Fear of Change or Opportunity


Change! This seems to be a constant for any organization. However, over the last couple of years, change is an understatement. Between the oil prices, negotiations around pipelines, political directions in Alberta, Canada and the US, some of us do not know which way is up or down.

How does this apply to operational management? How are executives and managers preparing for the near and far future? With so many uncertainties it is incredibly difficult to plan, and even tougher to manage.

I have had the good fortune to meet with executives from organizations who see this shift in our environment as a great opportunity to clean house, become lean and flexible in order to adjust to the many changes. Clean up and strengthen internal processes and costs to improve the core health of the organization. Some executives see the downturn in the economy as a great reminder that their organization has been functioning inefficiently, with way too much fat. This is a great time to set certain processes in place which will maintain a good health of the organization today and down the road….through the good times and the tough times.

Since print is our organizational focus, I want to review the opportunities in this particular area of operational management. Print today is very much a utility function for any organization. Some may argue with me on this one. After all, most of our functions are very dependent on the ability to print. Whatever your industry or role, you are printing something probably daily. Print helps us do our jobs. However, the industry has now reached a point where the differences in printing equipment are not as large as they use to be even 5 years ago. Most organizations make their equipment and vendor selections, put them into place, and rely on the vendor to provide the required service and measurement reporting until the next purchasing cycle.

Most organizations spend much more on their printing budget than they are aware of. Most organizations still have much more equipment than is necessary for their optimal functioning. Most organizations have internal processes which are too reliant on paper and do not take advantage of existent application options. Most organizations have no internal measurement system hence completely relying on their vendor to provide them with statistics on performance and financials.

In short, when it comes to internal management of print, most organizations still function like they did in the 90s. For organizations with over 1,000 employees, print is a multimillion dollar internal business. So how can organizations not be actively measuring and pro actively managing this area?

The first step is to truly understand where you are at. What you look like compared to the industry. Then you can determine what it is that you need, and where you want to be when it comes to print, internal work processes and budgets. Printing is an operational must for any organization. However, losing control over measurement and management today is a waste of money and resources. It is also one of the easiest areas to clean up when it comes to operations.

In short, with all of the oncoming changes, it is time to establish a healthy print strategy which you can measure and manage pro actively. If you have not done that yet, you truly are missing out.