It’s that time of year again. The New Year brings with it an opportunity for a “fresh start” to set your focus on moving your business forward to where you want it to be in 2018. Last year, our IT Blog focused on good habits to improve the productivity and reliability of your printing processes. Those are all still valid things to check and do. But this year, I wanted to focus on aligning your employees and processes – not only with your vision and strategies, but also with the changes in today’s technologies and marketplace. Below, I outline 3 goals to focus on in 2018:

1) Driving Your Business Forward

Every business wants to do things faster, at a lower cost, and with better customer satisfaction. But just doing things the same old way isn’t going to cut it in today’s digital world. You need to apply a digital approach to everything you do.  Using new technologies and processes to solve old problems shifts the emphasis from short-term survival to long-term sustainability.  The Cloud, IoT, Big Data, etc., aren’t just passing fads; they are part of your path to digital change – just as virtualization, mobility and eCommerce are. You need to embrace these new things and plan for them. Involving all of your employees in this change is key. Our new Heidelberg Assistant (link to HD Asst article) is one way to help you face the challenges that lie ahead in 2018 with Performance Services, Predictive Monitoring, Lifecycle Management, etc.

2) Business Continuity in Case of a Disaster

This past year has been a particularly bad year for disasters: from the devastating hurricanes in the coastal regions to the fires across California. From a business perspective, the emphasis has moved away from just having good data backup to how do you keep your business running and generating revenue if a disaster happens?

Set aside time when you are not facing a disaster to see how your plant reacts to an unexpected disruption.  You want this to be a proactive process not a reactive one. In addition to the usual suspects (off-site backups, systemstate backups, and building redundancy into mission-critical systems), there are questions you should address:

  • Do you have a good understanding of the critical processes that are essential for maintaining your production?
  • Do you have a good understanding of the risks most likely to disrupt your production?
  • Are you taking advantage of the automation in today’s workflow systems like Heidelberg’s Prinect Workflow to minimize or eliminate touchpoints in the process and improve efficiency?
  • Are you taking advantage of things like the Prinect Maintenance Center, which saves time and cost by resolving issues before they impact production?
  • Do you have capabilities for employees and management to access your systems through VPN if they can’t get into the plant?
  • Do you have secure access such as the Prinect Portal for your customers to submit jobs or get status updates when they cannot use more traditional methods?
  • Do you have provisions for the employees, who may not be able to leave work; i.e., food and water, rest, as well as outside communication?
  • Do your employees know how to restore data and systems, and do they know how to manually override or bypass aspects of the production?
  • Have you looked into Business Interruption Insurance if you are located in a high risk area?

This may sound like a lot, but understanding these questions when there is not a disaster will ensure your business will be ready should one occur.

Invest in Software, Hardware, IT and Training

Upgrading your software and/or hardware can be very stressful. The constant deadlines and competition make it easy to say, “Let’s do it later when we have time.” SPOILER ALERT: There is never a good time. In some cases, there are costs associated that have to be considered, but the worst time to upgrade anything is when you absolutely have to. Adding/replacing storage should not be held off until you run completely out of space. Waiting until you’re forced to make upgrades will lead to costly downtime.

There are factors that warrant planning for that change. As time goes on, your database will grow and, at some point in time, you will need to migrate to accommodate that growth. With technology rapidly advancing, it may be prudent to revisit your Print Shop’s specific needs to ensure that you’re selecting the best and most up-to-date products to ensure you’re delivering the type of service that your customers desire.

Here’s to a very profitable New Year!    

Eugene O’Brien
Senior Technical Support Analyst