Transforming a Printing Company Via Benchmarking

Could you imagine turning on ESPN and watching a game in which the players and coaches had no idea what the score is? Sounds to me like a chaotic environment that would get out of hand real fast.

Now how about operating a printing company without metrics to measure—on any given day—if it is successful or not?

In the extremely competitive print marketplace, I believe any company looking to be a leader cannot afford to wait till the end of the month to review performances. To ensure 100-precent cost transparency, it is vital to collect accurate production data and times for devices that are not integrated in the workflow.

“Demus”I would like to welcome special guest Oliver Demus to my blog this week. Director of business consulting at Heidelberg USA, Oliver brings expertise in helping printers around the country improve efficiency, reduce costs and maximize profit. We’re here to look at what printers are currently doing to benchmark success, what technologies and methods are available to improve performance and the business transformation that can occur when properly implemented.

Welcome Oliver,

Is there a large trend associated with printers being unable to truly answer on a daily basis whether they’re profitable due to having a lack of accurate metrics in place?

Demus: Many print shops don’t do job costing at all, meaning actual production data is not collected. Therefore, there is no metric in place to judge if a job was profitable or not. In cases where print shops collect data, the metrics are in place and they are fairly accurate.

How often do you find such companies are actually reviewing their data and what are some of the largest issues that arise from operating a business like this?

Demus: Data is very often only reviewed on jobs where the final cost was higher than estimated. This very often can be too late. Data should be reviewed on a daily basis and investigated if actual varies by too much from estimated. This gives the opportunity to eliminate problems for the future.

Nick Gawreluk is product manager of integrated solutions at Mimeo. His passion for print has spanned across the globe to South America and Europe in addition to many unique work experiences inside the United States.

He enjoys sharing his insight and involvement within the industry and is always searching for new experiences. Nick’s goal is to lead his generation into the future of the printing industry.
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  • Vince Mallardi

    Once again, "transformation" metrics, benchmarks and analytics are discussed as a looking-into-the-pressroom process, led in this particular instance by a press manufacturer.

    Real transformation is market, not production, determined. My Hot Markets primary-data forecast of the printing industry is in its 35th edition.PI publishes the summary every January. I have very few printers and no press manufacturers as subscribers. They can’t afford it (bankruptcies and such).

    Rather, my subscribers are mostly investment banks who option-trade, short and advise their clients on exposures and debt risk; all the things that benefit from, and even exploit, the indolence and ignorance of the managements with in our industry. It will never change. Printers investr less in marketing than every other sector of the economy except for sand-and-gravel.

    And it wants to "transform" from within as it plods along without.


  • Angelia Schultz

    Very nice blog post, Nick. I am currently in the throes of job-costing for a strategically growing mid-sized, family-owned printer. I started by looking at the quality of data collected, refining reports and analyzing processes. I’ll be moving to the assumptions that go into estimating, and trimming make-ready and waste any day now. Again, thanks for the post – it’s nice to see how others are doing it in the industry.