Printing Process Harmonization

Akin, sit let me tell you a real life story;

One day I looked out of my bathroom window and a bird had started preparing a nest, although the bird was nowhere to be found I went ahead to dismantle the nest. A few days later I found another nest with an egg neatly laid. Of course I got someone to pack the nest and egg and cleaned off my window.

What do you think Akin? I stood still racking my brain on what point my billionaire mentor was trying to make this time…

He cuts into my thoughts, the bird is actually doing a good thing, trying to breed, trying to multiply but guy! Not on my window… The bird just engaged a very negative discretion.

Akin, which alcohol company will by discretion use a drunk person for their advert? I hope by this you understand what I mean by “negative discretion”? It’s time to embrace the concept of discretionary leadership but I will leave that for another day as we need to paint a picture of the new realities in order to use the right discretion.

Every one managing a print house need to constantly build a nest to birth new strategies, and at the same time engage a large network of stakeholders, that bird didn’t realize that I am an important stakeholder in its birthing process and just started doing what it’s grandmother’s did, using physical strength only, go get the grass and start laying it out, but where are you supposed to lay it? This bird isn’t aware that things have changed!

Suppliers of print consumables are also a major stakeholder. In their own case; Value Added Tax is no longer 5%, it is now 7.5%, and this will amount to an increase in price of raw materials like paper and inks.

Importation requires Foreign exchange, in this present day the official channels are increasingly difficult to access, and if you would, the uncertainty surrounding when it will be your turn on the queue of allocation from the Central Bank will never go well with suppliers. Naturally, business people will look for alternatives and this alternatives are usually much more expensive. To be honest apart from the high cost of funds the uncertainty in the economic terrain of the world at the moment is unbelievable. Carrying this major stakeholder along has become a nightmare.

Since the pandemic, a lot of restrictions have forced air and sea freighter to work with limited resources, the law of demand and supply will naturally increase cost of transporting goods.

If all isn’t well with the policy maker, all cannot be well with importer of goods and consumables, this condition will in turn affect the printer and subsequent their own customers.

It will be increasingly difficult for print houses who will refuse to embrace creativity and innovation because it seems the pandemic has force world businesses to evolve again and printing isn’t left out. This brings us to the concept of process harmonization – “the activity of designing and implementing business process standards across different units, so as to facilitate achieving the targeted business benefits arising out of standardization, whilst ensuring a harmonious acceptance of the new processes by the different stakeholders”

Let me try and keep this simple but please take the below tips as standard because some experts need to look at each printshop to come out with a bespoke process. For the sake of this write up below are some standard hints:

1. Keep your process simple, stakeholders are not in the best of state of mind so any complex process will not be acceptable to them.

2. Think win-win, we are all in this together so if prices of raw materials for example has gone up by 20%, what luxury can we cut in our process to help reduce the increase to say only 9% to the next in line stakeholder?

3. Renegotiating contracts, terms or conditions with stakeholders. In doing this parties must think win-win, because one must be allowed to survive for the benefit of the other

4. Keep communication clear and build a means of communication that will carry concerned parties along

5. Even amongst competitors there is a need to work out collaboration. For instance a traditional label printer must look for a digital colleague to partner for samples and small volumes. With this no business will be lost even if margin will be shared

6. The banks are major stakeholders, the value chain must come together to propose solutions to their present problems to the banks, for instance I find it funny that the banks can’t use the history of the customer’s account to figure out which supplier for instance has the company been doing business with in the past, past history should help make due process time frame shorter. This also means the various associations in the print value chain must embrace harmonization.

7. This is just to mention a few

The printing world is part of the world order, and as a matter of fact extremely important to its existence, our new challenge is to harmonize with the order, just like good music teaches us to work together, its indeed teaching us how to harmonize.

Think about it.

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