Walking in a Customer’s Shoes…30,000 Steps at a Time

 

Last week I spent some time in our order fulfillment warehouse, just as I do every week, observing and listening. It’s incredible to watch the team manage an order—from picking, kitting, packing and shipping—with such smooth coordination, like a symphony of movement. And then it dawned on me: our staff is in a state of near constant motion. How many steps do we take each day on behalf of customers? Thanks to the miracle of wearable technology, I was able to calculate the answer.

Our team of fulfillment professionals accumulates an average of 30,000 steps per day. That equates to 7.5 million steps over the course of a year, or approximately 3,750 miles! We are essentially walking from New York to Los Angeles (with over 1,000 miles to spare) each year so our customers don’t have to.

If you’re a Training and Education professional who is tasked with handling your own order fulfillment, how far are you (or your team) “traveling” each year, in an effort to serve your members and learners? How much energy are you expending on non-mission centric tasks such as packing student handbooks, tent cards, pens, and supplement study materials into boxes, and then having to track all the shipments? Not to mention the continuous process of managing the remaining inventory. What if you could re-allocate your time and resources to initiatives that grow your programs, elevate your brand and improve the experience for your learners?

Our customers know that we’ll travel to the moon and back to make sure their course materials are delivered accurately and on time. And now we have the data to prove that we truly will.

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.

 

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.

Case in Point: Time Management & Order Fulfillment

Fourth quarter has already begun (can you believe it?), and before you know it, you and everyone you know will be making New Year’s resolutions. How to do a better job managing your continuing education program, be more productive throughout your workday, and streamline processes to be more efficient may top your list of professional objectives. Once you start evaluating exactly how you spend your time at work, you may find yourself wondering if there’s a better way.

Does this story sound familiar? Executive Director Robin Ginner was frustrated she was spending a lot of her time—she estimated 30-40%!—printing books and packing boxes for Vibration Institute (VI). If that time were spent developing new courses and managing the growth of current offerings, Robin thought, VI would have an even more successful training program.

Beyond the time factor, there was the matter of course book design, which was in need of an update. When Omnipress reached out to Robin, the association staff had already been discussing the need for a better fulfillment process and a redesign of the course books. “The call was well-timed,” she said.

How did the new book’s appearance and streamlined fulfillment process work out for VI? Get the rest of the story—download the Vibration Institute case study! (You’ll find more like it here.)

Mission: Fulfillment

Professional associations exist to help their members learn, grow, and succeed in their careers. Part of fulfilling that mission is offering continuing education (CE) courses, and that includes managing printed materials. To simplify this process, work with a print and fulfillment partner that actually helps you manage your CE materials—not just print them.

Picture a fulfillment center. You might imagine a well-oiled machine with efficiency, speed, and accuracy as top priorities. Omnipress is committed to these aims as well, but “machine” doesn’t describe our operation. We’re real people and our primary objective is helping you. Imagine having your own dedicated project manager who knows your process and makes recommendations to better manage your print runs, resulting in greater cost savings. Just think how freeing it would be to rely on a production team of highly-skilled individuals—with an average tenure of nearly 20 years!—to handle print and fulfillment of your course books so you don’t have to worry about it.

Omnipress’ mantra is “delivering knowledge.” We help associations like yours fulfill their missions of providing professionals with CE opportunities to grow and learn in their careers. Our small part in the process allows association professionals like you to focus on developing high-quality content and managing educational programs. By fulfilling our own mission, we contribute to yours. Everyone wins.

We would love to help you fulfill your mission. Let’s talk! Leave a comment below, call 800-828-0305, or visit our website to start a live chat conversation.

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.

3 Common Budget Challenges for Continuing Education Programs

Even though summer is at its peak, this is the time of year we begin to hear our customers’ conversations about evaluating costs and processes for next year’s continuing education budget.

Managing your association’s budget is always a complicated balancing act, and if you’re in the same boat as our customers, there’s rarely enough to go around. Training programs are often looking to expand by adding courses and offering more sessions of the more popular courses.

These initiatives take staff time and money—resources that always seem to be in short supply. The question becomes how to make the most of the budget you have to offer the best continuing education opportunities to learners.

When training professionals share their concerns with us, they bring up these three challenges more than any others:

  1. Surprise price increases: Over time, prices have increased, with no notification from their print vendor(s). If a vendor fails to tell you about a price increase, imagine what else the printer may be hiding from you. Has print quality declined? That adds insult to the injury of increased pricing.
  2. Comprehensive evaluation of print equipment leases: Does it still make sense to use in-house print and copier equipment? Is it economical, when you factor in the cost of the equipment itself, managing supplies, and using internal staff? Is the equipment capable of producing high-quality work? Could you substantially improve the print quality—without additional cost to your bottom line?
  3. Opportunity cost of using internal staff for order fulfillment: Could you better utilize your human resources? Has international shipping complicated things for internal staff? What would your program look like if the hours spent on packing boxes and shipping could be reallocated to, say, membership, or marketing, or developing new courses?

As you look forward to 2016, consider how the printing and fulfillment of your association’s continuing education materials could be handled more efficiently—and perhaps more cost-effectively as well—before the budget is settled.

Cut Out the Middleman: YOU! (Trust Us, It’s a Good Thing!)

Eliminating the middleman seems like a good thing … unless you are the middleman. Even in that case, you might be glad for the streamlined process.

Still need convincing? Take fulfillment of materials for your continuing education courses as another instance.

Let’s walk through the process. A learner signs up for a class. That means that course books must be ordered. That order comes to you as an email notification.

When it hits your inbox, you drop what you’re working on and enter it into the order fulfillment system set up by the company that sends out your training materials. Sounds like a lot of extra work!

Wouldn’t you prefer to skip it? You are acting as the middleman, and it’s tearing you away from work you’d rather be doing—work that is more directly connected to your association’s mission, and your passion for lifelong education.

If your association has a larger training staff and more learners to serve, order entry might be someone’s entire job, at least a big part of it. Then eliminating the middleman takes on deeper significance.

You don’t want to eliminate—in other words, lay off—a valued team member. Good news! You don’t have to throw out the employee with the bathwater. Simply reallocate that person’s time to another task, like marketing your association’s CE courses.

When you work with a provider that provides seamless integration between your database or registration system and its order fulfillment system, you can let that step go entirely. Technology—not your busywork—can bridge the gap.

Omnipress can do that, eliminating some work from your already-packed to-do list. Now you, middleman, can use your time to do more mission-critical work. Everyone wins!

To learn more about how Omnipress can help your association streamline processes and make life easier, download our white paper, Print and Fulfillment Made Easy.

Streamline Your Publications, Simplify Your Day

When workdays are busy (always!), simplifying projects is important. Often that takes the form of eliminating unnecessary steps and streamlining processes. The fewer tasks you have to complete, the more likely that you’ll actually manage to get to all of them.

Your association produces a dizzying amount of content each year, between its annual meeting, continuing education training courses, and publications. Wouldn’t it be simpler if you could count on one trusted vendor to produce all of that content?

Even looking at publications alone, there’s a lot to manage. Digital publishing platforms make it easier for members to access materials, but printed publications are often preferred. That means your association should provide both printed versions of and online access to publications like technical manuals, policy books, standards, and member directories. When that’s done, you still have to navigate how to sell the publications to member—in both formats.

What’s an overworked association staff to do? Rely on Omnipress to help them get it all done.

Printed publications: Printing association content is what we do. We can handle the proceedings from your annual meeting, the course books for your continuing education training program, and publications like policy books, standards, member directories, and technical manuals.

Order fulfillment: Getting your publications from our warehouse to your members is a cinch for the Omnipress team. Nearly half of the production team has been with the company for over 20 years! That’s expertise and experience you can trust.

Digital publishing platform: If you can partner with a company that prints, ships, and offers online access to publications, you’re golden. Omnipress’ digital publishing platform fits the bill with helpful features like full-text and faceted search, access control, and digital rights management.

Subscription management: Your association decides which visitors to your site have access to which materials. Whether the distinction is made based on subscription level, membership, or other criteria is up to you; making it work for your association is our responsibility.

Single storefront: Offer printed publications, digital files, and subscriptions through a single online storefront. Members can purchase books, USBs, PDFs or ePubs, and subscriptions to online access to materials. The storefront can be branded to show your association’s colors and logo. All payments collected stay with your organization throughout the transaction; we don’t take a cut of your well-earned, non-dues revenue.

When you’re ready to streamline your publications process and shorten your to-do list, Omnipress is ready to help. To learn more now, download our white papers on the digital publishing platform and using a single storefront for printed and digital materials.

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.

Try This at Home: Manage Print Costs of Your CE Training Materials

If you have trouble keeping print costs of your continuing education training materials under control, you’re not alone! When we surveyed association training professionals like you, 41% said that they struggle with managing their continuing education print costs.

So what’s an association to do? Print costs get out of control when processes are inefficient or course books are discarded, which drives up the cost per unit. Streamline processes and print on demand to best manage print, fulfillment, and costs.

That’s just what International Information Systems Security Certification Consortium—better known as (ISC)2—did. Learn more about how (ISC)2 slashed their printing and shipping costs by 60%. Follow their example and your association could save, too! Download the case study now!

Manage Print Cost Infographic