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7 habits to boost in-plant printing success

by ​Ryan Kiley

As the competition from outside organizations grows, it’s important for in-plants to find ways to consistently sharpen their own competitiveness. Let’s take a look at seven habits you should practice to help stay top of mind for your departmental peers.

Habit 1: Use a magnifying glass

If you think you know everything there is to know about your operations and your customers, think again. When we get complacent, we get blindsided. Identify areas that require refocus, define immediate and long-term goals to address those areas, and take action. An immediate action might be as simple as reducing inventory of less popular paper stocks. Longer-term actions might include investing in staff development and technology. To start the process:

  • Assess the overall health of your business: operations, staffing and capabilities.

  • Survey your clients: You’ve heard of a 360-degree assessment for leadership development. Conduct a 360 on your business with your customers as responders. [1]

  • Conduct SWOT analyses: strengths, weaknesses, opportunities and threats.

  • Draw up a priority map: specific steps and timeline to achieve the next level of success.

Habit 2: Inspire a can-do attitude

As an in-plant printer, you deal with departments that may not have expertise in design, font selection or understand how paper affects the quality of a piece. Encourage your team to develop a robust set of skills in order to satisfy customer needs, even when requirements fall outside of normal offerings. Then go educate your customers, teach them how print production works — and how it can be optimized.

Habit 3: Expand your reach

What adjacent services can you provide? Think about website development, engraving, QR codes, warehousing, fulfillment, digital asset management. Your organization does business with at least one, likely multiple, premium vendors. Consider brokering those transactions or becoming a premium agent yourself.

Habit 4: Knock on doors

Go “door to door” by creating website and social media content that pulls in your customers. Offer giveaways, such as calendars and brochures. Host meet-and-greet tours that bring potential clients into your shop.

Habit 5: If you’ve got it, flaunt it

 Share your accomplishments. Provide management with facts and figures on:

  • Productivity: number of jobs and impressions

  • Customer satisfaction: number of complimentary notes from customers about your team member

  • Innovations: a new web submission process that cut costs, improves service and upgrades quality

Keep your production print in-plant relevant

Learn how the production print manager at Lions Club International brought customer service into the 21st century.

Read the case study

Habit 6: Spruce up your act

Perception remains the top issue for in-plant operators. In the past, the internal world was not as customer centric as it is today, and cost pressures did not drive insiders to external suppliers. That’s all changed, and you have to spruce up your act to convince customers to trust you. Show them your coolest projects, beat an outsider’s price, promise fast turnaround and deliver on the promise.

Habit 7: Know what’s driving print production

Understand the two main drivers in today’s production print environment: workflow automation that eliminates hands-on operations, increases efficiency and drives down costs; and better color technology that can handle the soaring demand for color print.

  1. 1"The Ricoh Customer 360° View Program." Ricoh Business Booster. http://www.ricohbusinessbooster.com.