Bring it to the Bottom Line...Communicate Value Delivered
At one time or another, just about everyone has heard that "the best defense is a good offense." According to Wikipedia, this adage has been applied to many fields of endeavor, including games and military combat. Generally, the idea is that offensive action preoccupies the opposition and ultimately impairs its ability to do direct harm.
This is exactly the approach that in-plants need to take in a world of economic uncertainty, continued corporate restructuring, management changes, and mergers and acquisitions. You need to proactively and succinctly communicate the value that the in-plant is delivering to the organization in terms that all levels of management will understand.
There are three key elements that the in-plant value proposition needs to include:
1. A clear definition of the business problem that the in-plant solves. This seems obvious, but the in-plant is frequently viewed as a cost center. The in-plant manager must, therefore, articulate how the in-plant can help support the organization's business objectives.
2. An understanding of benefits. Value is the difference between the perceived benefits and consequences of selecting a different solution. This means that you must develop a very broad view in defining the benefits of the in-plant and the associated consequences to the organization if it does not have your operation.
3. A superior value proposition. User departments and corporate management must perceive that your value proposition is superior to every alternative being considered. It is your responsibility to differentiate your solution by producing a superior value proposition.
Debbie Pavletich, past president of the In-Plant Printing and Mailing Association (IPMA) and graphic services manager of Briggs & Stratton Corp., identified a clear series of benefits that in-plants can deliver. These benefits can also highlight the consequences associated with utilizing external providers. Debbie articulates the following value propositions to her company:
Barbara Pellow is the owner and founder of Pellow and Partners. With her long history focusing on digital communications and print technology, she works with both print service providers and equipment and software manufacturers on the development of strategies to improve revenue and profitability and grow market share.