Go to Top

Five Ways Variable Data Printing Leaders Think and Act Differently

As I write this, I am preparing for a presentation at Graph Expo entitled, “Variable Data Printing: Best Practices.” The new information we are gathering from interviewing our variable data printing (VDP) leaders will result in three blogs. This is the first of those three.

Over the last year, we’ve published two white papers that are helping us gain a better understanding of digital printing leaders. Last fall we published a study entitled, “Variable Data Printing: Realizing the Potential.” More recently we unveiled our white paper entitled, “Workflow Investments: Where, Why, and How Companies are Investing.”

The first thing you realize when you call people and tell them they are a leader is that they are often surprised because they don’t consider themselves leaders. Instead they talk about all the mistakes they’ve made and how they would have done things differently. That’s also the second thing many talk about—their focus on their mistakes. For example, Ted Strauss from Suttle Straus said during an interview, “We made all the typical, classic mistakes. We bought the hardware and the software first. After we trained our staff we waited and waited and waited. Of course now we would do things differently.”

This leads to a third typical conversation focusing on their current performance and how they can do things better. In many ways, those in the management team have a better grasp on the issues they are facing, the different solutions they can try, the pros and cons of each option, which option they consider the best, and how they are monitoring their results to determine if they have to change that strategy.

One of the attributes of leaders is that they are faster at diagnosing problems and better at overcoming those mistakes. By closely monitoring implementation and sales processes, they identify problems earlier and then dive deeper to identify the root causes.

And last but not least, many talked about how the solutions that they identify to overcome problems is more than just a Band-Aid. Instead of looking for a quick fix, many talk about a more rigorous approach to build more permanent solutions that might include changing the workflow process, changing marketing and sales, and offering additional training to support those changes.

Surprising to some is the realization that leaders face the same challenges and make a lot of the same mistakes as the rest of the industry. The three issues discussed by both leaders and laggards in successfully implementing variable data printing are:

1) sales and marketing

2) getting good data from customers

3) proving the value

Take-Home Story

While it is interesting to learn how leaders think and act differently, a more important question is, “how can this help you?” What can you do to better understand the issues that are hindering your ability to succeed? When you hit a roadblock, how are you going to diagnose the problem and identify the root causes? And can you make a deeper dive into creating solutions for those problems. In the next blog, we will talk about how leaders overcome the challenges.

common denominators of leaders, , leaders performance, leaders vs. laggards, , variable data printing, VDP, VDP leaders

About Howie Fenton

As an NAPL Senior Consultant, Howie works with commercial and in-plant print shops and industry manufacturers. Consulting directly with printing companies, Howie specializes in the areas of operations and digital production, with a focus on workflow, customer service, estimating and prepress performance and benchmarking, as well as budgeted hourly rates. Howie’s experience and expertise positions him to coach companies on their investment priorities such as web to print, pdf workflows, variable data printing and digital equipment. As a follow-up to that, Howie works with companies to streamline their operations and train their staff to sell the value of the digital technologies. As one of the leading in-plant printing experts, Howie performs in-plant audits and customized surveys that benchmark financial performance, analyze workflow issues, and measure productivity, customer satisfaction, and in-plant competitiveness. His evaluations help clients increase efficiency and reduce costs, and his services are used to benchmark financial and operational performance and to demonstrate or improve that performance. A frequent speaker at industry events, he has written five books and two books on digital printing and variable-data printing and is a regular contributor to several industry publications.

One Response to "Five Ways Variable Data Printing Leaders Think and Act Differently"

  • sheela
    October 9, 2014 – 6:27 am Reply

    You provide great ideas for implementing variable data printing. I know VDP has many features like direct mailing, increases the press speeds and decreases the waste of your time.

Leave a Reply

Your email address will not be published. Required fields are marked *

You may use these HTML tags and attributes: <a href="" title=""> <abbr title=""> <acronym title=""> <b> <blockquote cite=""> <cite> <code> <del datetime=""> <em> <i> <q cite=""> <strike> <strong>

Current month ye@r day *

Protected by WP Anti Spam