In article one in this series about the top five challenges facing in-plant print centers, we discussed how in-plants address outsourcing, and in article two, reducing costs. Third in the series, this article looks at how in-plants remain relevant to their parent organizations and their customers. Four in-plant managers from some of the largest in-plants in Banking, Government, Higher Education and Non-profit from around the United States and Canada recently talked about relevancy as part of a panel discussion they participated in, entitled "In-Plant Panel: Champions Engage for the Future."
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Listening and Watching – Including Commercial Printers – to be Relevant
A common theme among the leading in-plants on the panel involves listening – to customers, to the market and to commercial printers.
At Dynamic Funds, part of the third largest bank in Canada, The Bank of Nova Scotia ("Scotiabank"), the in-plant listens for issues customers are facing and tries to solve them – even if it's not a service the in-plant currently provides. In a recent blog post, I discussed two unique services – business continuity planning and managing office furniture – that Dynamic Funds offers that meet customer needs and keep them relevant.
Karen Meyers, Business Manager for the Michigan Farm Bureau Centralized Print and Mailing Services Department, also listens to what her clients need. Her approach is to invest time in keeping current about technology and opportunities in the marketplace, attending user group meetings, in-plant conferences, GRAPH EXPO, webinars, etc. so that she and her department are viewed as a resource. Being able to meet the needs and timeframes of their clients helps determine their relevancy.
While customers let the top university in-plant in the United States know what they want and need, apprising the administration of the in-plant's advances and advantages is critical to their survival. According to Director for Printing, Mailing and Document Services at the University of Oklahoma, John Sarantakos, "Ultimately the administration determines longevity."
Taking a different approach, leader Mike Lincoln, Colorado State Printer, Department of Personnel and Administration, Division of Central Services, Integrated Document Solutions group, is always checking the pulse of their commercial sector counterparts, watching and learning from both successes and challenges. Lincoln takes what he learns and looks for opportunities inside State Government. Leveraging his knowledge of the primary mission of each the in-plant's agency partners, he is then able to target the most relevant services that support a particular agency's mission. The in-plant's relevancy is then gauged on the successes the operation is involved in and the ability to morph the solutions to work for other agency customers.
Don't want to wait for the rest of the series?
Watch RSA's In-plant Insights blog for the next article in the series, or visit the panel session presentation page to see more about how these in-plant leaders are meeting today's challenges.