Use Analytics to Demonstrate Your In-plant’s Value
One of the many factors that can make running an in-plant challenging is the near-constant need to prove your value. Of course, upper management would expect nothing less. While in-plants often drive big savings for their parent businesses, they are cost centers, as well. Businesses want to see the ROI from those costs, and a “well, things are going pretty good” is not going to cut it. What your in-plant needs is data and analytics, so you can not only show that you are providing ROI, but also show how you are doing it — and how it could grow in the future. (The latter part is where analytics come in.)
By keeping and analyzing data about the jobs you complete and their effects, you can make an excellent case for your in-plant, for budget-makers and potential customers alike.
Let’s start with actually tracking the data, because analysis without data is just guesswork. An easy way to get data on how your in-plant runs is to use workflow software that tracks that information automatically. Using software that automatically generates readouts and reports while also streamlining operations is a huge help. A few common reports to use in communicating your value include equipment output, sales statistics, employee productivity, job cost summaries and inventory data. If you produce multi-channel campaigns – and in today’s world, there is a very good chance you do or you will soon – try to use a solution that centralizes data collection across channels, so you can aggregate, slice and dice data as you see fit when it comes time to analyze.
At the analysis stage, how you look at the data depends on what kind of work your in-plant does and what decision makers want out of your operation. A great way to impress financial decision makers is to tie results and/or volume to associated costs. For instance, if in a single month your in-plant spent X dollars on flyer production, you can divide that out to provide insight on the average cost of a run of a certain size or even a single flyer.
If you want to go the extra mile, both in terms of ensuring your own competitiveness and proving your value to key decision makers, see if you can find out how much local commercial printers would quote for similar services. If your cost is lower – and one would hope it is – you can show just how much your organization is saving every time they work with you. In addition, you can provide information on how you have improved internal processes that have reduced costs (e.g.. a reduction in returned mail). You can also partner with workflow and production consultants to discuss which metrics are best suited to show your value, even enlisting their assistance in collecting the data and providing the analysis.
We live in an age of data. Data points influence nearly every business decision that gets made. Embracing data and analytics in your in-plant is a way to express the value you bring — in terms that data-minded decision makers can appreciate.
Debbie Pavletich is the Director of the Business Consulting Practice in the Commercial & Industrial Printing Business Group of Ricoh USA, Inc. As an in-plant print industry expert, she partners with clients to identify opportunities within their organizations to implement technologies that help minimize cost, streamline processes, increase throughput, improve operational efficiency, and strengthen and communicate business value. Her customer-centered approach and experience leading print industry teams enables her to collaboratively develop solutions that are in alignment with organizational objectives.
With more than 35 years of industry experience, Pavletich’s previous work includes managing a world-class in-plant printing department at Briggs & Stratton Corp. where she was responsible for strategic planning, finances, purchasing, capital equipment implementation, and sales and marketing initiatives. Other accomplishments include early adoption and successful deployment of leading-edge technologies, and initiating a successful sales effort to external customers.
As a subject matter specialist on in-plant operations management Pavletich has delivered presentations on a wide range of industry topics, including the value of in-plant operations, color management, work flow and the implementation of software and equipment that reduced costs, improved efficiencies, and provided additional revenue.
Pavletich has a certificate in management from Marquette University and has completed comprehensive finance coursework at the University of Chicago. She has served as Vendor Representative and International President of the IPMA (In-Plant Printing and Mailing Association), and President of the Milwaukee Chamber Theatre’s Board of Directors.