It’s All In The Equipment! Right?

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By Debbie Nicholson, Think-to-INK!

Wide Format PrinterCongratulations!  You purchased the most expensive, newest print-and-cut technology known to PSPs.  And, if that wasn’t enough, you removed the wool from over your eyes and invested in automating print production workflows!  YAY!

However, don’t expect customers to be overly impressed with the investment(s) you made for your future.  Yes, they are completely transfixed and mesmerized to watch printing and cutting equipment run to the finish line. However, customers don’t care how new, big, or fast your equipment operates. The bottom line is that customers want their projects on budget and on time!

True enough – being the experts, we are responsible for obtaining the essential equipment needed to produce our customer’s projects! 

Recently, I surveyed customers who toured their PSPs facility.

The Tour Begins:  This story is from the customer’s perspective.

The company grounds were beautifully landscaped with excellent curb appeal – very inviting.

Upon entering the building, the welcoming committee extended introductions with employee titles and a short overview of their positions.

As an incredible gesture, our company logo and individual names were highlighted in a well-designed backlit printed frame (impressive).

Shortly after that, we were escorted to a large conference room that was simply beautiful.  The walls exhibited project samples, and metal cards were placed below to identify the materials used and the finishing elements explained.  I felt like I was at a gallery opening without the champagne.  Well done!

After we had a well-balanced snack, we went to the customer service and sales department.  It was nice to “finally” meet support staff I speak with frequently, whom I had never met in person.

Next up…we were off to the production area -- and upon first glance, you realize the facility is much larger than you thought when pulling into the parking lot.  And then, the smell of ink and the humming of the equipment awakened your senses to what you were about to experience.  You just knew it was going to be great!

You are invitedThe tour guide (Operations Manager) did a spectacular job detailing the purpose of the equipment while highlighting a working tour with one of our previously completed projects.  Watching your project move from equipment to equipment and landing in the fulfillment and shipping department was mesmerizing and exciting.  It gave me a look into the technology and staff required to complete one of our projects. Also, I was impressed that the production employees took the time to introduce themselves and talk briefly about previous projects they had worked on for us.  They were genuinely excited we were there.

Oh, did I mention that you could literally eat off the floors?

When the tour was over, we hurried back to the same conference room for a follow-up and review of what we had experienced.  We entered the conference room, and it was decorated with beautiful gift bags containing Promotional Items with our logo inscribed.  Also included in the gift bag was a mini brochure that introduced us to their web-store for future purchases -- we had no clue they sold promotional items.  That checked a box for me.

The wrap-up was very strategic, with questions and answers related to how they could be a better supplier for us.  They apologized for the non-recognition of team members who took part in our success and promised they would do better in the future.

One question that surprised me most was, “how could we help you be a better vendor for your customer(s).”  No printer had ever asked me that question. Frankly, I didn’t know how to answer at that time.  So, we decided we should have another meet-up in the coming weeks.

Side-Note:  A few days after our visit, we received a request for a Post Tour Survey.  The questions were very organized and designed to strengthen their position as a preferred vendor supplier for us.

Behind the Scenes:  Touring our printer’s facility and meeting the employees built an emotional connection for doing current and future business together.  When we met the complete team and saw how our projects were produced, it removed the transactional-based business model and claimed it as a collaborative vendor partnership.

The tour was worth our time; what a shame that it took so long to be invited!!!



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