By Josh Hagee, Print and Logistics Manager, OMG, LLC
Companies that operate with in-house print centers often have a complex organizational structure heavily focused on basic survival. In this tech-driven digital age, leaders should strive to move past bureaucratic elements that hold back their growth. A lack of distinction between business needs and wants as well as undefined goals or visions makes it even more difficult to earn high-profit margins.
“A profit center is a branch or division of a company that directly adds or is expected to add to the entire organization’s bottom line. It is a separate, standalone business, responsible for generating its revenues and earnings.”
Typically, print centers function around basic performance goals that create financial hardships and push away profitable decisions. Rather than defend the traditional status quo, the right course of action for a print center is to seek out new opportunities for strategic development.. At its core, a profit center improves the motivation of workers and makes organizations accountable based on incurred profits and losses. This, in turn, propels organizations to follow logical and calculated decision-making across all administrative levels and departments.
In 2022, many companies are still reluctant to roll out progressive initiatives to drive higher profits and increase functionality. Despite the size and scope of the print center, there are many common themes that propel them to become a profit center. Prioritizing transparency and partnership with each department within their organization will allow them to better meet specific needs and keep business in house.
The key will be to prove the value that your print center can provide along with the cost savings. Keeping that in mind, the following are some tips and guidelines that can help you transform your print center into a profit center in no time:
What Does It Take to Turn Print Center into a Profit Center?
Establish Clear Benchmarks
As a print center, to provide services at market competitive prices, it is important to be practical about your inventory and volume that customers can afford. The use of current industry data will establish more thorough and clear benchmarks for inventory turns, associated service levels, and overall expenses.
Industry data can be collected through quotes from vendors dedicated to network functions like warehousing, packaging, and truckload shipments. Also, it is collected from companies that have similar operations. It is also created by consultants with concealed corporate identities.
Contract External Vendors
It is ideal for a print center to provide its own dedicated logistics services to customers. On average, you will start to see more profits within a year. When it comes to logistics services, you can contact the space for transport and warehousing. On top of creating a solid logistics network, make sure to account for employee variables such as relocation or work force transitions.
It is important that employees work in the best fit positions. From transportation brokerage to inventory management and distribution personnel, understanding the skills of each employee and how they can provide the best value to your print center is essential. Provide your workforce with the resources they need to succeed, by giving them shared purposes, goals, and responsibilities.
Negotiate Different Service Levels
Print centers don’t have to exist just to service internal organizational divisions. In fact, one of the priorities of print centers should be to negotiate realistic service levels they are willing to provide to all their customers. Once you pair specific printing service levels with logistics, you will attain and retain more customers for years to come. This combined approach will also help you understand the changing printing needs of your customers.
Continue to Prove Your Market Value
Oftentimes, print centers barely break even without a solid plan in place to increase quarterly or annual profit margins. In the quest to boost profitability, the trick is to consistently prove the value of your printing services to customers, both internal and external. One of your objectives should be to streamline and automate as many operational activities as possible.
Periodically, seek out the expertise of consulting firms to gain a better perspective of your entity. Generate and review accounting reports on a monthly basis and take a look at the printing services that are high in demand. Monitor services that are continually sent to outside vendors. You can work cost effectively by deploying better solutions in-house. Ideally, print centers need to operate in a structured environment and have proper policies and rules in place to become a profit center. The policies you enforce should complement every department and optimize printing processes.
Procure the Best Printing Services
Right from the start, you should get familiar with outside printing needs and “how” you can render the highest-quality print services. One of the best approaches to attain and retain quality standards is to personalize your printing procurement services for all customers.
In retrospect, you must strengthen your internal support system as well as provide internal organizational support. Once your print center becomes stronger from within – you will be able to stand your ground in the market and gain higher profits margins.
The approach of the print center should be customer-driven, which is the best way to build long-term customer relationships and gain a competitive edge in the market. With each customer, you will experience a new wave of print service requirements, but your focus should be to see customer service needs through the lens of rewards that would outweigh in terms of costs.
Typically, most print centers are too concerned about their survival to adapt a profit and growth-driven strategy. The truth is that in order to break conventional barriers, print centers have to think beyond just breaking even.
Instead, adopt an independent and innovative approach and compete against the best print service providers. It is the best way to shed the status quo and strengthen your relationships with customers. Be proactive by consistently proving your abilities to new and old customers.
In the end, by repurposing your corporate culture and improving customer relationships your print center will no longer be just surviving, it will foster more innovation, boost performance, earn more profits, and drive more growth.