HIRE a TALENTED Wide-Format Production Manager! “Hello – what are you waiting for?”

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By Debbie Nicholson, Think-to-INK!

Personal Note:

man looking at wide formatWhen visiting with “new” or potential clients the first item on my list is to meet the entire “wide-format” production staff (one-on-one).  This department is the heartbeat for your clients. 

Truth:  My most successful customers (sales/profit) saw the need to hire a TALENTED Production Manager for Wide-Format.   Customers who have not made that change/decision are struggling from the inside-out – it is detrimental to the success of the department and the entire company to have the correct person “in-charge.”

  • Let’s define Talented:  Having a natural aptitude or skill for something.
  • Similar:  Gifted   Skillful   Skilled   Accomplished   Brilliant   Expert

Hey, I am not saying it is EASY to find the “right” person for the Production Manager position – but ignoring a replacement or change in employee duties destroys your company in ways you can’t even realize or measure.  This might be a stretch but placing employees in positions they are not skilled in (without continual education) undermines their success as well.

I have stated several times in my articles that there is nothing easy about Wide-Format Printing – so why make it harder by not employing the talented people in the obvious important positions. 

Management puzzleTalented Production Manager (Short Job Description):  Wide-Format (no specific order)

  • Understands and can operate all equipment
  • Understands the true capabilities of the production team
  • Demands cross-training for the entire staff with proven skills and continual education
  • Is well versed in production-flow and teaches the team better processes and procedures (daily)
  • Shares a wealth of knowledge, continually, so the team works as one unit
  • Conducts a 15-20-minute production meeting every morning to discuss projects and installations
  • Approves all ordering of materials for working projects as well as staple inventory
  • Meets with vendors quarterly to secure the best prices and discuss timeline expectations
  • Occasionally, will meet with clients side-by-side sales to educate and discuss complicated projects
  • Hires and is responsible for all installers and installations (tracking system should be used)
  • Conducts POST project meetings with the entire staff for better understanding and leaner manufacturing.  What could we have done differently?  How could we have saved time/money?
  • Most importantly, establishes timeline(s) for ALL production in the department.
  • MUST understand all printing processes, lamination, finishing techniques, hardware, uses, and installation
  • Attends Trade Shows to learn about new equipment and flexible/rigid substrates & hardware
  • Monthly or Quarterly Meeting(s) should include all sales/customer service to show new products and processes learned in previous months
  • Full of tips and tricks in the Wide-Format Industry – saving money and time is key

In Closing,

I can’t stress how important the position of a (TALENTED) Wide-Format Production Manager is to the success of your organization.  Spend the money it takes to hire the right person that can take you to the next million-dollar level in sales…you will be glad you did!

Remember – my clients who have top-notch Wide-Format Production Managers are doing well and increasing sales like crazy! 



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