By Sid Chadwick, Chadwick Consulting
“All that is necessary for the triumph of evil… is for good men to do nothing”………………………...Edmund Burke
Throughout history, new ideas whose time had come, were often… “threats to the status quo”.
Yet…. there are those in our midst, who repeatedly step-out of the shadows, offering suggestions and practical ideas…that serve the common good and our collective future.
Ray Prince, Print Consultant extraordinaire, recently adopted Chowan University’s Kreuger School of Graphic Communications --- a struggling --- but distinctly growing graphic communications school --- training future production managers. (Need any fresh ideas or youth in that area?) From Ray’s ongoing appeals, contributions of a broad and growing stream --- are flowing in, including books, copies of publications, donations, and equipment. Tom Brennan’s the Chair of the Department--- and will have a contingent of students --- at PrintingUnited --- in Dallas. (Note: smart companies are Interviewing, and Recruiting their upcoming graduates….. Their “Advisory Committee”… is active….!)
Newly installed chairman, Dr. George B. Glisan, at the ACCGC (Accrediting Council for Collegiate Graphic Communications) Board Meeting in Chicago, --- brought forward --- the lack of environmental education curriculum --- at almost all --- including --- our country’s premier graphic communications programs. Truly, this is a growing global, cultural, and education issue --- that our industry neglects….to our inevitable peril.
Dr. Jerry J. Waite, Chair of the University of Houston’s Graphic Communications Program, has opened-up, made available --- to other graphic communications schools --- a key 12-Case-Study course --- focused on, “Increasing and new applications for Print --- to solve day-to-day business problems” . My biggest concern is that faculty at (particularly struggling) graphic communications schools --- are avoiding his offer --- fearful of a curriculum that they’re totally unfamiliar with (not technology or software-based), and have no experience teaching. Note: that curriculum is now offered at U. of Houston --- in 5 classes of 32 students each, every 12 months – and most recently --- is being offered “Online”.
A CEO Peer Group Member recently asked at a recent meeting --- how to combat a price dive by RR Donnelly ---at a major customer. Suggestion: “Ask your customer if they are comfortable --- selecting a supplier who has paid dividends out of cash flow --- and lost money --- every year, for most if not all of the last decade?” (Go check their public annual financial reports…!) Mergers and acquisitions --- based primarily on “financial models”, and not customer development models – fail, miserably. (However, that’s not the spin you hear from M & A specialists.)
History shows that all great movements, whose time had come --- challenged the “status quo” --- and created “powerful push-back” --- from institutional leaders, deeply fearful of losing their positions, and influence.
We are an industry, that over the last two decades, has “dumbed-down” ongoing and relentless education --- and development ---of customers, including our front-line Business Development talent, and front-line Production Management talent.
Yet, there are exceptions. At a recent Plant Manager’s Peer Group, one of our member leaders reported that his Plant spoilage was running --- .1% - .13% --- but only because his organization receives relentless ongoing education and training on the issue --- at the front-line level.
That process --- of dumbing-down our understanding of customers’ business challenges --- production improvement issues --- generally does not sell equipment or software.
Sales of equipment and software --- are the result --- of educating and developing customers and production understanding --- of what your company is capable of providing, and solving.
For example, our Introduction to a client of how, and why --- to provide customers with well-prepared: (a) Plant Tours, (b) Plant Tour Surveys, and (c) Press-Check Surveys --- is making a dramatic difference --- in their market differentiation, what their customers recognize in them --- as a supplier --- and their increasing business.
Relentless follow-up and follow-through --- of company and customer opportunities needing attention --- are everyone’s responsibility.
“If you think you can’t afford ongoing education and training (of your personnel and customers), you probably don’t realize you’re already paying for it ( through lost business, errors, and spoilage). You just don’t get to enjoy the benefits.”……Allie Hutchison, Sr., Chairman, Hutchison Allgood Printing Co.