One in-plant's journey from an environment where specialization reigned to one where cross-training is the norm—and how life has improved.
Change in the printing industry is happening at a dizzying rate. Technology and the morphing face of business have forced printing managers in both the commercial and in-plant markets to make some hard decisions, not only concerning technology, but also what services to offer.
Making the right informed decisions can spell success and longevity in the industry, while standing still and ignoring change will inevitably lead to extinction. With all this to consider, the printing manager is reluctant to alter the things he or she can control. After all, as the cliche goes, "If it ain't broke don't fix it."
Unfortunately, as I've learned, change has to occur at every stage of the printing process.
A while back, my printing and copy unit had successfully converted from primarily being a forms printer to an on-demand printer, concentrating on short- to medium-run marketing work. This met a demand that previously wasn't being addressed.
Tight deadlines and stringent quality requirements are all part of the print-on-demand philosophy. Print managers that subscribe to this philosophy must put it into practice consistently, as advertised, in order to maintain credibility. Often it is like walking on a high-wire without a net. There is simply no margin for error.
At the time, we seemed to have successfully made the transition to on-demand. Customers were happy, corporate expenses were down and the internal print business was booming. All seemed right with the world—but things weren't as they appeared.
To adapt to the pace of on-demand printing, I had allowed my staff to specialize in different areas. I got positive results immediately. I knew one fellow was great at high-quality color printing and another at prepress. One of my staff could do amazing things on the folder. I had a copier operator that the customers loved, and he handled his area like his business. These became the GO TO people. I could rely on them to get things done, every time and all the time.