Things are changing at a breakneck pace when it comes to social media. It seems a plethora of new platforms and new ways to use existing platforms are created every day. It was just one short year ago that we published a whitepaper on how to integrate social media into your marketing plan, and it is already out of date! So we now have a “new and updated” version that I invite you to pursue. If you are wondering if social media is very important to the growth of your business take a look at these statistics:
I am an avid reader—have been since childhood. I am also a technology geek, so when e-readers hit the market I was ecstatic. No more toting heavy tomes on long trips, no fear of running out of something to read, no more books cluttering the nooks and crannies in my house. I was sure my quality of life was going to improve. However, three e-readers, two tablets and four mobile devices later, I still find myself drawn to good old paper—and not just because I earn my living in the printing industry.
An interesting study that came out over the summer indicated that reading retention was significantly lower in those who used e-readers versus printed books. I started thinking about that. I am the type that when I read a book review in a magazine or newspaper, and it sounds like it’s one I might enjoy, I download it right away. Once I read a book on my e-reader, I immediately delete it and send it to the cloud. But more and more frequently, I’ve discovered as I come across a review for a book and I go to download it, I get that message “you previously downloaded this book.” While I appreciate the reminder so I’m not double paying, I tend to feel a bit confused … I’ve already read this book? So I’ll go to the cloud, download it, read a few pages and find I have absolutely no recall.
In creating your company’s value stream, planning, assessing and determining practical and useful benchmarks and goals for improvement is important, but the hardest part is making it all actually work. Your employees may believe “the more things change, the more they stay the same.” A new program or new incentive is posted on a bulletin board, generates some enthusiasm at first, and then months later, it’s all forgotten, lost amidst deadlines, overtime, client meetings, breakdowns, praise and complaints. By failing to follow through, all of your planning may come to represent just another source of wasted time and effort.
Conducting a redesign of your operation requires the active buy-in of all of your employees, and also a firm commitment at the management level. Your employees must participate in developing and sustaining the value stream, but they probably will only take this project as seriously as you do.
Toyota Motor Corp. has given manufacturers in all fields—and all over the world—a model of efficient, value stream production. While producing automobiles is quite a different thing than producing printed materials, much can be learned from Toyota’s philosophy. The Toyota system originally identified seven sources of waste:
Lean Printing means operational efficiency with the goal of identifying and weeding out wasteful processes and resources that do not add value, but rather, reduce a print company’s profits. Operational efficiency also involves implementing new work processes and the latest technologies that improve quality, productivity and environmental sustainability.
Typically, “waste” in a printing company is related to paper and ink – the trim, the roll or skid that might have been spoiled in the warehouse, the printed sheets wasted as the press comes up to color, or wasted as the color or density shifts somewhere in the course of the press run. These are examples of wasted materials, but there may be other kinds of waste in your business that are harder to identify yet may be squandering more of your resources.
Perhaps 200 years from now, historians will be calling the 21st Century the “End of the Age of Gutenberg.” The development of movable type in the 1400s slowly nudged knowledge and information past the gates of shadowy cloisters into the public, commercial realm. With (lots of) time and further innovation, Gutenberg’s vision of standardized and mechanized print reproduction eventually changed the world by expanding almost everyone’s horizon.
Dangerous stuff. With information in the hands of people like Tom Watson, Steve Jobs, and Bill Gates, we now see Gutenberg’s invention as being in the midst of a kind of creative destruction. Print has become only one means of finding out what we want and need to know. Even with the plethora of communication options available today, print can still claim a certain permanence and prestige that many new media lack, not to mention print’s cozy familiarity – the feel of the paper, the smell of the ink.
When an article from the Washington Post came scrolling through my Google Alerts about how reading comprehension has taken a serious hit on our scroll-to-the-next-page digital era, I must admit I was at first surprised by what I was reading. After all, we have so much information at our fingertips, you would think we would adapt to take it all in, but once I noticed I was jumping back and forth from an e-mail chain, I had to chuckle in agreement.
We just finished another Print show. And while our dogs are still barking, and crates are still being unpacked, I sit here with a great sense of satisfaction. Exhibitions and tradeshows are a double-edged sword for many exhibitiors—especially those of us who manufacture large offset equipment. The sheer cost of showing up can be daunting, and in these days of smaller budgets and a shrinking demand for our products, the ROI simply isn’t there. Kudos to team Komori for having the guts to actually bring an offset press to Print 13. Visitors to our booth showed a level of interest and excitement that I haven’t seen at a tradeshow in a long time—and that was invigorating for all of us.
Graph Expo 2012 is just around the corner. And with it comes the crazy, hectic tradeshow frenzy that every exhibitor lives through. The nightmares, the middle of the night “we should do this” brainstorms, coupled with “the no sleep at all” nights worrying about what you’ve forgotten. I’ve been managing tradeshows for more years than I will ever admit. And every year, I complain, rant, carry on and generally drive all my co-workers insane (and for that, I am truly sorry) … but underneath it all, I secretly love it. I love the chaos, the last minute-ness of it all, the excitement. I love the anticipation I always feel on opening day.
We can close the book on drupa 2012—all that’s left is the tearing down and the moving out. The pundits will debate the success, the highs and lows, over the course of the next several weeks and it will be interesting to read their varying perspectives. Yes, attendance was lower than last drupa, but what was apparent to me was the amount of time visitors were willing to invest in conversation—and with over 1800 exhibitors spread over 17 different halls, time was a valuable commodity.