Better Get Ready For Growth


Written by, Dorota Katarzyna Ulkowska, Global Director Business Development

To say it has been tough doing business in Alberta over the last couple of years is an understatement. However, reports are indicating that the tough times are finally starting to shift. According to the Conference Board of Canada, Calgary’s economy should improve in the later part of 2017. “The City’s economy shrank by 3.2 per cent in 2015 and was expected to contract another 2.1 per cent by the end of 2016. However, the Conference Board expects that 2016 will mark the trough of this latest recession,” the report reads. TD forecasts that Alberta should lead the Canadian GDP growth for the next 2 years! ATB reports that the worst of the oil price downturn is over. But even that level of growth would mark only “a muted rebound compared to past experiences, and will barely bring the level of GDP back to that recorded in 2014,” the report cautions.

Summary, it is getting better, but we will not be seeing the economy bounce back to what we were use to in 2014.

At POG, we have been witnessing all Calgary organizations make tough decisions and huge sacrifices during the 2015-2016 downturn. What was interesting to witness, however, was that quite a few of these organizations are realizing that with the huge cuts, they can still function! Executives are much more aware of the downturn opportunity for long term restructuring to achieve the highest possible level of operational efficiency for the long term. After all, if the organization can function with such drastic cuts, then surely it can be very effective without going back to the level of expenditures experienced in 2014.

According to Price Waterhouse Coopers, “when the upturn arrives, Albertan companies that have seized this opportunity will be poised to be the first to leap forward—knowing that this time around, whether it’s a boom or bust economy, their companies are structured to remain lean, resilient and agile”.

One of the areas of opportunity for the majority of organizations is the area of cleaning up the utility function of companywide printing. Yes…we all know that print cost is considered not even a rounding error for most large organizations. However, keep in mind that printing actually is a process of communications and functioning for any organization. Yet most companies in Alberta still rely on their vendors to manage this area, including the reporting on the overall operating costs.

POG has been around for over 22 years, and what we have seen is a clear cycle within the print industry across the Alberta organizations. During the tough times, organizations optimize, reduce, measure and actively manage. As soon as the industry improves, print literally moves to the bottom of the list…right above who takes out the garbage. However, this attitude always backfires within 3-5 years. Costs skyrocket, service levels become variable across the organization, and the governance for acquisitions become dependent on employee demands. Not surprisingly, when the economy is impacted again, the cycle restarts.

However, the Alberta economy is not bouncing back to the pre 2014 levels. This is the time to break the cycle, and incorporate a steady and active measurement process of your printing environment. You can not actively manage what you cannot measure! Do not let go of the control. Put into place active processes which will continue to assist your employees, processes and keep your costs down through the good times and the bad.