A New Set of Lenses – Part One

By Mike Philie
In August 15, 2016

Change creates opportunities. I wish that I had made that up but I didn’t. Change create opportunities for those who are prepared and for those who can adapt to our changing industry. An area that has brought change for the commercial printers in the last few years is the growth of digital printing. Some variable, but mostly static short-run color. It’s evident when we look at the number of jobs or transactions on a year to year basis that digital jobs are growing, and are profitable, but do not replace the lost revenue from the larger offset jobs that have reduced in number. Many firms have redirected these digital orders to be processed through web portals and delivered into the que of a digital printing device. Others continue to handle them with the same workflow that they use for larger offset work. This creates increased administrative and prep activity, and sometimes requires additional staff to handle the higher volume of transactions. This blog is not about which workflow you should be using. It’s about how well you are adapting to a changing environment, meeting client expectations for speed and ease of use, and being laser-focused on the things that matter most for your clients.

Through the research my friend and colleague Andy Paparozzi compiled in our 13th edition of the State of the Industry, he highlights two key areas that we should be aware of:

“Everything about our industry, from our clients and their expectations to our competition and critical skills, is changing profoundly. We can think of our situation as adapt or perish. Or we can think of it as adapt and thrive because of the historic opportunity the upheaval is creating.” He continues, “we capture opportunity by developing an “adaptability advantage,” or the ability to adjust quickly and efficiently to even rapid, disruptive change.”

In General Stanley McChrystal’s Team of Teams, he writes extensively on the need to adapt to a changing world that is more complex and changing at a rapid pace. He had to view his command through a new set of lenses. Does this sound like our industry? He discusses the advantages of transitioning from a command and control organization to a team of teams in order to more successfully deal with the new challenges. Is this right for your business? Maybe, maybe not, but what’s clear is tackling these issues in the same manner as you have in the past may not be your only option. But where do you start? What questions do you ask? What process do you use?

Situation analysis is critical in establishing a long-term relationship with customers. Managers use it to analyze the internal and external environment of an organization and the firm’s own capabilities, customers, and business environment. It influences the performance of the business and the choice of appropriate strategies. I’ll go into more detail on this analysis and take you through the first steps of taking a critical look at your business in Part Two of this blog and will also be discussing this topic at both The CEO Roundtable and Graph Expo in September—hope to see you there.

As always, I’d like to get your feedback on how you’ve adapted your business to take on these new challenges. Reach me at mphilie@idealliance.org or (703) 837-1090.

Mike Philie

Mike works with printing companies that are not satisfied with their sales and business development performance, and are looking to get objective advice and strategic direction on how to improve the results of their business. His engagements can range from providing input on the overall sales strategy to building business development pipelines while training the processes of “selling” in today’s marketplace. Mike quickly establishes himself as a trusted resource and advisor to the owners and senior staff of his client companies through his personal involvement, and very quietly and effectively becomes an extension of their staff.

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