Print Optimization Approval Process … The Column Issue 

We are all familiar with the saying, “Penny wise and pound foolish”.  My Dad drilled that into my head many years ago.  There is a similar saying that describes how people always find the time and money to do it right on the second or third attempt.  And of course who can forget … “Do it right the first time”.  That is my personal favorite!  I often think of this theme while helping people identify, capture and measure cost reductions in their print environments.  Intense discussions at senior levels that can take days, weeks or months to debate dollars spent to capture millions in savings.  Well I finally figured out the problem.  No, it is not a budget issue.  There are simply too many columns in the spread sheet.  The net savings column always seems to be too far to the right.  Sometimes you have to scroll over to see it.  We all know people hate horizontal scrolling.  So the executives only see the one-time $300,000 expenditure required to deploy and optimize.  They don’t see the $1 million in annual savings.  It is a column issue for sure.

Let’s do the math really quickly.  $1 million in savings x 5 year solution life-cycle = $5 million.  The one-time cost to deploy is $300,000.  The ROI is less than 4 months.  That seems pretty good to me!  You will get that money back within the same budget year, so budget should not be a problem. So why do the decision makers focus on the cost of the subject matter expert and the burger ordered for lunch?  I know.  I know.  No one likes to pay for consulting services, but sometimes if you don’t have the skill set, experience, process and methodology readily available, you need to bring in some external help. It seems odd to me that senior executives spend an inordinate amount of time on the $300,000 cost to deploy instead of embracing and celebrating the $5 million savings opportunity.  After all, if you don’t deploy, you don’t save anything!  They simply don’t scroll far enough to the right.  I now understand that is the problem we are facing. It is a column issue.

After leading the charge at POG Consulting for over 18 years, I will ask my team to move the savings column to the left.  I think we should make it the first column in the spread sheet.  I am confident that will go a long ways towards addressing the issue and improving efficiency of the approval process.