IT Gurus — Tech Trek: Search for Stars
Al Kennickell, center, connects with his IT staff.
David Torok, left, works with his IT team.
"We sell the PURL sites, VDP, etc., and we get in the door--and get the work. Most of our business today and much of it tomorrow will involve programming," he adds.
Kennickell plans to add more programmers in the future, and since he's already got an IT department, his IT crew will help pick them.
David Torok, president of Padgett Printing, is adamant that having extensive IT capabilities is a competitive advantage for his Dallas-based operation. "Every time you touch data (a product), it costs money, about 4.5 cents for each touch. Adding ancillary services, like IT and electronic applications, you don't have to touch the data, and you save the customer money.
"As we add more of these services and tie them in with customers' enterprise systems, we're becoming more valuable--irreplaceable--to them," Torok emphasizes. "We do so much for them; it's harder for them to leave us."
When Padgett first implemented IT in 1991, it was an internal venture, and the printer's first programmer came onboard to set up an IT management system. Padgett got into digital printing in 1998, and its goal was to concentrate on variable data applications. In 2001, the printer started offering mailing services and hired a full-time database manager. In March 2007, a chief information officer position was created.
In 2007, Padgett also implemented Web-to-print capabilities, which Torok calls "ePadgett," a Web portal that allows customers to not only order printed products online, but create their own e-storefront.
Earlier this year, Torok appointed a full-time e-storefront manager. "The e-storefront manager was a prepress operator with a design background who had very good computer skills," he says, adding, "Someone with preflight skills should be able to transition into IT well. It's harder to train a computer person about printing than it is to train a printing person about computer or IT skills."