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DPI President Susan Moore defines her business with E-commerce

Published on May 24, 2012

Susan Moore, President of DPI in Atlanta, GA talks with Cary Sherburne about transforming her business using E-commerce. Focusing on front-ends and workflows has enabled DPI to differentiate itself.

Cary Sherburne:  Hi.  I’m Cary Sherburne, Senior Editor at WhatTheyThink.com and I'm here with Susan Moore from DPI in Atlanta. 

Susan Moore:  Hi, Cary.  How are you?

Cary Sherburne:  I’m doing great, and you?

Susan Moore:  I’m doing great.  Thank you.

Cary Sherburne:  Yeah.  So DPI has—well, you were a very early adopter of digital printing and your business has evolved quite significantly.  The last time we talked you had told me that you really were defining your business in terms of e?commerce, basically.  Can you talk about that a little bit?

Susan Moore:  Yeah, absolutely.  I mean in our business we’re a B-to-B thing, that’s what we are.  So we just spent a lot of time in the last few years looking at the front end of our business and how we can bring value and streaming workflows for our clients, and that’s really worked well for us.  Obviously, the end product has to be a great product and we have to be able to deliver a various amount of products, everything from, you know, a floor decal to a standard marketing brochure.  But the delivery is what’s special about us, and being able to sit down with the marketer and look at their current workflow and how they deploy materials; and then completely come back and show them how their workflow could be, how they could reduce their touch points, and how they could get it to market in half the time is really where our secret sauce is. 

And so that’s where we’ve put a lot of our energy and our investment.  But I’ve got to say that, you know, transforming our business is really a credit to our employees.  It’s not easy for a company to be changing constantly and putting in new technologies and trying new things.  It can wear on your employees.  I have to really give credit a lot to a great team that we have back at DPI.  They tolerate our constant—you know, Bob is constantly pushing to do better and to think outside the box, and thinking outside the box can be a real challenge if you want to do it all the time.

Cary Sherburne:  Right, exactly.  You know, I remember at one point, this really stuck in my mind, when you said you had done an analysis of what it took manpower-wise to get a job from in-order stage to out the door and then you reduced that.  Maybe you could talk about that a little bit.

Susan Moore:  Yeah.  When we sit down with a client we actually talk about not just the actual job itself, but we start from the concept phase, so what are you doing at the concept phase of the job.  And then how many touch points are there by the time you get the product in the hands of who is supposed to communicate it, whether it be a physical tangible product, or whether it’s an electronic communication, or an electronic relationship.  So we do that and when we do that with a client it’s very interesting, we end up with a chart that has all kinds of directions and 50 different points and, you know…

Cary Sherburne:  That’s the current process, yeah.

Susan Moore:  And 20 different people touching the current process.  And then we come back and we usually trim that back by at least 50 percent; show them efficiencies, cut days out of the process from the concept, and yet without sacrificing the quality of what the designers want to do and the delivery.  But it takes a good relationship to be able to do that.  It also takes meeting with the right people in a company to do that.  So it’s just something we’ve really worked very hard on to perfect over time and that’s really where we have done our focus.

Cary Sherburne:  And because of all the automation that you’ve introduced into your process, what’s the—how many, you know, like maximum during peak periods or whatever, what’s the maximum number of jobs you handle a day?

Susan Moore:  Well, we’re pushing, you know, on average we’re pushing out about 1500 jobs a day.  But in our peak time we can go 3-5000 jobs in a day.

Cary Sherburne:  And what would be an average order size?

Susan Moore:  Wow.  They range from $5.20 to, you know, $7 or $800; or in some cases, $7 or $8000, depending on how many items are in their cart, and that’s the beauty of it.  I mean, Bob’s favorite thing to do before he goes to bed at night is pull out his little Droid and look at our dashboard and see how many orders are coming in.  And, you know, I’m like turn it off, you can rest for a night.  But yeah, it’s really a lot of fun to do it that way.

Cary Sherburne:  That’s great.  And so even those $5.20 orders are profitable for you?

Susan Moore:  Absolutely.  And it’s all because of the great partners that are in this industry also innovating.  You know, we’ve had to over the years really develop relationships with partners and say this is what we need, this is where we’re going; can you help us with it.  And that’s been really great to be able to get to that point.  And I really have to credit Bob, my husband, for that because he’s really the visionary on automation.  You know, I work more on the client side so, you know, I say this is the challenge; how can we get it from here to here, and then they go off and…

Cary Sherburne:  And he has to work to get it done, yeah.

Susan Moore:  So it makes for a good relationship.

Cary Sherburne:  That’s terrific.  What a great success story.

Susan Moore:  Thank you.

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