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Move Over, Elvis --Dickeson

October 2005
Nashville, TN, is the home base of country music. But it's also the home of some advanced, solid thinking about pricing the printed product and running commercial printing companies. I discovered this about Nashville, much to my surprise, in the past month. Mention Nashville to me and my thoughts used to turn to Elvis, Garth and Dolly, not to printing management. No longer.

My first awakening was from a book called System Buster by Philip Beyer about systems developed at his company called Beyer Printing ( My second Nashville insight came from a 30-page article titled "Throw Away BHRs: Win the Pricing Game" published by G. David Dodd from And yet, these two Nashville-based principles had not, so far as I know, spoken to each other. "Philip meet David, via Printing impressions, for a Starbucks frappe."

After reading the Buster book and an e-mail interchange I agreed to a session on WebEx, with Beyer, to test-drive his System 100 in live, actual, operation. For those unfamiliar with WebEx, it's an Internet program where the sender takes over your computer screen to operate his programs on your computer, all the while talking to you on the phone to tell you what's happening. (Where would we be without the Internet?)

First of Its Kind

Never have I seen anything comparable to System 100 for a printing company! Beyer says it was 10 years in development at his company and I can believe it. This is NOT the statistical management system that we're used to seeing. Quick-Books from Intuit provides the General Ledger Accounting system in coordination with System 100. (The 100 stands for 100 percent, says Beyer.) The System is a computerized method for the daily operation of Beyer Printing. Everything, and I do mean every last action in the commercial printing plant, appears to be covered.

There are checklists for such minutiae as turning on the lights in the conference room. Then there are the checklists covering more than 400 points for sales personnel that start the base for the job jacket. I found check-offs for makereadies of equipment, for maintenance, for packing and delivering. You name it and there's a list for it. If it's something that wasn't anticipated, there's a means of adding or editing. This is a checklist system to end all checklist systems.

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