Take a look in the mirror and be honest about what you see. Ignore the wrinkles and the graying, or missing hair. Does the rest of you look as good as you did at 25? Or, did you slowly acquire a pound or two each year, and now you're 50-60 pounds overweight? Yeah, you might be a little stronger now, but could you compete with your younger self? If not, then you know what you need to do. You need a change in diet, lifestyle, and exercise.
So, why are you still living like a college student? You’re probably overeating fatty food instead of dining on properly-portioned, nutritious meals. And, you’re likely spending an hour a night in front of the TV instead of on a treadmill.
Now, take a look at your business. Are you as agile and responsive as you were when you first hit your stride? Are you consistently delivering the quality, price, and responsiveness your customers demand while achieving the profitability you need? Yeah, you might be bigger and offer more services now. But you also need to compete with hungry local and Internet startups as well as the big guys. And you know what you need to do. You need to monitor and manage your business while efficiently producing consistent, high-quality work.
So, why are you still running your business like a startup? You’re probably using paper tickets and manual processes. You’re likely still working with spreadsheets for estimation and business analytics.
Physically, you know you’ll feel better and have more energy if you get yourself in shape. In business, you know you must improve your profitability. You also understand that your family will still love you if you're out of shape, but that your customers won’t be loyal to a sloppily-run business.
None of this should be news to you. Cost, quality, and delivery are no longer competitive differentiators in the printing business. They are the minimum requirements for being in the game. Sweat, hard work, long hours, and slim margins are certainly ways to get there, but they aren’t scalable. Your labor costs, error rates, and stress will only increase as your business grows unless you have a healthy business lifestyle.
- Understand where you can and should automate your production processes
- Efficiently gather on-going operational data for accurate costing and analysis
- Manage your operation and customers with a strong Print MIS/ERP system
- Utilize tools for accurate and repeatable estimating
- Provide online customer ordering and order access
- Integrate everything, from order entry, production, and fulfillment, through packing, shipping, and billing
- Create and implement a plan to make this happen, because it is not trivial
So, yes, you can continue to run your business the old way. But why?
Face it, most printers and in-plants have focused on keeping abreast of the latest equipment and applications. But most need to change their business lifestyle, not just drop five pounds. Doing this will take a while and probably shouldn’t be attempted all at once. So, you need a plan. There are many options for designing and implementing a healthy business lifestyle out there. Just be sure that the pieces all smoothly integrate. And, work with a company who is interested in the long haul like you, and not just in making a quick sale
Avanti Slingshot and Enfocus Switch are good examples of Print MIS and Production Automation software which work well together to enable a healthy business lifestyle.