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Mandy Baker of WorkflowOne on the analog to digital industry transformation

Published on October 4, 2012

Mandy Baker, Director of Customer Solutions & Automation at WorkflowOne talks to Cary Sherburne about the analog to digital transformation in the industry and what she sees from her perspective.

Cary Sherburne: Hi. I’m Cary Sherburne, Senior Editor at WhatTheyThink.com and I'm here with Mandy Baker who is the Director of Customer Solutions & Automation at WorkflowOne. What an exciting title.

Mandy Baker: Thank you, Cary. It is very exciting.

Cary Sherburne: Yeah. So why don’t you start by telling our viewers a little bit about WorkflowOne, you know, number of employees, number of plants, revenues, those kinds of things.

Mandy Baker: Well, WorkflowOne, we’re a supply chain management company. We do fulfillment, distribution, and also printing. We have approximately 20 distribution facilities, 14 print facilities, around 2000 employees, and we’re a half a billion dollar company.

Cary Sherburne: Wow, that’s great. And so in your role, particularly the automation part with Customer Solutions & Automation, you know, what are you seeing in terms of the transition that’s going on in the industry and in your company from analog to digital?

Mandy Baker: My title as to customer solutions and workflow automation—so on the customer solutions side, what we’re seeing is customers are asking us, obviously, for more automation. They’re asking us for quick returns, more complexity in the type of work that they want done, and the automation for it to support those quicker. And so from a digital perspective, that’s how we’re meeting that. So we’re converting the majority of our analog work. Analog right now is more of a commoditized industry and our digital area is more service-oriented. So we’re providing those value-added services, not necessarily just the printed piece.

Cary Sherburne: And so when you do that you start getting the shorter runs, more jobs, lower cost per job, all those things, so you’ve got to take out touches and you have to coordinate between all those plants.

Mandy Baker: That’s the complexity.

Cary Sherburne: So what are some of the tools that you’re using that help you to do that?

Mandy Baker: We use EFI Monarch. We’ve been implemented with them for about six years with their Foundation module, and we’re now in the process of implementing Digital StoreFront, Planner, and Printflow. The Planner piece will be key in the automated routing and distributing of print, because we have so many facilities and our customers are wanting to save all that they can, so freight cost is very expensive for them. So with Planner we can implement and distribute a print model based on the ship-to location of that customer or distribute to the correct facility that can print that piece.

Cary Sherburne: That’s terrific. And then the other advantage is being able to get real-time business data from all those plants.

Mandy Baker: Definitely, yes.

Cary Sherburne: Yeah, yeah. And has it—how has it been from an employee perspective as you try to make this transition? Have you had to look for new skill sets? Do you train people internally? How do you handle that?

Mandy Baker: It is a shift going from analog to digital. Definitely a different skill set from a customer service representative all the way down to a production press operator. And we try to train within, obviously, but it is difficult to find that culture willing to change in our culture today. So we typically have to go outside to find our skill set.

Cary Sherburne: You know, and a lot of companies, especially companies coming from the kind of background that WorkflowOne comes from, sales is a big issue, transition of the sales people, so do you find that?

Mandy Baker: We did in previous years. We’ve definitely seen an uptick in sales. I believe they’re starting to get it. They’re starting to understand and they’re getting onboard.

Cary Sherburne: Well, that’s great. So they’re excited about it?

Mandy Baker: Yes. We finally have excitement again in our sales force, and I think throughout the industry we’re seeing that as a trend.

Cary Sherburne: That’s terrific. Thank you.

Mandy Baker: Thank you very much.

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