For the last 2 plus years, I have read many articles, attended webinars, and listened to several podcasts. All of these communication modes are informative, and I have learned a great deal. But I have that found I learn best with face-to-face interactions and peer sharing. As I book travel for my next in-person conference, I’m excited about the interactions, sharing and learning I anticipate from attending sessions with a knowledgeable and diverse group of industry peers at the Xplor22 conference.
In addition to attending, I am preparing to speak on two pertinent topics: What we have learned around software and workflow and What do we need to do differently in staffing and operations. These are big topics, and I will be sharing what I have learned from my clients and colleagues about changes they are making in their print mail organizations.
Many companies have made significant changes to workflow, platforms and print production tools in the last two years. Some were driven by necessity early in the pandemic. Some operational changes were in response to IT security threats. Many companies are now looking at the staffing and resources needed to maintain platforms, build applications, and drive predictable workflows.
Mary Ann Rowan of Solimar and I will be co-presenting “Why Build-versus-Buy May Be the Riskiest Decision You Make Post-COVID.” We look forward to a lively session where we will share our perspectives on weighing all options against considerations for risk, time and cost when making the best workflow and IT decisions for your organization. This includes the three primary choices for:
- building in-house solutions,
- buying customized solutions,
- buying off-the-shelf solutions
The convergence of the shortage of programmers, retirement of tenured technical staff, and the need to migrate to current cloud solutions is making for challenging times. Some organizations are making large investments in software to replace legacy platforms with little documentation and loss of the tribal knowledge to maintain them. I’m working with several in-plants and print service providers who are grappling with the need for new software solutions, while balancing the costs and resources needed to integrate and replace workflow components.
I’ll also be a co-presenting “Combat Paper, Ink & Labor Challenges! ROI and Customer Stories from the Trenches” with Jonathan Malone-McGrew of Solimar. We all love stories, and recent industry news has presented many stories and object lessons we can all learn from.
Paper supply challenges and tight labor markets continue to drive creative approaches to getting the work out the door. Jonathan and I will be sharing ideas from companies who are doing well in adapting and evolving their strategies. Switching paper to the substrates that you can get delivered means testing, defining new profiles, and calibrating presses to get production efficiently accomplished.
Several organizations have changed their approach to finishing to add flexibility to their operations. We have seen investments in priming stations, post-coatings, and more automated finishing equipment to improve overall output with the same amount of labor.
We’ll share how companies have defined new approaches to retain and keep their employees happy, with raises, bonuses, incentives, and flex time. Acquiring talent, defining cross-training programs and career paths for production staff are needed for organizations of all sizes. Successful companies are investing in the right workflow and employees at all levels to meet today’s challenges. Further defining synergies between operational staff, technical teams, and software integration is the path to ROI.
I’m confident other conference attendees will have great ideas to share on these topics and others at the conference. I hope you are able to attend some in-person conferences like Xplor22 to get the benefit of face-to-face learning, sharing, and networking so you can make the best decisions for your organization.