Reduce Your Cost
May 16th, 2013
Written by Dharminder Biharie, Business Development Manager
Xerox Graphic Communications, The Netherlands
There’s a good chance that prior to the economy taking a major hit in 2007 and 2008, you didn’t have to spend too much time pulling hairs over your sales process and strategy. Business was running well, sales were high, and your printing presses were running non-stop. And your sales rep – why would you have possibly worried about him? He was achieving the organization’s goals, customers loved him (he was always on the phone with them!), and he was a likable guy who had worked at your company for many years.
But now you have customers who don’t love him. He is not connecting with customers and prospects on his phone, e-mail, or social media. His cubicle was always vacant from being onsite with customers, but now he is always in the office. The fact is that most sales processes have changed over the last 5 years. The graphic arts industry has become a high tech business, where automating business processes to reduce costs is a key to survival. If your commercial department hasn’t grown to meet outside changes, you are probably facing challenges with sales and proposition.
Here is a list of 10 challenges in the sales process:
- If you can’t explain the added value of digital or litho print, you will end up with customers basing their purchases solely on price comparison. Always sell using return on marketing investment (ROMI). Even business cards deliver ROMI.
- You don’t understand the environment of your customers. Are they specialized in specific markets with specific requirements? Are there trends that you can use to offer recommendations and solutions?
- Your proposition doesn’t match your online profiles (Facebook, Twitter, LinkedIn, etc.) or your website is old and out-of-date. Keep online information updated and use free metrics software such as Google Analytics to see how you’re doing online.
- You don’t actually know what problems to solve. When you are offering digital print, always ask if you are solving a logistic or a marketing problem for your customer. Otherwise you will run into the same price comparison problem mentioned above.
- You are not familiar with the changed landscape of communication. Today we have more channels to communicate with. Be prepared so you can use them to your advantage. Integration is key.
- You do not have a system in place to calculate and discuss return on marketing investments (ROMI).
- Maybe you have calculated ROMI, but you still present it as a proposal. Communication plans should always be presented as projects, not proposals. Help your client visualize the experience.
- You have a top-10 list of your customers in order of % revenue in your account plan but you haven’t asked your customers who comprise their top-10 in % revenue. Also ask what kind of headaches they have in communication, marketing, sales and adding/selling value. This will help you help them.
- Are you a sales (500 doors to cover), account manager (100 doors to cover), key account manager (5 doors to cover) or trusted advisor (customers come to you)? Knowing your role can improve the quality of engagement with your customers.
- You don’t know what customers think about you and your company. If this is true, you almost certainly don’t know what your customer’s end-users think of them. Knowing this information can help you to improve your customer’s business, and as a result improve your business as well.
Don’t start to panic as you read all of this. Rome wasn’t built in a day, and improvement is a constantly evolving process. Try to improve your quality of sale by starting with a goal to focus on 3 of these 10 points. I am convinced that this will help you improve your relationships and interactions with customers, and in turn, impact your business.
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March 13th, 2013
Written by Ed Gala
VP, USCO Marketing & Communications, Xerox Corporation
In-house printing may not be a hot topic at your next cocktail party, but if you work in a large organization or Fortune 1000 company, you may have an under-leveraged resource hiding in plain sight. At a recent Focus Forward event in Dallas, Texas, in-plant printing managers and industry experts got together to explore ways to transform in-house print shops into high-powered marketing machines that bridge the paper and digital worlds and leverage social media, multi-channel communications and big data trends.
To combat outdated perceptions and remain competitive, Ed Spears, manager of business support services at the Fort Worth Independent School District said he forged tighter ties with communications and branding colleagues as well as other potential power users. He and his team uncovered internal redundancies, saving $200K by better utilizing existing assets and eliminating a dedicated machine previously used only for printing report cards. Savings are being reinvested in other strategic priorities.
Sherri Broderick, supervisor of Print/Mail/Sign Services at the Frisco Independent School District shared a similar experience. Her group made a list of all the ways they could increase the efficiency and relevance of their operation and found 40 hours of time savings while increasing daily jobs from 50 to more than 300.
Like Ed and Sherri, the 30 other leaders I met in Dallas were not only excited about in-plant printing, they were also celebrating successes and sharing war stories over cocktails. And guess what? There wasn’t a dull moment.
Interested in learning about other in-plant successes and how these print shops are finding cost-efficiencies and optimizing production capabilities? You may want to check out:
- How the InterContinental Hotels Group Was Able to Cut through the Clutter
- Increased print capacity and efficiency saved Highmark $5M, Personalized mailers increased member engagement by 400%
- How Wedding Invitations and Personalized Discount Codes Drove $2.5M in Revenue Growth for Printer
- Penn State’s on-campus print center upgrades its capabilities on a tight budget – and boost its botton line by more than 50%
A Focus Forward event may be coming to a city near you! Check out our tour schedule to see how you can hear these stories firsthand. Can’t make the event? Browse our extensive library of past speakers and topics.
February 13th, 2013
Written by Jo Oliphant
Manager, Continuous Feed Europe
How does your business communicate to your customers? Have you moved everything online because of postal costs and environmental concerns?
Sending physical communications to customers can be a costly venture, depending on where your business is situated and combined with the location of your customers. While there is no denying many customers have come to accept receiving statements and information electronically, saving the company in postage costs, there are still a very large number of consumers who still want, and prefer, paper statements in their hands. Personally, I still quite like receiving paper statements – especially given that some companies (you know who you are!) make it incredibly difficult to access their websites through complex layers of security, which is why I continue to request traditional hard copy. And while a preference for some, physical mailings are a necessity for others. Demographics play a huge role, but many consumers simply do not have reliable online access. Consumer preferences aside, there is a much deeper issue here – as some companies just aren’t “getting it” in terms of their customer engagement strategies.
When a company stops sending paper communications, it puts a halt to the regular vehicle it had that got itself through your letterbox, out of the envelope, in front of your eyes and read an average of three (yes, three) times. The first time was while sifting through your stack of mail after retrieving it. Then, if you’re like me, the mail sits on the kitchen table before being sorted and re-read to check through everything. Finally, it is looked at a third time as you file or archive it. A number of companies just do not understand that these three hits are one of the best marketing tools they have to capture your interest. In the absence of hard copy – what do they revert to?
- Emails that get caught by the spam filter
- Emails that are distrusted because they’re believed to be false
- Emails that are trashed or unread because, let’s be honest, who can really stand to receive 150 emails a day
Worse still are the hard copy mailings containing really poor marketing messages that get through your front door and do not capitalise on the analytics and back-end data that they’ve captured on you.
Side Note: there’s a third underlying and less well understood point about all of this, too. In this race to eliminate paper for environmental concerns (because apparently anything online must be green) we fail to understand the environmental credentials of paper vs. online statements, but the issues are huge and very complex. For now let’s say the jury is still out and I will revisit in a separate blog, but just so you know where I’m going on this one – paper is a carbon sink – when we bury it, the CO2 inside it is released into the atmosphere slowly. Similarly, email also needs energy to spin every disk, network line and so on to get information to you….
To send physical documents means using some form of postal service. Postal companies around the world have become quite inventive in their charging structures and most employ some kind of formula based on weight or size (or indeed both). Some countries already have a relatively low threshold on postage weight set at 20 grams. As it happens, 3 A4 sheets of 80gsm paper and a window DL envelope is 19.97 grams. I suspect if the country you live in doesn’t have restrictions like these, then it’s more a case of ‘when’ and not ‘if’ this will be introduced.
Putting a 4th sheet of paper in that envelope can be something of a challenge as it takes the envelope into the next postal bracket. At Xerox, we’ve been exploring printing on lower weight commodity offset papers to take advantage of our technology with vibrant waterless inks with no show-through on the page…and on 60gsm paper, that fourth sheet is a reality without the additional postage cost! Taking this even further as we explore the limitations of waterless inkjet, we can add as many as five additional sheets of paper on top of an 80gsm headed introductory letter into an envelope without breaching the 20gsm limit – just imagine what you can squeeze into that envelope with 12 A4 impressions! Of course, using lighter papers isn’t only about saving you postage costs, but also about reducing your expenditure on paper.
What’s your business strategy for communicating with customers now and into the future? E-presentment, hardcopy or both… and how do you measure success?
With Hunkeler Innovationdays now here, Xerox will be helping customers answer these questions and many more. Be sure to subscribe to this blog to stay up-to-date on the latest news, as well as follow the conversation using #XeroxHunkeler on Twitter.
February 5th, 2013
Written by Howard Fenton
Senior Technology Consultant
InfoTrends recently published a study entitled “Print Vs. Non-Print: InfoTrends Analyzes the True Cost of Business Communications.” What was most interesting was the conclusion that in many companies the non-print costs are typically higher than the actual print costs. They conclude that this is a common occurrence in companies where older methods are used.
The study focuses on enterprise-based printing but it is just like a concept used by print service providers of calculating the Total Cost of Operation or TCO. TCO is an important metric in calculating the total cost of a specific job and when you try to cost justify certain software investments such as Print MIS or web-to-print solutions.
Why? Because Print MIS systems and web-to-print solutions automate “soft” functions such as estimating, scheduling, tracking, and billing. The tangible or hard costs include printing, finishing, shipping, storing, and fulfillment. The soft or intangible costs include the design, composition, editing, project management, and administration.
Just as the InfoTrends study found that soft costs can be as significant or more than hard costs in the enterprise, the soft costs for print service providers can also be significant. Tracking jobs, just like estimating, scheduling, customer service, and billing are soft costs. If we just look at the cost of tracking jobs (as they go through the company) we could calculate the cost with this formula.
10 Minutes/Job x 50 Jobs/Day = 500 Minutes x $30/Hr = $250/Day
$250/Day x 19 Work Days/Month = $4,750/Month x 12 = $57,000/Year
One of the misconceptions in our industry is the assumption that a “click cost” is a total cost. While it’s true that click cost often includes the maintenance it does not include the capital investment, the paper, the cost for labor, and the costs for overhead.
Why is TCO important? Because if you understand TCO then you create more accurate estimates and are able to cost justify the advantages of automating the process.
If you enjoyed this post, you may also be interested in:
- Four Web-to-Print Issues You need to Overcome
- When Will Web-to-Print Cross the Chasm
- Is Digital Printing Killing Offset Printing?
- Bolstering the Bread-and-Butter Production Role of Black-and-White Printers
- In-Plant Professionals were In-the-House, Sharing Strategies to take Business to the Next Level
Howard Fenton is a consultant and business advisor at NAPL. Howie advises commercial printers and in-plants on benchmarking performance against industry leaders, increasing productivity through workflow management, adding and integrating new digital services, and adding value through customer research.
February 1st, 2013
Written by Brian Segnit and Chris Irick
Graphic Communications Marketing Managers, Xerox Corporation
What an exciting day for Xerox Corporation! After much anticipation, we are thrilled to announce new additions into our production portfolio, with today’s launch of the Xerox Color J75 and Xerox Color C75 Presses. Both the J75 and C75 are available immediately in North America, with worldwide availability beginning March 1, 2013.
The Xerox Color J75 and C75 Presses were designed with many production environments in mind, including in-plant operations, quick printers, commercial printers, creative agencies, photo specialty retailers and departmental environments.
Both press’ tout impressive features, including the new Simple Image Quality Adjustment (SIQA) toolset, which empowers the user with alignment and registration accuracy by automating registration control and density uniformity, eliminating the need to involve a technician. Also new to the J75 and C75 Presses is Intelligent Fuser Tracking technology, allowing users to designate commonly used paper sizes to specific fuser rolls, and alerting them if there is a mismatch between the job being printed and the fuser setting. This helps to minimize wear and extend the life of the fuser.
For commercial print shops producing high-volume, high-value applications, the Xerox Color J75 Press offers enhanced productivity by running all paper stocks, including heavyweight up to 300 gsm, at full rated speed of 75 pages per minute (ppm).
It can easily match corporate and industry colors through its embedded Xerox’s Automated Color Quality Suite (ACQS). With ACQS’ inline spectrophotometer and color management tools; accurate, reliable color can be achieved through automated calibration and profiling, all while limiting operator involvement.
Adding to the press’ productivity are Xerox FreeFlow solutions, including templates and automated workflows that simplify job prep and production of applications ranging from postcards to booklets. To help printers create high-value applications, Xerox’s Variable Information Suite and XMPie make it simple to add personalization, whether one name or a robust cross-media campaign.
The Xerox Color C75 Press makes it easy to start, or expand, a digital printing business. With the ability to run up to 75 ppm on uncoated stocks and up to 51 ppm on coated – the Xerox Color C75 can help open new opportunities to produce more profitable jobs.
In addition, the press features advanced scanning and copying capabilities, allowing auto-duplex scanning up to 200 images per minute (ipm). These workflow efficiencies are huge for businesses entering the digital marketplace. This versatile press even offers optional mobile and cloud solutions, providing printers with new ways to do business as jobs can be submitted and printed securely from smartphones, tablets, laptops or desktops.
We gave a sneak-peak of the Xerox Color J75 Press to attendees visiting the EFI Connect Users’ Conference on January 15. In attendance was Jyske Bank, the 3rd largest bank in Denmark, a company whose built a solid reputation by delivering excellence in quality, service, security, and privacy…extending all the way to their in-house print operations.
Impressed with the Xerox Color J75 at first sight, Jyske Bank purchased two presses. Jyske’s Print Shop Manager, Carsten Gaarde, stated:
“Print is one of the ways we build and maintain our customer relationships. The J75 offers many high-end press features in a smaller footprint with very impressive print quality.”
You can see the Xerox Color J75 Press on display at Graphics of the Americas, in Miami, FL, Feb. 21-23, 2013.
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January 31st, 2013
Written by Jo Oliphant
Manager, Continuous Feed Europe
When thinking about your business, if you ask yourself the question “how efficient is my business?”, what response would you give? There’s a reasonable chance it falls into one of three (or maybe four) categories…:
- Its XX% efficient, and we’re on a track to drive that to XX% over the coming months by doing X, Y and Z
- I need to ask the Production Manager
- What do you mean by how efficient?
- 100% efficient, as always (this was the 4th one and I have heard it played back to me countless times…)
There’s a relatively simple way of expressing the efficiency of the business, and that’s by looking at the total time available per year and then dividing into it the actual production hours.
If we step down a notch from a complete business and perhaps look at something like a printing press, then we can get a little closer to how this works. The entire years availability is 365 days (leap years excluded) or 8,760 hours. Take a print shop where the shop is open from 7am to 7pm, 5 days per week, or 60 hours. Take that over 52 weeks and we get 3,120 hours of possible availability. If the press was 100% efficient, then the Overall Equipment Efficiency, (OEE) value would be 35.6%.
Most printing presses I know need some time each day for operator maintenance, loading paper, changing plates, submitting new jobs and various other tasks. Occasionally a press will need some down time for maintenance too – so even the 35.6% is optimistic! In fact, one of the biggest impacts to the OEE value is the unexpected catastrophic stop, mostly because it’s just that…unexpected.
If you think about this further, it becomes pretty much impossible to hit 100% efficiency unless you have a machine that never misses a beat, and well, they’re fairly rare because invariably humans are involved and aren’t quite so efficient. That said, it is possible through a variety of techniques to improve the OEE of your business. And while we can’t prevent the unexpected stops from happening, we can begin to anticipate when they might happen and maybe reduce the somewhat large troughs in productivity that can and do occur (and usually at the wrong moment).
Now you’re probably thinking, “is that possible?” So, let’s take a situation that might occur in a print shop; think of a press running, the operator hears an unusual noise coming from the machine and it continues to run without any defects to the prints themselves. The noise isn’t so severe that it sounds like the equipment is in its death throws, meaning the operator is presented with three courses of action:
- Do nothing
- Call for maintenance
- Note where the noise was, when it occurred, what jobs were running at the time and tell the service engineer the next time he visits.
Which one do you think has the least impact on productivity?
Of course it’s the last one, because we don’t want to take the press out of production unless we really have to, however, we do want the service engineer to proactively inspect that area in an attempt to anticipate the failure. It could even be that the engineer knows what is going to fail, but doesn’t actually replace it at this service event while proactively ordering a component to replace at the next visit.
Coming back to my original question:
“How efficient is your business”? Are you interested in understanding how it might be improved?
We just might have some answers for you…
With Hunkeler Innovationdays fast approaching, Xerox will be helping customers answer these questions and many more. Be sure to subscribe to this blog to stay up-to-date on the latest news, as well as follow the conversation using #XeroxHunkeler on Twitter.
Interested in similar topics? You may want to check out:
December 20th, 2012
Interview with Scott Stevenson
Product Innovation Specialist
Recently, we’ve created and shared a series of Technically Speaking YouTube videos (if you haven’t seen them, you can take a look here). Today we have Scott Stevenson, the famous face of our Technically Speaking videos, here to talk to us about some of the behind the scene details of the series.
Scott, what’s it like to be the “Technically Speaking” video guy?
“Honestly? It’s a great extension to my day job as a demonstrator at the Gil Hatch Center! But we can reach many more people which makes it exciting.”
Do you ever get nervous before you go on camera?
“Not really because it isn’t scripted and that’s what people want. Conversation with substance without being overly marketed is the intent makes it enjoyable for people to view.”
It seems like you have a lot of fun making these videos! Which was your favorite one to shoot?
“I do enjoy it, and certainly the first one with Mike Linder is a favorite. That was one that kicked off the series and we were concerned people wouldn’t like the ‘openness’ of the messaging but they did.”
What do you think customers can gain from watching these videos?
“My hope is an appreciation for technical discussions that are not overly marketed. Similar to you speaking to the ‘mechanic’ when buying a car than just the sales person.”
Can you let us in on any other videos that might be happening soon?
We honestly have a very long list! Next year we’ll be focusing on ‘Color’ & ‘Workflow Automation’ to mention a couple. It’s going to be good so stay tuned!
That’s really exciting, Scott! We’re definitely looking forward to seeing what you come up with next!
If you have any other questions you’d like to ask Scott, please comment below.