How Print On Demand Helps Your End-of-Year Planning

 

During the last few months of the year, many associations will be planning which continuing education courses they’ll offer in the new year. Not only that, but they’ll probably be looking at ways to update their existing training course materials to reflect new developments in the industry.

If your association is looking to refresh your course books and other materials next year, you might run into a problem; you’ll need to use your existing course books until the new ones are ready for publication. So what do you do if your course book inventory is running low?

Doing a large print run in this situation just doesn’t make sense. In a few months, you’ll be ready to print and distribute the new books, and the old ones will be discarded, costing your association money for wasted product.

But there is a solution for this: Print-on-demand! People typically think of print-on-demand as a smart way to keep inventory costs down, but this isn’t the only way to take advantage of it. Print-on-demand can also be used as a stopgap for your training materials while you prepare new course material. This model lets you keep the inventory you need in the short term without wasting money on a large print run that will become obsolete in the near future.

How print-on-demand can work with your course updates

Print-on-demand may not work the way you initially expect it to. When you need a course book order fulfilled, we don’t print one single book at a time.

Instead, we create a micro inventory for you that allows you to fill your customers’ orders without committing to a large quantity. This may entail printing 10 books initially, then printing a few more as orders are sent out. What’s even better is that you only pay for the books that are actually ordered by your learners!

By using this solution, your association can save money by not wasting a large inventory of old training course materials as you prepare to update your content. You can continue to grow and evolve as a continuing education provider without the stress of wasting course books.

As you prepare material for your new courses, you also need to think about how you’re going to promote them at the start of the new year. Download our free whitepaper to learn more about how content marketing can help you promote courses online!

Inspiration and Integration: ASAE Annual Meeting 2017 Video Recap

 

A number of Omnipress employees made the trek across the border to participate in this year’s ASAE Annual Meeting in Toronto. As usual, it was an event full of informative sessions and great conversations.

Two members from the Omnipress Print and Fulfillment team that attended the meeting, Tracy Gundert and Janel Savich, talked with Dan Loomis about their takeaways from the week and about two themes that came up repeatedly in their conversations: Inspiration and Integration.

Watch the video below to learn a common challenge that all associations face, and how association staff can use “integrations” to make their jobs easier.

 

ASAE Annual Meeting 2017 Event Recap Video Transcript

Dan: So what was the number one thing that you heard from people stopping by, visiting the booth, or just networking and general sessions. What was everybody concerned about or inspired by?

Tracy: I think they all want to provide, all the different associations, no matter if it’s a trade association, a professional association, they all want to continue to improve the benefits for their members. What more can they give their members? How can they really become part of the value that their members receive from being a part of the association? They want to be sure that they are providing that.

Janel: I think that collaboration, getting together with our clients, hearing how our service fits in to meet the educational goals of their members and the people they serve. It’s inspiring!

Dan: ASAE Annual Meeting always brings people together to talk about innovation, and technology, they always do a good job with that. What types of things did they talk about with integration this year, anything in particular?

Janel: They want that ease to have their systems integrated together so they can talk to one another. Make their jobs easier. Pull the information together; get the reports in one central location.

Tracy: Along with talking about multiple partners, that is certainly one thing we heard, even with print and fulfillment vendors is that they want to have one source. Right now, a lot of them have multiple sources where they are printing at one facility and fulfilling out of another facility and it’s just, you know, its not very integrated in terms of the data. And it also creates a lot more time that they have to spend coordinating it, so they are really looking for that all-in-one type of solution.

 

Infographic: Spring Cleaning for your Course Materials

Spring-cleaning season is here! It’s time to open the windows, pack up the coat closet and… dust off your continuing education materials?!? That’s right, now is the perfect time to take a look at your on-hand inventory of course materials and refresh any items that don’t make the grade.

We’ve created a handy checklist of tasks to help you get into the spring cleaning spirit. Take a look at the image below for ideas on where to begin your spring content refresh!

 

 

Infographic Text

Spring Cleaning for your Course Materials

Examine your older materials to see if they are ready for updated content

Freshen outdated course materials by combining relevant chapters from multiple titles

Recycle chapters of training manuals into educational videos or blog posts

Organize your storage area to maximize space

Polish up your existing materials by designing a new cover

Donate old books to members as promotional giveaway items

When you’re ready to make your training materials look their best, talk to Omnipress! Our team of career professionals can help you find new ways to enhance the look and usability of your course content.

Start a conversation: justask@omnipress.com

You Can Count On It: Measurement & Management Go Hand-in-Hand

Quick! Do you know how many boxes of tissues you have at home? Are you running low on water softener salt? When was the last time you had your HVAC system serviced?

Why does any of that matter? For the purposes of managing your association’s continuing education (CE) materials, it really doesn’t. But a basic principle of inventory management applies to all of these examples—you can’t manage what you don’t measure.

Whether you need to pick up salt pellets this weekend or next is of little consequence, but what if your count is off for your CE course books? A learner is going to be left out. That leaves a bad taste in her mouth about the training program, and the association in general. Even if the mistake is rectified quickly, your association’s reputation takes a hit.

Trust one provider to produce, house, and inventory your CE materials and you’ll always know where your quantities stand. After all, you recognize how important inventory management is. Quite frankly, though, you’d rather spend your time on other initiatives. And there’s nothing wrong with that.

Omnipress can help you manage your CE materials, leaving you free to build and expand your training program. Contact us to learn more.

Your Printer, Your Process, Your Inventory Management

When you find a process that works, you stick with it. Whether that means doing loads of laundry in a specific order, making scrambled eggs with your own special technique, or going on the same walk around your neighborhood, you figure out what works and your keep it up.

Managing your continuing education materials may involve a process that works well for you, or it might be a task in search of a better process. Could you use some help making sense of inventory management of your CE titles?

Omnipress is more than a printer; we serve as your partner in bringing your CE materials to life. That means we understand your business and your challenges. We’ll create a customized process to meet your association’s specific needs.

Our experience, along with our collaborative approach to customer service, offer you the perfect marriage of professionalism and kindness. To make it even easier for your association to deliver CE materials to learners, Omnipress offers help at every step: formatting and design services, printing, order fulfillment, custom kitting, inventory management, and online training materials. We even help you offer your CE materials to learners for purchase with a complete storefront, where your association can sell both printed books and online training materials (digital files and/or subscriptions).

Get those boxes of CE books out of your office. Free yourself from keeping track of how many books of each title you have on hand! Eliminate the embarrassment of back orders.

Instead, count on reporting tools from Omnipress. Let us house your course books on our shelves. Enjoy the peace of mind you’ll have when someone else is taking care of your CE materials so you can focus on expanding and improving your courses and marketing them to entice more learners.

Experience the Omnipress difference! Reach out to us to get started. We’d be happy to discuss your current process and our suggestions for improvement. We want to be your printer and your partner, after all, and we can’t wait to get the conversation started.

Preparing Your CE Instructors for Success

Are your instructors prepared to lead your association’s continuing education courses? Whether or not they’re ready to teach and engage learners is one issue. Whether they have the tools they need to deliver knowledge—including course books, workbooks, exams, and office supplies—is quite another. The latter is an easier problem to solve, especially if you rely on a trusted partner to get the job done on your behalf.

You could take on the task of driving around town (often done “off the clock”) to hunt down sticky notes, #2 pencils, and other supplies. But if you’re anything like the association professionals we work with, you’d rather spend your nights and weekends doing … well, practically anything else.

That doesn’t mean you have to leave your instructors without the proper tools, though. They too have more important things to think about than whether or not there are enough handouts for every registrants for the course. It would distract and delay everyone in the classroom if time had to be taken away from instruction to make copies, though. It’s better to just take care of getting the correct number of copies, with a few extras just in case, for each instructor and let them focus on teaching.

Of course, you’d rather focus on managing courses and creating the content for new ones. To keep your instructors and yourself on track, let someone else take on the task of collecting, kitting, and shipping class materials to class sites.

Omnipress is uniquely qualified to handle this task and practically any other that falls under the umbrella of continuing education materials: printing course books and other materials, order fulfillment, and inventory management, for starters. Want to put your training content online? We can help with that, too. Need an online storefront to sell printed books, digital files, and other items, like USBs? We’ve got you covered.

So rest easy, and let your instructors do the same. As Benjamin Franklin said, “By failing to prepare, you are preparing to fail.” When you partner with Omnipress, you’re preparing your association’s training program for success.

Inventory Reports: How Do Yours Measure Up?

How many reports do you rely on in your daily life to keep everything on track? It may be more than you realize! Consider your electric bill (which is essentially an energy report), your smartphone’s battery display (a real-time status report), you children’s report cards, the steps on your fitness tracker, and even the gas gauge in your car. Monitoring your life is a full-time job, and thankfully, many devices and processes are up to the task.

If you spend your workdays managing print and fulfillment of continuing education training materials, you may count on inventory reports (pun fully intended) to make sure you’re not running out of course books.

The report, just like any other, is only as good as the data that goes into it. When was the last time you did a physical count of the course books in your back office or warehouse? Can you imagine having half a day free in the next week (or, being more realistic, month) to take care of it?

If you’re like many of our customers, time is at a premium, and, truth be told, it would be better spent developing new courses and managing current ones. So cut out the middle man between your inventory report and the data that supports it. Omnipress is pleased to have a team of seasoned professionals on hand who spend their days printing course books, fulfilling orders from learners, and managing inventory.

The inventory management system is kept up to date, in real time. The report you run is accurate, every time, and you can count on Omnipress to make adjustments at you request. A dedicated project manager will work with you to determine appropriate quantities for a new print run to meet the current and projected needs of your organization.

Self-monitoring is a growing trend. (Check out this podcast on it from NPR’s To the Best of Our Knowledge.) Professionally, inventory management is part of your role, and the more accurate the reports you run, the better you’ll be able to keep tabs on your printed training materials. Omnipress can help make the process easier for you.

Print & Fulfillment Just Got More Affordable!

Your association could be wasting money on printed continuing education training materials and not even know it! If your content is updated frequently and you choose large print runs for your materials, it’s likely that you’re inadvertently leaving a lot of money on the table.

That’s just what (ISC)2 found when they started working with Omnipress for print and fulfillment of their continuing education training materials. Partnering with Omnipress led to a 60% cost reduction in printed course materials!

Check out the infographic below for more information. Over the next several weeks, we’ll delve deeper into other aspects of the infographic to show how your association can save time, hassle, and money by working with us.

Visit omnipress.com to download the (ISC)2 case study!

Manage Print Cost Infographic

Cutting Your Inventory Management Stress: Count the Ways

Odds are, you have participated in taking inventory at some point. Maybe it was during the part-time job at the grocery store or gas station you had in high school. Or it could be a more recent memory. You might have counted your association’s training course books just this morning!

Taking stock of the materials you have on hand is important. You don’t want to run out, leaving some learners without the resources that others in the class have been given. But the process can be mind-numbing. Counting box after box of course books may leave you wondering if inventory management is the best use of your time.

Your learners count on your association to provide the correct number of course books, but that doesn’t mean you have to spend hours counting books on a shelf. No one gets into continuing education to do inventory. It’s just a necessary evil inherent to a training program that includes printed course books. Right?

Not necessarily. Associations that count on Omnipress to keep their inventory on track don’t have to worry about taking time out of their busy days to do it themselves. Join them and you won’t have to, either.

Instead, you can keep an eye on your inventory with standard reports that Omnipress makes available to all customers. These may suit your needs, but if you need more information, we can build custom reports to your specifications. Not having to physically touch or count the course books doesn’t mean that your approach has to be completely hands-off.

Better inventory management can help to eliminate back orders. It doesn’t reflect well on your organization if a learner has a hard time ordering a course book; putting this concern to rest is another reason it’s helpful to trust this process to an experienced provider.

Counting on Omnipress to handle inventory management on your behalf helps you cut down on the dull tasks of your day-to-day, giving you the time and energy to focus on other work. Eliminate the stress of keeping track of your course books and you can skip counting something else—sheep to settle down enough to get to sleep at night!

Did you count the counts? Not including the four times you see the word in this paragraph and the title, the answer is 8!

Why Print-on-Demand Makes Sense for Associations

Innovation is important in your industry—and in every industry, as a matter of fact. As an association training professional, innovation often starts with you. Updated content keeps your courses fresh and forward-looking. However, if you choose large print runs for your books, revisions can really cost you.

If you expect that your course content will need frequent revision, whether that’s due to impacts of emerging technologies or legislation that’s coming down the pike, you should consider printing your training materials on demand.

You’ll avoid two types of waste: leftover books that are no longer relevant (or correct at all) and money on the table. Large print runs usually mean price breaks, but how much do you really end up saving if you throw hundreds of books away?

Omnipress encourages print-on-demand solutions for some associations because it tends to be a better fit for organizations whose content is dynamic. To be a leader in your industry, as most associations strive to be, stagnation is the enemy. If you keep training content constant as the industry is changing, you may be doing a disservice to your learners.

When you print on demand, you estimate how many volumes you’ll need on hand based on past enrollment. As learners order course books, the inventory begins to deplete. A micro-inventory is kept on hand (often with your fulfillment partner, if applicable) to cover any extra orders that may come in. If none do, your bottom line isn’t impacted; you only pay for the volumes that were ordered. Inventory reports are available online, 24/7, so you can keep an eye on stock and request more course books as needed.

Think about how your training program has evolved over the past five years and where you see it going by 2020. Not much change? That’s fine, and Omnipress can help with traditional print runs, too. On the other hand, if you see differences in content and class offerings on the horizon, you should take the time to ponder whether print-on-demand is the right choice for your association’s training program.

The Fulfillment & Inventory Management Tipping Point

When your library of corporate training titles is small, it’s relatively easy to handle fulfillment and inventory on your own. But there comes a point when doing it on your own becomes untenable, and that point is different for everyone.

Maybe it’s when you hit 10 titles, or 20. Perhaps you’ll feel it when you begin shipping internationally and realize you may be a bit over your head when it comes to tariffs and the like. (Even shipping to Canada can be tricky.) Or maybe that point will come when you have to consider purchasing a larger office space to keep up with the boxes you’ve been tripping over for the past six months.

Whatever your tipping point is, it’s worth keeping an eye out for it. Sometimes we hear from clients that they had no idea how much time and effort they were spending on order fulfillment and inventory management until they started working with us.

Reallocating that time to activities that directly improve your training program can make your team more productive. Our customers have found the time and headspace to work out creative solutions to problems that have been plaguing them for ages. Some have gone as far as to say that everything changed—for the better—once they started working with Omnipress.

There’s no need to take our word for it. Dr. Rebecca Keller, Founder and CEO of Gravitas Publications (the company behind Real Science-4-Kids textbooks), spoke with Omnipress for two episodes of the podcast Training and Development Talk. Listen to Real Science-4-Kids Outsourcing Case Study or Print Books Build Better Brains to hear Dr. Keller’s story. You can also read the case study here.

In her first podcast with Omnipress, Dr. Keller offers excellent professional advice, including the activity that led her to seek out Omnipress in the first place. “Sit down and write out two lists: This is what I really want to do, and this is what I’m doing that I don’t want to do.” Then figure out how to get the second list done—without having to do it yourself. You probably think that you have it under control, “but if you’re coming home exhausted every night and don’t have the freedom to think about how to create new things, something is broken.”

Think about how you currently handle the fulfillment and inventory for your organization. Did you recognize yourself in Dr. Keller’s words? Was there something familiar about her predicament?

Reach out to us for help and you may find yourself agreeing with another one of her statements: “Working with Omnipress has been transformative for me as an author to really be able to embrace a different business model. I can now be an author who publishes my books when before I had to be one or the other. I don’t think I would be where I’m at if I wouldn’t have stumbled upon Omnipress online.”

Plan Ahead with Inventory Management

Planning ahead is sometimes easier said than done. Despite our best intentions, family trips never seem to get the full attention they deserve. There’s plenty of time to figure out an itinerary when we get there, right? Or take tax season as another example. The national math assignment is given in late January, but April 15th seems to come up sooner every year.

That’s why we sometimes outsource planning. We visit a travel agent who can help us sketch out that dream vacation. We bring a shoebox full of receipts to an accountant every spring.

When it comes to your association’s continuing education training content, planning includes good inventory management. You could do it yourself by keeping boxes in your office space and counting on your staff to keep tabs on how many course books, workbooks and learning guides you have on hand for each class.

But you know how busy your association staff gets. Though every single member of the team has the best intentions to keep the numbers current, it’s entirely possible that books may be sent out without removing them from the system or spreadsheet where you track inventory.

Even if your staff does a great job tracking inventory, you can probably think of a dozen things off the top of your head that you’d rather have them spend their time doing. Rare is the association that has enough staff time to accomplish all of its goals.

Prepare for the future with reports that show inventory trends over time. When you trust another company with order fulfillment and inventory management, all you have to do is keep an eye on the reports and plan your print runs accordingly.

With a little experience, you’ll learn when you need to have more books on hand and which months are slower. You may have a sense of this already, but it backing up with concrete numbers helps you understand just how many books you’ll need and when. Adjusting your inventory to meet your association’s needs helps to reduce overhead and manage costs.

Inventory management helps you plan ahead; order fulfillment keeps the boxes out of your office. For an even simpler process, choose a single vendor that can help you with both, as well as producing the printed course books and even online training materials.

Omnipress is proud to provide all four services—print, fulfillment, inventory management and online training materials—for associations like yours. (We can also provide an online storefront that your association can use to sell both hard goods and digital files.)

Keep one eye on your inventory and the other toward the future. You can plan for the future while reclaiming your staff time when you leave inventory management to us.

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