Penn Lithographics--Partnering and Progressing
Plus, JSJ demands the discipline of five-year plans. "Printing is an industry that demands you focus on your niche while keeping up to date on the opportunities and challenges that new technologies bring," Howington states. "Planning with JSJ is a given, not an option. The benefits of that cannot be overlooked."
One of the biggest benefits realized has been the optimization of personnel. Robison explains that the company had more sales reps 10 years ago than it does now, yet volume has steadily increased. To accomplish such efficiency, Penn enhanced the level of internal support for the sales staff by upgrading customer service representatives into project coordinators.
"We did that with training," Robison says. "Project coordinators have more client contact and now work as a true part of the sales team. They watch over work while it's in-house, which enables sales reps to be out where they belong—with the client."
A positive outgrowth of this closer sales rep/client interaction has been the repositioning of the rep as a resource instead of a vendor. "Our people work with the client to create new products and services," Howington maintains.
The development of the Penn-Pak—a press-finished, all-in-one CD holder—is the perfect example of how this process works. Several Penn reps heard clients describe a need to replace loose support materials with a single, unified marketing piece, thereby lowering unit costs by reducing assembly, postage and shipping expenses.
With that in mind, the reps worked with the Penn manufacturing department and created a prototype that was tested extensively. Today, the product is used by many clients, including two of the world's largest high-tech companies.
"With the Penn-Pak and other products we've developed for the finishing line, the reps aren't asking, 'Do you have anything we can bid on?' " notes Howington. "They're providing options to help a client in selling his or her product. They're working smarter."