming.

You have systems of work, opportunities for new product, and development of people ahead of you.  What can you become?  Where can you go?

Let’s find out together.

images:

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http://www.virginmedia.com/images/Dr.Seuss_431x276.jpg