Telling Your Story
In my last post I posed two questions. The first was "How do you know your print shop is doing a good job?" I argued that management may not have a clear understanding of what the print shop does and why it’s important. This question also deals with the kinds of reporting you do as a manager. We’re going to talk more about that later.
Today let’s talk about the second question: “How do you know your print shop is not doing a good job?” In a sense, we’re dealing with different sides of the same issue. What we’re really talking about here are perceptions, that is, what do your customers and the managers in your organization think about you? What’s your image? Are you the guys they think of first—the "go-to" guys—or is your shop just someplace people have to go? There’s a big difference.
The second question is an important one because it questions peoples’ assumptions. “How do you know your print shop is not doing a good job?” challenges people to identify specific areas of poor performance. Like how you screwed up their last job. Or how you missed a deadline. Never mind that it was 10 years ago and you have new equipment or have extensively cross-trained your staff. If you had a problem with a job and haven’t done something to correct that negative perception, the perception will persist.
Here’s an example of what I’m talking about. I was in a class not too long ago, and we were each discussing our dissertation plans. When I said that I was studying outsourcing printing, you should have heard the comments—from students! One said we should get rid of it. Another said that printing charges too much. Another said they take forever. These were students who had little contact with the print shop, so you have to wonder what caused them to form those perceptions. The important thing is that they had them and they were real.
Ray Chambers, CGCM, MBA, has invested over 30 years managing and directing printing plants, copy centers, mail centers and award-winning document management facilities in higher education and government.
Most recently, Chambers served as vice president and chief information officer at Juniata College. Chambers is currently a doctoral candidate studying Higher Education Administration at the Pennsylvania State University (PSU). His research interests include outsourcing in higher education and its impact on support services in higher education and managing support services. He also consults (Chambers Management Group) with leaders in both the public and private sectors to help them understand and improve in-plant printing and document services operations.