6 Reasons You Should Print Training Manuals on Demand

When you prepare to print training manuals for your association’s continuing education courses, do you struggle with choosing the number of initial copies to print? All the historical data in the world can’t ensure that you won’t waste time, money, or paper on books that no one will use. Choosing to print training manuals on demand, however, can solve these problems.

When you print training manuals on demand, you can rest assured that amount of that waste will be kept to a minimum. Here are six reasons to choose print-on-demand for your organization’s continuing education materials:

Update content easily

How long does content in your industry remain current? Some organizations can effectively use large print runs because the content in their training materials doesn’t change much year-to-year. For other organizations, particularly those in highly-regulated industries and in STEM, content is updated more frequently, meaning the potential for material waste increases.

Lower overhead costs

Start-up costs for large print runs can be prohibitive or, at the very least, frightfully expensive for some organizations. Print-on-demand requires a smaller initial investment, keeping overhead low. Having less of your budget tied up in printed materials also leaves you free to spend capital on other projects to improve your continuing education programs.

Reduce guesswork

Inventory management becomes easier when you keep a smaller number of books on the shelf. Print-on-demand solutions often create a micro-inventory that feeds orders as they come in, and more books are printed as needed. You’ll know exactly how many books you have in-stock, removing the guesswork from the process.

Minimize waste

When you keep a micro-inventory instead of a large quantity of books on the shelf, you reduce the risk of having to toss out hundreds of materials when content is updated or a class is canceled. And, even better, your organization is only charged for the number of books that were sold from your micro-inventory, saving you extra money.

Eliminate back-orders

Learners can get frustrated when they are unable to order materials they need for a class because you ordered too small of a print run initially. Using a print-on-demand model eliminates this scenario entirely, saving you from the trouble of dealing with back-ordered books.

Improve turnaround time

Even when dealing with the most experienced print vendors, large print runs require a certain amount of lead-time to complete. Print-on-demand requires less set up and fewer resources, making turnaround much faster.

No two organizations are the same—your reasons to print training manuals on demand may differ greatly from another organization’s. What is clear, however, is that print-on-demand works well for many organizations offering continuing education courses, and it might by the right choice for you, as well.

Now Available: The 2018 State of the Conference Industry Report

 

We are excited to share the 2018 State of the Conference Industry Report!

For the fourth year in a row, Omnipress has tracked the evolution of conference content and the role it plays at an association’s annual event. This year’s Conference Industry Report indicates that while educational content remains a significant source of value that associations provide, association professionals are facing new challenges as they strive to meet attendees’ changing expectations.

To understand how associations are currently using their conference content, we conducted an online survey of 143 association professionals, many of whom are directly responsible for conference planning.

Download the report to learn:

  • How are associations using content to engage members and increase conference attendance?
  • How are associations deciding which formats to offer at their events?
  • Which types of content are associations currently providing at their conference?
  • Are there common challenges that all associations face delivering their conference content?

Takeaway #1: The annual conference remains a central part of the association’s member growth strategy.

With most associations reporting flat membership growth in 2017, the ability to engage and retain existing members is critical. The annual conference provides a unique opportunity to demonstrate the association’s value, and increasing attendance continues to be the number one priority for associations.

Respondents provided some specific areas of focus to increase attendance at their 2018 events:

  • Encourage peer to peer engagement
  • Increase conference quality
  • Update technologies to increase engagement
  • Create more networking opportunities

The opportunity for member engagement extends beyond attending the conference. Associations can provide options for members to participate in other meaningful ways by including an open call for their event. Soliciting presentations from within the association allows the organization to recognize the contributions that members are making in their industry and advance their careers.

Read the full report to learn how other associations use content to engage attendees before, during and after their events.

Why Associations Should Layer Their Members’ Continuing Education

 

Watch Dan Loomis and Janel Savich talk about “Learning In Layers,” a concept introduced in a recent issue of TD Magazine. In this video, Dan and Janel discuss how the concept of “layering” provides a useful framework for associations to find a balance in their online, in-person, and print training resources.

How to Take Your Association’s Branding to the Next Level

 

You work hard to create courses that provide learners with the best education. Make sure your materials reinforce your association’s role as a trusted resource! Follow the 5 tips in this infographic to create training materials that help your learner and your association.

 

Infographic Association Branding

 

 

 

 

The Surprisingly Easy Way to Judge your Print Vendor

The Surprisingly Easy Way to Judge your Print VendorDo you want to work with a partner, or an “order taker”?

Seriously, it’s a question you should answer before talking with print vendors about your next project.

If your goal is to re-print the same training materials you’ve used for years, someone that can take your order and do the job may be all you need. But what if you have a new project to tackle? Or want to try incorporating some online material this time? Maybe your content could use a redesign? How do you work with an order taker when you are unsure of what to order?

If you find yourself looking to create a new—or updated—training manual, publication or workbook, you may benefit from partnering with a vendor that is as interested in what you want to achieve as what you want to print.

But how can you tell if the company you are working with is going to add value to your print project? It’s not difficult for a vendor to be accommodating during the bidding stage, but the test comes after you sign a contract.

A true collaborator is one that is asking questions and trying to find solutions that benefit your project, not just their bottom line. Here are three surprisingly easy ways to judge if the company you are speaking with is going to be effective in helping you reach your goal of creating better training materials.

Clue #1: The discussion starts with a question other than “So what do you want?”

The first clue that a vendor won’t be just an order taker is how they approach your project. If the person you are talking with only wants to hear about technical aspects and not your intended outcomes, you could be talking to an order taker. If, instead, you are asked questions like “What are you hoping to achieve?” or “What have users told you worked well?” you are speaking with someone who is interested in finding the best solution for your needs.

Clue #2: Recommendations are offered based on specific industry knowledge.

Another clue that you are working with an invested partner is that they actively make suggestions. A true professional has a grasp on considerations you may not be aware of. These can have a major impact on the success of your project. Industry best practices, new trends, and alternative materials can all play an important role in the success of your project.

Even a seemingly simple task like shipping can benefit by having the help of an expert. A seasoned fulfillment expert, for example, knows how upcoming holidays impact the shipping schedule. This is crucial if, for example, your materials need to be delivered for an in-person training course on a certain day.

Clue #3: Recommendations are the result of clear reasoning

Have you ever asked a question and gotten nothing but technical jargon in response? Not the most reassuring feeling, is it? Try to find someone that is able to help you understand the thought process behind their recommendations. It could be that they’ve worked on projects like yours in the past. Or, maybe their suggestion will better help you reach your desired outcomes. Regardless, look for a vendor that is clear and open about how they have arrived at any suggestions they make for your project.

 

Conclusion

A good partner is one that is willing to work with you to create a project that reaches your goals. Their professional expertise and knowledge of industry best practices can be an important factor in turning your project into a success.

But not all vendors are alike.

As you discuss your project with difference companies, keep an eye out for ones that try to understand the real goals of your project. It should be no surprise that they have as many questions for you as you do for them. This is the kind of information a true partner needs when giving effective suggestions with clear rationale.

Millennials and Print: The Surprising Views of the Digital Generation

Every day, your association is changing. As Baby Boomers leave the workforce, Millennials step in and play an increasingly large role in your organization.

How will the demands of this new generation change the way your association delivers educational content?

We asked 548 Millennials about the role print plays when it comes to professional and educational materials.

Be sure to view the infographic below before making any changes to the way you deliver educational content to these young professionals.

For a more detailed look at the results of the Millennials and Print survey, download our free whitepaper.

 

Millennials and Print infographic

Anatomy of a Training Manual [Infographic]

 

Your training manual is full of essential information. But are you taking advantage of everything you can to engage your learners?

From the formatting of pages to how they are bound, many factors impact the way students interact with your materials. Make sure your manual is following industry best practices!

Anatomy of a Training Manual [Infographic]

Millennials & Print [Infographic]

By now, you’ve read our whitepaper, Millennials & Print: How & Why Your Youngest Learners Read from the Page (and if you haven’t, check it out to learn more about your new members!). It includes some really interesting data about how and why your association’s youngest members consume their educational and professional materials. To make things a bit easier to take in, we’ve created this easy-to-read infographic that includes some of the most important takeaways that can really impact the way you produce your materials.

Take a look at the image and make sure to let us know what you think of the data and the infographic. We love hearing from you all!

Millennials & Print Infographic

Here’s Why Print Isn’t Dead 2.0: Seven Reasons Why Print is Here to Stay

In late July 2014, I wrote an article that was meant to serve as an appeal to those claiming that digital content had completely taken over, and that print is dead. Numbers had shown that Newsweek, who had been printing for 79 years went to digital only in 2012 because their subscription numbers dropped from 3,077,771 to 1,535,930. Obviously, that makes a lot of business sense. However, from what I was hearing, print was not only not dead, but in fact thriving. Here are four reasons I gave as to why this was happening:

1. Engaged Reading: Many studies have shown that those who read printed material are more engaged and retain the material much better versus online material. Therefore, even those growing up in the digital age, still prefer printed materials.

2. People Want Options: In today’s age of getting things however consumers want, this is a no-brainer. You must continue to offer readers options even when it comes to your material. Offering print or digital can really seclude certain segments of your market, and have your organization missing large opportunities in others.

3. Some Prefer Printed Materials: The truth is, some people simply prefer having materials in-hand when reading it (refer back to #2). Why do some people take their coffee black, while others prefer sugar cubes and creamer? Having a tangible form of content is a must to some of your target market.

4. Print Works Hand-in-Hand with Digital: It’s no secret that print and digital can work great together. They can promote each other and complement each other in a learning environment. With print, there is a sense of increased credibility, and with digital content, there’s the ease of access on any device we carry with us each day.

Read the complete original post!

These are all great examples of why print is absolutely not dead, and I’d still argue they are all true today. And as we move forward with this idea a year later, we’ve discovered even more evidence that our hypothesis was absolutely right. Here’s three more reasons why print isn’t dead:

Continue reading “Here’s Why Print Isn’t Dead 2.0: Seven Reasons Why Print is Here to Stay”

Opportunity Cost: One of the Most Important Factors in Comparing Outsourced Fulfillment

When comparing the cost of in-house fulfillment to the cost of using an outsourced fulfillment provider, companies will often fixate on the hard costs associated with outsourcing. The most frequently analyzed costs seem to be related to order fulfillment, storage and shipping.

In some cases, fulfillment companies can show monthly savings over in-house operations; this is largely due to shipping discounts that fulfillment providers receive coupled with costs savings due to aggregation of labor and space over multiple clients. However, in other cases, the hard costs of outsourcing alone don’t produce cost savings, leaving a company thinking that outsourcing warehouse operations isn’t justified. But when an analysis of outsourced fulfillment costs results in little to no cost savings over in-house fulfillment costs, there’s still one widely overlooked cost that has the potential to sway the analysis in the favor of outsourcing. This cost is the opportunity cost associated with performing fulfillment with in-house staff.

What is Opportunity Cost of In-House Fulfillment?

According to Investopedia, opportunity cost is “the cost of an alternative that must be forgone in order to pursue a certain action. Put another way, the benefits you could have received by taking an alternative action.” In terms of fulfillment solutions, the opportunity cost of choosing to keep warehouse and order fulfillment in-house is that your staff will be strapped with performing these activities instead of other functions. In some cases, the employees charged with handling in-house fulfillment are warehouse personnel. But in other cases, it’s administrative employees. Regardless of who processes the actual work, there’s almost no doubt that company management, to some extent, will be involved in the process.

The baseline question that needs to be asked by management is, “What is the best use of in-house labor resources?” If the greatest amount of value can be derived from charging staff with managing inventory and shipping activities, then outsourcing will likely not achieve greater return on investment. However, most frequently, companies can achieve a significantly higher ROI through outsourcing instead of processing this work in-house, especially when factoring for administrative labor and management time.

Opportunity Cost of Fulfillment in Action

Perhaps the best way to see the effects of opportunity cost is to take a look at a concrete example. Let’s assume that in addition to some warehouse staff, an organization also utilizes 20 hours of service time from administrative staff and 10 hours of management time to handle in-house fulfillment operations. Typically, these costs are ignored in making an in-house versus outsourced fulfillment analysis. At a baseline minimum, these hard costs should be factored into the analysis. Assuming that the average hourly rate of an administrative staff is $16.09, and the average hourly rate of a general manager is $24.41, the total cost of administrative and management time of managing

Assuming that the average hourly rate of an administrative staff is $16.09, and the average hourly rate of a general manager is $24.41, the total cost of administrative and management time of managing in-house fulfillment would be $565.90 (Statistics courtesy of Statistic Brain). But that’s not opportunity cost. Opportunity cost in this scenario would be the revenue that could be generated by these 30 hours if the company outsourced with a fulfillment company. If this time could generate more than $565.90, then perhaps there’s a better way to utilize these employees’ time each month.

What are You Giving up by Doing Fulfillment In-House?

Utilizing an opportunity cost perspective when comparing fulfillment options helps companies truly understand the significance and importance of labor resources. In fact, a good question to ask when making this decision is, “What is our company giving up by doing fulfillment in-house?” This will help companies factor for other mission-critical or revenue-producing work that might get sidelined. What types of things might produce more value than processing customers’ orders? Just a few examples include:

  • Sales and marketing functions that bring revenue in to the company
  • Strategic planning that helps the company save money or increase revenue
  • Mission-centric work that has enormous intrinsic value

So by all means, go ahead and crunch the numbers for in-house versus outsourced fulfillment costs. But don’t make the same mistake most companies make when performing this analysis—remember to include the opportunity cost of having your in-house staff perform warehouse and shipping duties. Chances are, you’ll have an eye-opening experience by finding out that your internal group can produce quite a bit more value by spending their precious time on functions that have a greater potential for return on investment.

Area Woman Announces the Death of Print

I’m sad to report that the satirical newspaper The Onion discontinued its print edition in Madison, Wisconsin, where Omnipress is headquartered. Two UW-Madison students founded The Onion in 1988. Ever since, the newspaper has been important to this community.

The last print edition in Madison was distributed on Thursday, July 25, 2013. Capital Newspapers published The Onion in Madison, but didn’t renew its contract. The advertising revenue generated through the free weekly paper wasn’t enough to sustain its production.

Madison residents, always up for political commentary and an impromptu party, congregated in Brittingham Park to hold a “funeral” for The Onion.

To coincide with Madison’s last print edition, The Onion reported the demise of the medium in its article, “Print Dead at 1,803.” As usual, The Onion captures the fallacy in the premise while exposing the tiny kernel of truth it’s based on. In honor of The Onion’s 25th year in print, let’s take a deeper look at this “dead” medium to see if the obituary is, in fact, a bit premature, despite the turn of event in Madison.

Many other traditional media are thriving in a digital environment. TV is adapting to a new environment, with Netflix series ushering the term “binge-watching” into the Zeitgeist and producing Emmy-nominated show “House of Cards” and critically-acclaimed “Orange is the New Black.” The small screen has attracted many bonafide movie stars lately, including Kevin Bacon (“The Following”) and Robin Williams (“The Crazy Ones”).

Sales of printed books have fallen, though the rate has slowed (2012 compared to 2011). According to Digital Music News, a whopping 93% of Americans still listen to broadcast radio. People are experimenting with other ways of consuming content, but by and large, they are not—at least not completely—abandoning traditional methods.

Some formats are even coming back in style. Hipsters across the nation prefer the raw, full sounds of a vinyl record to the clinical precision of digital delivery. There’s something to be said for giving a “dead” technology another go.

Personally, I will miss seeing The Onion at my favorite restaurants and stores around town and, most of all, on my nightstand at home. Though I also follow The Onion on social media and read the website when I get the chance, perusing the print edition was a weekly treat that will take me a while to get over.

What do you think? Is print dead? Should we mourn its passing or fight to keep it alive and well in our communities? Does print have a place in association content delivery? In your life? We want to hear from you!

Print: The New Sexy, Innovative Technology

Nothing’s sexier than the sleek, clean look of a brand new 4G iPad, right?

With the popularity of online content and the astounding growth of smartphones and tablet devices, people have been waving farewell to print, claiming it’s an archaic, boring and static medium.

But is print really dead?

The Battle Between Print and Online Content

As popularity for online content continually increases, equally has the debate between delivering educational content for meetings, training events and publications in print vs. online. These debates have led people to believe that these two mediums cannot co-exist.

With restricting budgets and pressure from their members, associations feel they have to choose between print or online solutions for their conference materials, continuing education and trade publications.

Print AND Online Content Strategy – The “A-HA!” Moment

Over time, associations have begun to realize that print and online can co-exist (even with budget restraints). After all, isn’t the purpose of an association to deliver members relevant and highly-valued content in the way they want to consume it?

Print is still a part of that equation for many association members.

Print Just Got Sexy!

But how do you turn print, the “archaic, boring, static medium,” into something flashy and sexy like all of the cool iPads and smartphones?

Here’s a great example: A product called Touchcode allows users to access digital content through printed paper. Print is no longer complacent with being perceived as irrelevant.

How does your association balance print and digital content? Do your members still want print?