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  • Blog Post
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  • Howie Fenton
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  • 10 January 2023

11 Predictions of How Print Industry Trends Will Impact Your Business in 2023

Our 11 predictions about how print industry trends will impact print centers and how to respond to reduce the challenges these trends create. While most in-plant print centers have been struggling with challenges ranging from demand to supply chain to staffing in the last few years, the trends and pace of change have accelerated. The issues from the trends alone would be challenging, but the combination will create “perfect storms.”

  • Blog Post
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  • Howie Fenton
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  • 12 December 2022

Avoid the Failed Implementation Closet to Achieve Your Plan

This third blog in our responding to change series addresses how to implement change and avoid a trip to the “failed implementation closet.” It answers the planning question of how an operation can deliver on their strategy/plan to position themselves to rapidly respond to change with suggested tips, tools, and an example operational project plan.

  • Blog Post
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  • Howie Fenton
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  • 03 November 2022

What Do You Need to Support Your Strategic Plan?

Part two of a three-part series about positioning your in-plant to change and reduce the risk of outsourcing by answering three questions- where the operation should be going, what resources are needed to support the vision, and how you plan to get where you want to go. This blog discusses the staffing, software, hardware, and financing resources you need to support your strategic plan.

  • Blog Post
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  • Howie Fenton
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  • 07 October 2022

Are We Experiencing a "Who Moved My Cheese" Moment?

Intuitively we know that change is a constant. However, technology changes have been gradual and did not threaten the in-plant business model. In comparison, changes brought about from the pandemic have been fast, and may threaten in-plant businesses. These changes are comparable to the metaphor of someone moving the “cheese.” If you see that these changes are impacting your business, it’s the perfect time to start planning for next year to help minimize threats and maximize your future opportunities.

  • Blog Post
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  • Howie Fenton
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  • 09 September 2022

Prepress Automation Benefits Surpass Hiring Inexperienced Staff

If you are struggling to find new prepress staff, an alternative is to add prepress automation software. Often overlooked when hiring inexperienced staff is the increase in rework. This blog shows that prepress software automation costs less than hiring inexperienced prepress staff.

  • Blog Post
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  • Howie Fenton
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  • 05 August 2022

The Shift in the Costs and Risks of Hiring VS Automation

As production volume increases and staffing remains a challenge, we have a choice to hire inexperienced staff and train them or increase the amount of automation. We compared these options and found that more rework resulted from hiring inexperienced staff, which cost more and reduced the availability of paper. When comparing hiring/training to automation, remember that the costs and risks of hiring inexperienced staff are higher now because of the staffing crisis and paper shortage.

  • Blog Post
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  • Howie Fenton
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  • 07 July 2022

If You’re Problem Solving Who is Steering the Ship?

At a recent in-plant conference I was reminded of the benefits of remaining focused on long term strategic goals. Spending too much time on production issues like finding paper and rehiring staff can shift your focus away from strategic issues like remaining aligned with your parent organization. An excellent presentation about workflow automation showed how one in-plant has benefited from remaining focused on working toward their strategic goals for over a decade.

  • Blog Post
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  • Howie Fenton
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  • 09 June 2022

Surviving Today’s Challenges to Help Your Recovery

In this post, Howie Fenton previews his IPMA conference presentation designed to help in-plants in your recovery from the last two and a half years. He offers suggestions for dealing with four top issues: declining volumes, hiring new staff, and minimizing complaints about pricing, and the impact of the paper shortage.

  • Blog Post
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  • Howie Fenton
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  • 06 May 2022

Print Center Consolidation Stumbling Blocks

Some in-plant print centers, including a university in-plant, survived through the pandemic by consolidating staff, cross-training everyone, and performing more like a nimble, small commercial company where all staff could perform all the shop's tasks. We discuss the motivation, previous in-plant consolidation trends, and five stumbling blocks to consider if you need to plan for the consolidation of staff or services.

  • Blog Post
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  • Howie Fenton
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  • 04 March 2022

Adapting an Old Strategy to Increase Satisfaction, Awareness, and Sales

This article talks about using an older strategy to increase customer satisfaction, awareness, productivity, and sales. The ability to demonstrate shop value has been threatened as more customers work from home, and more communication, marketing, and sales activities have switched to video communications. Adapting the demonstration of operational excellence can help in-plants increase satisfaction, awareness, and sales. 

  • Blog Post
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  • Howie Fenton
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  • 02 February 2022

New Strategies to Increase Satisfaction, Awareness, and Sales

To celebrate the IPMA's in-plant awareness month, this article talks about combining some new strategies to increase customer satisfaction, awareness, and sales. The ability to demonstrate shop value has been threatened as more customers work from home and more communication, marketing, and sales activities have switched to video communications. Using video for communications and demonstrating services can help in-plants increase satisfaction, awareness and sales. 

  • Blog Post
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  • Howie Fenton
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  • 07 January 2022

How to Plan for Growth or Recovery

Despite pandemic challenges remaining, typically there is a sense of new hope associated with the beginning of a new year. There are two planning scenarios. Planning for recovery/rebound while addressing staffing needs, and researching the root cause(s) of lingering low volume and overcoming volume declines. Both involve planning for growth, and we discuss planning and tips for each scenario.

  • Blog Post
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  • Howie Fenton
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  • 09 December 2021

3 Strategies to Prepare for Next Year’s New Challenges

Research shows that not only will we continue to experience supply chain and staffing issues in the coming year, we could also experience customer pushback about price increases and slower turnaround times. In the worst-case scenario, this could result in questions about the value of print or, worse, the value of the in-plant. This article will discuss the threats and offer three strategies to overcome them.

  • Blog Post
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  • Howie Fenton
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  • 02 July 2021

Is it Time to Pivot to Growth Applications and Strategies?

In this article, we discuss print applications that are likely to decline and grow post-pandemic and a strategy to help you win back clients of your in-plant that may have outsourced their work during the pandemic. Using this knowledge will help you negotiate the twists and turns in product demand.

  • Blog Post
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  • Howie Fenton
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  • 03 June 2021

The Cost Savings of Killing E-Mail May Be 3x-5x Higher Than Estimated

Do you realize that killing e-mail can reduce labor costs for CSRs, estimators, and billing staff and that there are additional savings possible by reducing the costs associated with manual estimating and billing? The savings of killing e-mail may be 3x-5x higher than estimated in recent research. To best understand the savings you can achieve, read this blog post.

  • Blog Post
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  • Howie Fenton
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  • 10 May 2021

Why Killing E-Mail Orders Matters for Your Recovery

Do you realize how much time and labor costs are associated with processing e-mailed orders? Do you understand the total cost of operation and the savings you could achieve by automating order entry? Find out in this post where we discuss the time, costs and production challenges of accepting e-mail orders and how a Web to Print solution can save you money and accelerate your recovery.

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