How to Write a Strategic Plan for Your In-plant
In an information-packed presentation during Monday’s In-plant Forum, Greg Cholmondeley, president of PRINTelligence Consulting, detailed how in-plants can go about writing a five-year strategic plan. Cholmondeley presented material from a new In-plant Printing and Mailing Association whitepaper he wrote on the topic, which was sponsored by Canon USA. (Watch the full session here.)
Cholmondeley, who said he has been writing strategic plans for nearly four decades, noted that after reviewing some of the strategic plans of in-plants, he noticed they lacked goals, objectives, initiatives, and milestones, all of which are essential in a useful strategic plan.
In-plants, he said, should start by getting a copy of their parent organization’s goals to ensure their in-plant’s mission aligns with and supports them. The first step is to write a mission statement that describes what the in-plant does to support the parent organization’s business. Make sure it accurately describes what you do today.
“Everything in your strategic plan will be designed to take you from where you are now to where you want to be in five years.”
Strategic plans don’t need to be 100 pages long, he stressed. The best ones are only four to eight pages in length, he emphasized. They should cover the following elements:
- Mission: What your operation currently does for your institution from your customers’ or institution’s perspective.
- Positioning: A few sentences stating what you do, who you support, and why customers select you over alternatives.
- Vision: The direction you want to take your in-plant. i.e., Your desired mission statement in five years.
- Goals: broad directional statements that support your mission and vision.
- Objectives: Tangible, measurable statements of intended accomplishments associated with your goals.
- Key Performance Indicators: Accurately measurable characteristics of relevant progress toward completing objectives.
- Measurements and Targets: The current and target values for each objective’s KPI.
- Initiatives: Anticipated major activities that support objectives.
- Milestones/Investments: The target accomplishments and anticipated significant investments for each initiative.
- Justification: Background material supporting your goals, objectives, initiatives, milestones, and targets.
Once you write your plan, be sure to validate it, he stressed. Run it by your staff, your major customers, and your management. Annually review your progress toward your goals, and adjust your plan’s targets accordingly.
“We are living through a crisis that invalidated a great many strategic plans,” he noted. “This crisis demonstrates the importance of being able to quickly revise strategic plans to move ahead. You don’t want to continue following an outdated plan.”
The In-plant Forum continued with more panel discussions and product demos. Click the links below to read about some of the other sessions.
Related story: No Strategic Plan? Here’s How Your In-plant Can Write One
Bob has served as editor of In-plant Impressions since October of 1994. Prior to that he served for three years as managing editor of Printing Impressions, a commercial printing publication. Mr. Neubauer is very active in the U.S. in-plant industry. He attends all the major in-plant conferences and has visited nearly 170 in-plant operations around the world. He has given presentations to numerous in-plant groups in the U.S., Canada and Australia, including the Association of College and University Printers and the In-plant Printing and Mailing Association. He also coordinates the annual In-Print contest, cosponsored by IPMA and In-plant Impressions.