Nothing about this past year has been predictable, including enrollment in instructor-led courses that were forced to migrate from in-person to online. For those organizations whose printed training materials are a cornerstone of the course, these changes in enrollment have made planning print run quantities and shipping materials to virtual learners significantly more difficult—and potentially carry more financial risk. In response, many organizations have migrated away from their legacy print and delivery model to a micro-inventory solution.
The effects of virtual delivery on course enrollment
Due to gathering restrictions and health and safety concerns, many in-person, instructor-led courses were moved from the classroom to an online environment. This change in delivery model presents several pros and cons. On the one hand, virtual instructor-led training sessions provide increased access to a wider audience who are no longer restricted by room capacity, time away from the office, or travel expenses. On the other hand, replicating the intimate, interactive, and hands-on environment of the classroom can be challenging, and in some cases, may decrease the perceived value of the course.
This dichotomy has produced changes in course enrollment, but the effects for organizations are all over the board.
We just closed our annual survey of training and education professionals. While we’re compiling the data for release in our 2021 Training Trends Report, here’s a preview of one important statistic.
When it comes to the impact of the pandemic on course enrollment:
- 33% of respondents report a slight to significant decrease in participation
- 34% of respondents report a slight to significant increase in participation
- 27% have not seen any changes to course enrollment numbers
Maintaining “right-sized” print runs becomes more challenging
This lack of consistency and predictability within the training industry has made planning print runs for training materials being sent to virtual learners more difficult. Without the ability to anticipate how learners will respond to changes in course delivery, it’s harder to ensure you have the right materials for the course, and therefore run the risk of over-printing and throwing books away, or under-printing and not having them delivered to the learner on time.
It may be the perfect time to consider a micro-inventory solution.
How micro-inventory works
A micro-inventory solution provides a perfect balance between having just the right amount of inventory with the best cost-per-piece print costs.
We work with customers to produce smaller quantities of your educational materials that can satisfy a few months’ worth of demand, instead of anticipating your annual order volume. You only pay for the materials you sell, giving you volume pricing without paying for excess inventory, which ultimately frees up cash flow for your organization.
It also gives you more flexibility to monitor and manage changes in demand as the year progresses, making it a perfect solution during this time of extreme uncertainty—particularly as restrictions are eased and in-person learning becomes a reality again.
Outside of the pandemic, micro-inventory is an effective solution for any situation where course demand is not well-established, such as with the introduction of a new course or program.
The measurable impact of micro-inventory on print runs
One organization in particular, (ISC)2, switched to a micro-inventory model, which eliminated the need to print, ship and store large print inventories around the globe and resulted in a 60% cost savings. Read the (ISC)2 Customer Profile to learn more about the benefits they experienced by switching to a micro-inventory print and delivery model.