Integrate In-plants Into Workflows
Don't be afraid of electronic distribution. Let a document's content and intended audience determine how it gets delivered.
Will new electronic distribution methods diminish your position within the organization? The answer depends on your response. New forms of delivery can actually make an in-plant more tightly integrated into an organization's workflow.
In-plant managers are in the best position to determine the most efficient methods for document delivery, based on a document's content, timeliness and readership base. In most cases, documents will be delivered in several formats to provide convenient access to all users. Expanded delivery choices create a greater need to manage the process. Who better to assume these responsibilities than the in-plant?
"In-plants should become the document gatekeepers of the organization," declares Larry Aaron, former executive director of the International Publishing Management Association. "It's a vitally important position and one that is not being filled in many organizations."
Aaron says in-plants should survey customers to determine how they prefer to receive different types of information.
"When creators send documents, they use the format most convenient for them, which is not necessarily the most convenient one for recipients," he explains. "It's not intentional, it's just not their job to know how users prefer to view information. By offering customized delivery, in-plants gain the appreciation of their customers, while at the same time helping an organization achieve more efficient distribution of mission-critical applications."
The most popular new methods of document distribution are intranets and Web sites. In-plants should establish a relationship with the Information Systems department and any other group involved in creating intranet or Internet networks. Find out what the rules are for posting documents. If there's anything you need to do to be a good corporate citizen, make an effort to do it.
That will go a long way toward gaining the support and assistance of the IS group. They may return the favor down the road by championing your ability to deliver documents efficiently on electronic pathways.