American Printer's mission is to be the most reliable and authoritative source of information on integrating tomorrow's technology with today's management.
Jan 24, 2014 12:00 AM
5 WORDS THAT WILL SHAPE THE FUTURE OF EVERY IN-PLANT
In-plant operations will continue to play a key role in the education, government, business, and non-profit sectors. But timed, customized and integrated print will shape the in-plant of the future.
Historical analysis and trending can mislead businesses in the face of disruptive technology and methods. Each organization will have to assess its processes. Lemming behavior will fail, as social media and mobile power variability continue to change the playing field. Customized and 1:1 conversations that include print channels require continuous service improvement. This is not your grandfather’s in-plant.
Five keywords summarize the “vitalized” in-plant of the future:
Non-disclosure agreements don’t always work. Even vendor service techs and sales people pose a risk of leakage—industry lore holds that if you really want to know what’s going on, just ask the paper delivery guy. Multi-sourced projects accelerate a business’ vulnerability, so you need to get as much in-house and under organization guideline and control as possible. Ad agencies will become smart partners with the in-plant to sustain their business integration.
People want a single point of accountability joined with rapid turnaround. This is a dilemma. It means planned redundancy in equipment, hardware, software, and people to assure continuous service to hit market timelines. It also means a variety of resources and capabilities that are not always used. You may need wide-format project capability that only runs four times a year at optimum turn. People and resources have to be on the ready. Cost has been lowered, but organizations can handle this. In-plants will be “Swiss Army knife-able.”
Get broad organization skillsets in your management and support team. In-plant management needs competency in compliance, legal, content management, marketing, sales, and operations. A broad-minded manager, who understands all aspects of the business, is a diamond asset.
In-plants need to understand privacy regulations, have audit trails, be able to prove immediate deletion of data, and mesh with Sarbanes-Oxley and its many derivatives. A workflow that is documented and audited and tightly measured and monitored is not an option.
The trend for CIOs to get out of the “printing business” leads to a knowledge and attention gap in many major enterprises, which can cause audit issues and leakage of data. CMOs and COOs may take up the audit gauntlet and move into increased influence on data integration and handling. The in-plant will need to navigate the enterprise and demonstrate business acumen.
Online systems will engage customers when they envision a project. Quick calculators and file preflight online checkers and quick design tools give in-plant customers a head start without having to talk to team members. These systems intelligently alert in-plant teams to future work orders for proactive preparation and follow up. The same systems will keep progress communicated in real time with instant operational transparency.
FACING THE FUTURE…
Are you ready? Is your organization? What are you doing to make the move?
Phil Larson is president of Shepherd Consulting OK and author of “In Plant Biz Development 101: Engaging New Thrust in Multi-Channel.” Talk to Phil at B2Me.me/CC23.