While there are a lot of obvious benefits to your Print MIS, there are some less obvious ones. Seeing it is the season of sun and fun, I thought I would focus this blog post on the fun side of the Print MIS. That’s right, I said fun. I know, I know, you are rolling your eyes at that thought, but hear me out.
In most organizations, while the leadership sees the Print MIS as a powerful tool to provide critical data, the production and sales staff can see the Print MIS as annoying, frustrating and a tool that the owners are using to try and reduce head count. Salespeople generally don’t like anything that makes them have to follow a process (shocking I know) and production people don’t like anything that makes them feel like they are having their productivity monitored. These general (and somewhat natural) concerns are likely to compromise the data that is in, or more likely not in, the Print MIS. The data that you rely on from the Print MIS will only be useful and reliable if it is complete and accurate. So, how do you encourage your team to participate completely and consistently in the Print MIS?
Encouraging the sales team
Salespeople are generally not interested in too much to do with the Print MIS. However, they often don’t realize how valuable and critical their input and participation is. Here are a couple of ideas to motivate them:
1. If you have a CRM component, run an end of summer competition. Maybe something along the lines of the person with the most opportunities logged by the end of the summer will get a $50 Visa card and the person with the most converted opportunities will get a $250 Visa card. It doesn’t have to cost you a lot but it can get your team in to the habit of logging and monitoring opportunities and activities, which gives you a better handle on the sales team and the critical pipeline to your business
2. Have an incentive program for business development using data in the Print MIS. As an example, let’s say you want to focus on customer accounts that have had no activity in the last 12 months. You can arm your sales team with access to these accounts and let them go at it. What’s their incentive? Maybe you agree to pay a slightly higher commission or bonus on inactive accounts that have jobs brought in within a 60 day period. All new contacts, opportunities and activities around these inactive accounts have to be logged by the salesperson in the Print MIS. This will hopefully bring in some sales from existing customers and it is generally a quicker and cheaper sales process to farm legacy accounts.
Motivating the production team
Production is a tricky area when it comes to Print MIS. It is the most critical data input area but often the most resistant. This is usually due to the feeling of “Big Brother”. How can you turn it in to a positive experience? Here are a couple of ideas:
1. Come up with a way using your Print MIS to track customer issues (i.e. late jobs, quality etc.). This will remove the water-cooler conversation of “Production always screws up” or “our jobs never go out on time”. It happens in many print companies but the conversations are not factual and only hurt morale. Capture the actual issues as facts and set bench marks. Maybe your on-time average is 92%. Run an incentive for the team in one month and tell them that if they improve the on-time to 94% you will buy them pizza for lunch on the last day of the month. If they improve it to 98%, you will do a pizza lunch and a draw for a $100 gift certificate. If jobs (and invoices) are going out faster, the new ones are coming in faster.
2. Come up with a “great Print MIS ideas” program. You can come up with some catchy name but encourage your team to make suggested improvements to the Print MIS. Some of the ideas might be pie in the sky stuff, but some of them might be quite attainable and help make the Print MIS much more efficient and user friendly. Again, a rewards program for “idea of the month” can really motivate the team. It could be along the lines of the person with the best idea gets the last Friday afternoon of the month off with pay. It is simple and not that costly but people feel they are being rewarded for their efforts and their ideas may pay off substantially for you.
Finding a way for everyone to have a bit of fun with the Print MIS will do nothing but help you with the accuracy and completeness of the data that goes in to the system. It will also help build the comfort and consistent use of the system. After all, it is summer – a great time to have some fun and get everybody motivated and geared up for the craziness of fall.