Astute in-plant managers and service teams are attuned to and ahead of the customer. You are an inside partner with a vested interest in customer success. But are you capturing all of the possible print opportunities for your shop? In this "Build a Better In-Plant" article, we share 5 tips that build a framework for in-plant growth.
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5 Pillars of In-Plant Growth:
1. Establish. Embed. Espouse Your Vision.
Savvy external providers work diligently to insert themselves in your organization. Don't lose your spot to them; you are embedded. Stay top of mind with decision makers. Publish your vision through accepted channels. Hold open houses often for executives, managers and ordering personnel. Brainstorm with creative workers, IT, and the heads of transactional areas. Listen, learn their business, and engage with small improvements that show your concern for their success.
2. Elicit Expert Opinion.
Your vendors in software, hardware, and supplies have great ideas. Learn from them. Look to the future of print and steer your shop in a forward direction. Read industry articles and ask yourself, "How does this affect my world?"
3. Exposure Exercise.
Cost containment always piques executive interest. Create a survey that enables you to identify print and costs that are being serviced inside and outside. If you lack market research resources, invest in developing a simple tool that surveys satisfaction, your practices, procurement processes, and outside competition. Survey your plans and dreams along with present realities. Ask the budgeting or purchasing department for print expenditures throughout the organization. You need all this information. Get outside your walls; this is a part of your exposure exercise. Properly implemented, a right of first refusal allows you to review all orders and gain an understanding of what goes out and why. You can use this tool as a data capture point and input to your support decisions. Even better, manage all print, including sending jobs outside. Who is the expert on print in your organization (hint: it must be you)?
4. Explain Capacity. Capacity is not what you think you can do. It's what you can plan and expand to do. Conduct a detailed inventory of equipment, people, software and vendor relations. Develop a "normal", "busy" and "pushed-to-the-extreme" comprehensive capacity plan. How much can you turn per shift? What additional resources and workflow are needed to get to "extreme?" Where will the resources come from? Did you find new business to pay for it in your customer survey? Put this plan in executive, manager and team presentations. Know your details and be ready to present it, being sensitive to interests by audience.
5. Examine Risk Appetite. Engage Accordingly. The organization's risk appetite changes with economics, the legal environment, compliance requirements, the executive board, market position, and more. It can move with a significant development in any of these areas. An impactful litigation in one area or a governance shift can shrink appetite in all areas. Study your landscape. Seek counsel with your executive sponsors. Be wise and ready to act accordingly. Risk management is as important as fiscal management.
Framework for Growth Pull all five areas together into an action plan for growth. Assign milestones and team members, and update the plan frequently. Consider forming a customer advisory group to maintain close contact. Keep executives, managers, order makers and vendors updated on your progress. This framework approach, with the right information, people, process and vision, enables your customer partnership, brings work back in-house, and ensures you are the "go-to" team uppermost in people's minds.
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