No Strategic Plan? Here’s How Your In-plant Can Write One
The In-plant Printing and Mailing Association (IPMA) concluded its weeklong series of webinars yesterday with an information-packed presentation by consultant Greg Cholmondeley that detailed how in-plants can go about writing a five-year strategic plan. Cholmondeley, president of PRINTelligence Consulting, presented material from a soon-to-be-published IPMA whitepaper he wrote on the topic, which was sponsored by Canon USA.
Cholmondeley, who said he has been writing strategic plans for nearly four decades, stressed the importance of having such a plan in place, and compared strategic plans to having a game plan in a football game. Without one, he said, “you play a pretty good game, but you could be much, much better.”
Likewise, in-plants may have excellent equipment, facilities, funding, and staff, but if they don’t have a strategic plan to guide them toward their goals, they will never achieve greatness.
“In-plants who don’t have a vision of what they want to become in the future and a plan on how to evolve to become it will likely keep working hard and improving what they do while slowly going out of business,” he said.
He 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.
Strategic plans don’t need to be 100 pages long, he stressed. “The core of the best ones are usually only four to eight pages long,” he said.
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 supporting 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.
Creating a plan isn’t the end, though, he stressed.
“Strategic plans, like game plans, aren’t meant to be written and filed,” he said. “You should use them to make business decisions and annually review your progress toward your targets.“
In-plants should start by getting a copy of their parent organization’s goals to ensure their in-plant’s mission aligns with and supports them.
Cholmondeley will give a full presentation on this topic during PRINTING United in October, after which, IPMA members will receive a copy of the whitepaper. Non-members can purchase the report for $250, which includes a one-year IPMA membership. Learn more here.
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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.