As the competition from outside organizations grows, it’s important for in-plants to find ways to consistently sharpen their own competitiveness. Let’s take a look at seven habits you can practise to help stay top of mind for your internal customers!
Habit 1: Use a magnifying glass
If you think you know everything there is to know about your operations and your customers, think again. When we get complacent, we get blindsided. Identify areas that require refocus, define immediate and long-term goals to address those areas, and take action! An immediate action might be as simple as reducing inventory of less popular paper stocks. Longer-term actions might include investing in staff development and technology. To start the process:
– Assess the overall health of your business: operations, staffing and capabilities
– Survey your clients: You’ve heard of a 360-degree assessment for leadership development – conduct a 3601 on your business with your customers as responders
– Conduct a SWOT analysis: strengths, weaknesses, opportunities and threats
– Draw up a priority map: specific steps and timeline to achieve the next level of success
Habit 2: Inspire a can-do attitude
As an in-plant printer, you deal with departments that may not have expertise in design, font selection or understand how media affects the quality of a piece. Encourage your team to develop a robust set of skills to satisfy customer needs – even when requirements fall outside of normal offerings. Then go educate your customers, teach them how print production works, how it can be optimized, and the ways it can help meet their objectives.
Habit 3: Expand your reach
What adjacent services can you provide? Think about website development, engraving, QR codes, warehousing, fulfilment, digital asset management. Your organization does business with at least one, likely multiple, premium vendors. Consider brokering those transactions or becoming a premium agent yourself.
Habit 4: Knock on doors
Go “door to door” across your organization by creating website and social media content that pulls in your customers. Offer giveaways, such as calendars and brochures. Host meet-and-greet tours that bring potential clients into your shop.
Habit 5: If you’ve got it, flaunt it!
Share your accomplishments, achievements and accolades! Provide management with facts and figures on:
– Productivity: number of jobs and impressions
– Customer satisfaction: number of complimentary notes from customers about your team member
– Innovations: a new web submission process that cut costs, improves service and upgrades quality
Habit 6: Spruce up your act
Perception remains the top issue for in-plant operators. In the past, the internal world was not as customer centric as it is today, and cost pressures did not drive insiders to external suppliers. That’s all changed, and you have to spruce up your act to convince customers to trust you. Show them your coolest projects, beat an outsider’s price, promise fast turnaround and deliver on the promise.
Habit 7: Know what’s driving print production
Understand the two main drivers in today’s production print environment. Firstly, workflow automation eliminates hands-on operations, increases efficiency and drives down costs. Secondly, better colour technology can handle the soaring demand for colour print while the 5th Colour Station opens a whole new world of applications and revenue opportunities.
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