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How to Choose the Leader of Your Print MIS Transition

A Print MIS transition requires an individual inside your organization to convince all aspects of the business to embrace change. The right leader is a critical decision in making a Print MIS transition less painful.

By Jennifer Matt
Published: February 7, 2018

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Jennifer Matt is the managing editor of WhatTheyThink’s Print Software section as well as President of Web2Print Experts, Inc. a technology-independent print software consulting firm helping printers with web-to-print and print MIS solutions. You can reach her at jen@whattheythink.com.

 

Discussion

By Jeff White on Feb 07, 2018

You nailed it Jennifer. Most projects suffer when the wrong leadership is chosen on the printers side. Your comments about not having a Technical person run the project is right on the mark. You need someone that understands change and more importantly understands the manufacturing operations that are going on in the plant.

 

By Gina Danner on Feb 07, 2018

Good article. Besides understanding the plant operations the MIS Leader must also understand the customer service and sales aspects of the operation. Too often plant focused individuals front load work on CSR and Sales which will prevent adoption and result in stagnation for full implementation.

While operational savings is easy to identify, not paying attention to service and sales interaction can cost you even more.

 

By Chuck Werninger on Feb 07, 2018

Another excellent article, Jennifer. I'm following this thread very closely right now and really appreciate your sage advice!

 

By carol andersen on Feb 07, 2018

You are "spot on" Jennifer! We've been providing print MIS for close to 30 years now and the number of times we see implementation problems arise because of the issues you cite is way more often than we would like. And the problems usually stem from internal issues when the printing company has either designated the wrong leader or senior management doesn't "own" the implementation. Implementing a new MIS is difficult, challenging and time consuming and with the wrong person at the implementation helm, all of that is exacerbated. We try very hard to make new clients understand what needs to happen and in most cases the advice is accepted but in some cases it falls on deaf ears because there is no champion to make sure things move along as they should.

 

By Susan Moore on Feb 07, 2018

Excellent advice! Once comment, the good sales people will tell their prospect how difficult this will be, outline the type of resources it will take for a successful implementation and help them prepare for that ride. That is not an easy conversation, but a necessary one. Thank you!

 

By Jennifer Matt on Feb 07, 2018

I feel like this article is part informative and part group therapy. I would LOVE to play a small part in preventing Print MIS implementation disasters because they are 100% bad for our entire industry.

All printers need to become data-driven organizations. We have good software to make that happen. All parties in the equation need to "get real." Every print business needs a good MIS (there's no getting around that). Please do not sugar coat the effort. It will be hard but it is WORTH IT.

When I see printers on the other side of this transition, it is a thing of magic. They "know" their business better. They make better decisions because they have easy access to data/facts/about their business.

Thanks for the positive feedback and more importantly thanks for adding to the discussion. My article is merely the opening, there is so much more to talk through.

 

By Jane Mugford on Feb 07, 2018

This article could not be more accurate - you nailed it Jen. Print MIS transitions are the hardest implementation an organization will face, but they are often so under resourced from a business leadership/project management perspective. I would argue that strategy, change management, vision and the ability to steer the organization through the complexity of the implementation are the critical success factors. I've seen brilliant technology crumble without that. I've also seen amazing implementations because the vision of the person in charge, their positive and committed approach to it and their ability to guide the organization through a difficult change guaranteed success.

 

By Marriott Winchester on Feb 07, 2018

Jennifer, very good article. Technology solutions from a robust MIS, that easily integrates with your customers systems, automating and streamlining order entry, with a focus on reducing wasteful administration time for CSRs chasing specifications and graphics, is an imperative component. If successful at gaining clean specifications we can than leverage our production automation tools. Selecting a project leader/owner who knows the workflows and partners with sales leadership to create and support the changes that must happen at the customer side will ultimately drive success. You are correct while there are many good software systems available choosing the internal owner who can win the hearts and minds is the most important decision you will make.

 

By Robert Godwin on Feb 08, 2018

Jen,
As usual, you have reflected the reality of change in a live' system. Change being the key word. The only surprise is that Six Sigma practice is not suggested as a reasonable methodology to achieve a successful implementation. Not only does it drive to a defined result, but it also leaves a legacy of process management and continuous improvement. Sure, most will see this as an optional expense, but the visionaries will recognize the dividends it pays in the long run.

 

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