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Print Business Front Office Modernization: Part 1—Guiding Principles

This article, the first of a five-part series on the modernization of your print business front office, starts with some guiding principles and then discuss the various “objects” that are managed by the carpeted area of your plant.


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About Jennifer Matt

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.


By Wayne Lynn on Feb 24, 2021

Jenn, it's about time somebody wrote this and who better than you!


By Jennifer Matt on Feb 24, 2021

Thanks Wayne, I resisted writing the article b/c I errantly thought I had ot fit it all in one week. After completing the outline I realized i had to split it into 5 parts and make it a series in order to give it the attention it deserves.


By Jim Rosenthal on Feb 27, 2021

Once again, you nailed it. You put it in simple straight forward terms that companies need to understand, particularly those who are in the fight of their lives for growth, if not just survival. To quote someone we both appreciated - "If you are not doing this, you are dead" You did however age me - I'm old enough to remember arpanet. Can't believe the internet is 30 years old.


By Jennifer Matt on Mar 01, 2021


It all seems straightforward and generally it makes sense. I find the challenge for most print companies is to make strategic things a priority. Print manufacturing can hand you a bucket of "emergencies" every day (especially if you're running processes mainly with human brains). When you get processes out of human brains and into documented processes that everyone can follow without a lot of daily intervention, then space opens up to increase your capacity to focus on the strategic.

When an issue arises you don't fix it without taking the time to get to the root cause (so you can prevent it from happening again). This is tedious and hard but it is required to escape the daily emergency / non strategic plant.

A modernization of the front office will deliver jobs from initial inquiry to the press A LOT faster - that changes everything (including your cash flow).


By Catherine McGavin on Mar 03, 2021

Well said: 'Print manufacturing can hand you a bucket of "emergencies" every day...' As it becomes a habit, and we get really good at responding to the stuff in that bucket, we reach the point where we can't maintain focus without the stimulus of an emergency. The habit fuels itself, as every project will reach the bucket sooner or later.

Except that our customers want safety, not crisis. Our bottom lines do too.

Your 4 Guiding Principles are where our transformation to fire prevention mode starts - with a reliable system to drive information. Looking forward to the rest of the series.


By Wayne Lynn on Mar 04, 2021

Jenn, another great article! You wrote about both prospects and customers in this article. You've written a lot recently about web portals and making it easy for the customer to do business with you. I have a question for you. 1) What are your thoughts on tracking visits to the web site by prospects looking to qualify you? They, as you know, do that. When that small window of time opens and a prospect is actively looking and you see them poking around your web site you might have 6-8 weeks to get a phone call returned or even get a meeting. Once that window closes again it might be 5 or 6 years before it opens again. If we're looking to find prospect activity that can be measured this may be one of the 2-3 most important opportunities. Your thoughts?



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