In Plant & Transactional

From a shadowy existence to a top performer: How in-house printers grow

Some in-house print departments are just goingthrough the motions. Yet their prospects are bright if they develop a strategy and offer new solutions.

4 minutes 4 minutes
Table of Contents
Some in-house printing departmentsare profit centreswith their own cost centres and even offer services to third parties .Others are under pressure to justify themselves because they cannot communicate added value to their organisations. Konica Minolta experts show how Central Reprographic Departments (CRDs) arerolling out successful business models and establishing themselves as cost-saving providers of complex printing solutions.

In many companies, in-house printing departments have grown into competence and service centres. What are the strategies behind this, what are the recipes for success andconcrete recommendations for action for future-proof in-house printers?

1. Get out of the shock! Make yourself important!

In general, many in-house printers lack clear business models, integration into the company and an in-house printing strategy. The first step is therefore to take the initiative. In-house printers have to take themselves seriously and make themselves important. First and foremost, they need to be visible to management and have the determination to break out of the cycle of staffing problems, lack of equipment, too few offers and thus too few orders.

2. Securing management support

Modern in-house printers have the impetus to break new ground, expand their print offerings and provide services and solutions from a single source. But they need the anchoring and goal-setting of  themanagement for the in-house print shop to be successful. The importance of in-house printing must be firmly defined there. After all, it is here that investment decisions are ultimately made, whether for new printing staff, hardware or software. The management can also stipulate that specialist departments only commission their printing jobs internally. Initiate communication with management and use occasions such as the renewal of maintenance contracts.

3. Expand the print business, look for new tasks

Talk to your staff about the strengths and weaknesses of the in-house print shop. Exploit existing experiences to create new strategies and offers. Also analyse the weaknesses and the willingness of staff to learn things and acquire new skills. Based on these findings, newofferingscan be developed for the in-house print shop portfolio. Be it  inprint preparation, prepressorbrochure design .An in-house print shop can thus become the preferred service provider for the marketing department, for example.

4. Focusing on customer needs

As an internal resource, in-house printers often do not take customer orientation for granted. However, it is crucial to know exactly what customers' needs are and how they perceive the in-house printer.  Dotheyknow the entire range of services, are they satisfied with the implementation and what new services do your customers want? Customer advice must not be neglected in the in-house print shop either; on the contrary, it is a central element. Customer-oriented consulting and solution-oriented implementation involves suggesting different processes and concrete improvements for all jobs in order to sell more services and create long-term customer loyalty.

5. Marketing the advantages of an internal service provider

Speed, availability, flexibility, direct approach and knowledge of corporate design (CD) as well as legally compliantprocessing of confidential information are just a few of the advantages of an in-house print shop over external print service providers. Added to this are cost savings, especially for smaller print runs.And the possibility of offering a large number of services from a single source, which in turn minimises expenses because customers do not have to work with different service providers.

These points and the entire service portfolio must be communicated and promoted internally by in-house printers. Inform the respective departments about production possibilities, capacities and new solutions. In doing so, show your individuality and consulting strength and also put your technical creativity in the foreground.

6. Establish webshops and automation

A web shop is essential for attracting new customers and building customer loyalty. This turns the in-house print shop into a real service centre. Such a web-to-printshop also creates the prerequisite for winning external customers, for example smaller companies in the same industry or other municipalities in the public  sector.The key is to eliminate IT obstacles in advance.

7.  The right IT concepts

When integrating a webshop and in many other automation projects, the right IT concepts are crucial. Otherwise, webshops will not go live for security reasons and crucial projects will get stuck in the trial phase because they fail due to IT restrictions. Early coordination with the IT department or in-house IT management are therefore business-critical for future-proof in-house printers.

8. Keep an ear to the market: be open and proactive for new concepts such as cloud printing

Keep a constant eye on market trends. What is the latest? Where can your in-house print shop play? One successful in-house printer, for example, has built up its own cloud solution, including very high security standards. This has won them many internal customers and increased their order volume enormously. Such a solution also opens up opportunities to acquire external customers.

Conclusion: The future viability of in-house printers depends on their ability to maintain or increase their value by meeting the quality and service requirements of their internal customers.

Konica Minolta advises in-house printers of all sizes and shows them ways to achieve individual success. We support you in becoming a thought leader. Together with managers, we increase the value of CRDs by meeting and exceeding the quality and service requirements of their customers. Improve your print services and efficiency with Konica Minolta.

Read more about this topic in our blog article "How to diversify in print shops - 7 tips for more success and growth".