Time to refill your cup, folks. It may have been sitting dangerously low for the past year…
A year and a half ago, we were looking ahead to a spectacular year full of promise. Then the year took a bit of turn on us, but that turn wasn’t the same for everyone. Whether you were one of the companies that found new growth opportunities or one that held on by your fingernails, the goal for 2021 was to build to a new crescendo. Unfortunately, our cautious optimism for 2021 was a slow starter to say the least. But now with things re-opening we’re all enthusiastically setting the caution up on the top shelf and ready for The Big Reboot.
Consider these three B’s as you reboot your 2021 plan:
– Be Smart: Assess your print ecosystem
– Be Prepared: Make an updated plan
– Be Proactive: Look for opportunities
No matter what your business plan for 2021 looked like, this is the time to take a deep breath and assess the hardware and software you have against that plan. How does your workflow and supporting hardware line up against the orders you took this year and the catalogue of products you want to offer through the balance of the year? Are you one of the many printers who struggle with getting your work from the point of sale to the press? How many people are touching each job as it comes in and is passed into production?
Think of every touch as a dollar sign. The more touches you eliminate, the more of that money stays on your bottom line. Even if you have a web-to-print environment or most of your work comes in through FTPs and hot folders, it is likely that there is room for streamlining and optimizing. You can hire a consultant, ask your vendors for help, or do it yourself, but take the time to identify the bottlenecks before you get back into full swing operations and all that work lands in the queue.
Assessments help you to identify your less optimized processes and begin to prioritize, but it doesn’t magically turn into a plan. Identify the learnings from the assessment that look like low-hanging fruit. Perhaps it’s a tune-up of your web-to-print environment to make it more robust or the addition of preflight and optimization automation to ensure that nothing goes to print that isn’t ready. Perhaps you learned that your workflow is just not flowing and it’s costing you time and money. It might be that your finishing isn’t keeping up with your printing. Maybe you’ve uncovered other bottlenecks.
Create a plan that includes short term fixes, but also looks outward to solutions for long term capacity building, streamlining of turnaround time, and labour savings. Try to find at least one project each quarter that will contribute to your bottom line so that when we reach December 2021 you can look back with a smile.
Whether the last year and a half were a banner time for your business or more of a challenge, a plan for your reboot should be on your must do list. This isn’t the time to sit back and assume all will be well next year because life will go back to what it was back in 2019. Your plan should include defined efforts to grow your business by looking at the products you offer today and finding the extensions to offer existing customers and to attract new customers.
Think of it this way – try to find new options or features to add that take full advantage of your print capability and finishing options. Look at options to offer upgrades in substrates or new types of folds. Can you do binding? Think about promoting company magazines or catalogues. Ask your team for ideas! Ask your customers for their wish lists!
The most important thing you can do to reboot is to optimize. Make a plan and grow!
Don’t just sit there, get growing!
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