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.

Get the Whole Story: Print & Fulfillment Case Study

Does your association struggle to print and ship course books for its continuing education courses while staying within budget? That’s a challenge for many associations of different sizes, from a variety of industries, across the country and the globe.

Learn from example! International Information Systems Security Certification Consortium, Inc., known as (ISC)2 , tackled these challenges head-on, with Omnipress’ help, and reduced the cost of printing and shipping course materials by 60% for instructor-led training courses. Just think of how your association could expand its training program if printing and shipping cost 60% less!

Besides saving money, (ISC)2 found that time was on their side once print and order fulfillment were being handled by Omnipress. Order fulfillment in particular is one of those pesky tasks that doesn’t seem as time-consuming as it really is until you don’t have to think about it anymore.

(ISC)2 staff felt more productive and less frustrated with fewer balls in the air and fewer vendors to call when issues arose. The Omnipress team rose to the challenge, providing a dedicated project manager to work with (ISC)2 Product Development Manager Dave White and his team.

Do these sound like results your association’s training program would enjoy? Download the case study to read the full story behind (ISC)2’s experience with Omnipress. We’d love to help your association save and succeed, as (ISC)2 has!

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.

Print on Demand, Explained

We refer to print on demand often as a smart choice for associations that manage the production and distribution of continuing education materials. But what does that mean, exactly? Why is print on demand (POD) a better choice for associations like yours than traditional print runs?

The basic idea behind POD is this: books are printed as they are ordered. This is the opposite of the standard practice of printing hundreds or thousands of books and waiting for orders to come in. Sometimes print on demand is associated with independent publishers, like little-known authors who are determined to get their books in the hands of readers, even if they have to take on the task themselves.

POD is often misunderstood as an inferior way to produce printed materials; maybe this connection with independent authors has colored your view of print on demand as a business practice.

Nowadays the print quality is virtually indistinguishable between large print runs and POD; this prejudice is outdated. POD’s bad rap is unearned, or at the very least, no longer based in fact.

Your association is a different animal than a wet-behind-the-ears author who is just trying to gain exposure. Your goal is different: you want to bring timely, relevant content to learners. To accomplish this, it’s best to avoid printing more course books than you need.

Moreover, POD is a good business decision for associations that run continuing education (CE) programs. Many associations update their materials frequently, so printing hundreds of books that could become outdated (and therefore more or less useless) doesn’t make sense. POD is a smart choice to mitigate the risk that larger print runs bring.

Omnipress customer (ISC)2 switched to a POD model, which eliminated the need to print, ship, and store materials around the globe. This led to a cost savings of 60%!

To read the complete (ISC)2 story, download the case study! If your association could stand to save money on print and fulfillment of your CE printed materials, Omnipress can help! Reach out to us to learn more.

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

Reading Print: Not Just for the Dogs

In an article for the New York Times technology blog, Bits, journalist Nick Bilton discusses his decision to return to reading print books after a years-long hiatus—motivated in large part by his dog, Pixel.

When Bilton used a digital device to read, Pixel was distracted by reflections from the screen. And by distracted, I mean that she tried to chase the reflections, which created even greater distractions for her owner. When the situation became unbearable, Pixel’s human tried reading print books, more out of desperation than preference.

But a funny thing happened on the way to a placated Pixel. Bilton rekindled his own fondness for reading printed books, and now prefers them to digital.

Naturally, there are pros and cons to both digital and print. They have been outlined on this blog in the past. Print helps the reader stay focused by virtue of the fact that it serves a single function. No emails, texts, or social media notifications coming in just when you start to become lost in the story. No dog jumping on your lap, trying to chase the glint from the screen that you maybe moved half an inch, just when you get to the good part.

Digital’s pros are also compelling. It’s hard to argue with the convenience of carrying hundreds of titles in a device that’s smaller and lighter than a single paperback book. The appeal of a built-in dictionary is also tempting. How often do you run across a word you don’t know but forget to look it up? Social sharing is another important function of digital reading. Show your fellow readers that turn of phrase that you find so clever!

When you choose which format—or formats—to use for your association’s continuing education classes, remember why your learners are reading in the first place. Comprehension and retention matter a great deal, and by many accounts, print is the best choice. According a report cited in Bilton’s article, readers of print books had significantly higher scores on a test that measured understanding, compared to students who read from a screen.

If a learner can’t remember what was taught in a continuing education course when they return to their jobs, will it matter that providing only digital content saved your association a little money? In other words, is your goal to be an educational resource to members of your association, or to spend less than you did last year?

You may be in a position where you’re asked to do both, and that’s tough. Keep in mind, though, that your educational mission is what sets you apart from all of the free webinars and MOOCs online. Your association’s high-quality content, delivered face-to-face by talented instructors, are what makes your association’s continuing education courses the best in the business.

Follow that by providing content in the format proven to improve retention—that is, print—with supplemental materials and other content delivered digitally, and your association will earn the reputation of doing what’s best for learners at every step.

Omnipress can help your association establish itself as an educational leader in the field. When you leave print, fulfillment, online training materials, and inventory management to us, you’ll have the time you need to focus on improving and expanding your course offerings. We will provide high-quality printed course books that your learners can use to read deeply and internalize the content your instructors present, which creates a better learning experience for everyone.

Managing Your Print & Fulfillment Challenges

Every day, you experience small victories and challenges at work. Vacillating between highs and lows is part of your life, career, and, as a microcosm of the bigger picture, every single workday.

What frustrates you about handling the print and fulfillment of your continuing education training materials? What do you find to be easier about the process? How can you limit the former, while building on the latter?

In a 2014 survey of training professionals (view the infographic here), we learned that associations are challenged with:

  1. Managing frequent content changes.
  2. Determining print quantities for new courses.
  3. Utilizing the best price per unit without overprinting.

Omnipress can help you with all three challenges, turning frustrations into tasks that no longer require quite so much of your attention or worry. Let’s unpack that a little bit.

Managing frequent content changes means updating your printed materials, which can be costly and wasteful—if you choose traditional, larger print runs. If you print on demand, however, small quantities are produced and just a microinventory is kept on hand, saving you money and resources.

Determining print quantities for new courses becomes easier when you work with professionals who have experience doing just that. Omnipress project managers work with training professionals like you every day and have a good idea of what might work for your association. If you’re uncomfortable relying solely on intuition, just ask for advice!

Utilizing the best price per unit without overprinting is a matter of balance between print on demand, which helps to prevent overprinting, and large print runs, which ensure the best price per unit. The Omnipress team can help you balance your association’s needs.

Learn how we helped one association reduce their print and fulfillment costs by 60%! Could we do the same for you? Can we help turn your daily frustrations into wins, because you don’t have to worry about them anymore? There’s only one way to find out—reach out to us and get the conversation started!

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