Managing your association’s continuing education (CE) program is a huge job and it takes an enormous amount of time and energy to pull it off. There are always more tasks to be done than time to do them. It’s tempting to try to do it all, but there simply isn’t enough time to focus on high-value activities like curriculum development and all of the details that come along running a CE program. The best way to conserve your energy for meaningful work is to delegate tasks that are important, but lower-value, in the grand scheme of your duties.
Accept the help you need to get your CE materials and other items to your instructors by working custom kitting into your fulfillment process. Many providers will take on the task of hunting down office supplies as well as course books, instructor manuals, and learning guides. Surely you would rather spend that time doing work that’s more mission-critical and interesting.
A typical kit, sent to the site of a CE course, might include the following:
25 course books
1 instructors manual
25 learning guides
25 packs of sticky notes
1 wall chart for the classroom
25 completion certification
Save time and hassle while giving your instructors a useful, prepackaged kit they can use to move on to the business of teaching. Custom kitting gives you the option to take the smaller tasks off your plate so you can focus on what you do best.
What would your custom kit include? Leave a comment!
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.
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!
Think about the places you spend most of your time. Mentally walk through your day and determine which spaces could use some deliberate tidying. I bet you can name ten areas of “outer clutter” you can name off the top of your head. (No judgment—I’m right there with you!)
What spaces did you come up with? Was it your kitchen fridge? Your bedroom closet? Your garage? (It’s possible that I’m projecting here!)
How about at work? Are your desk drawers disorganized? Is the office fridge packed with leftovers everyone has forgotten to eat? Maybe some light spring cleaning is in order.
Or did you name the boxes of course books, office supplies, and learning guides piled up in a spare office, waiting for you and your staff to create kits and send them out to instructors? Clear the clutter out of that room—for good—with help from Omnipress!
Think about your workdays as a training professional at an association over the last month. Name 10 tasks that were necessary, but joyless. The tasks are must-do, but you dread them and wish someone else would take care of it so you could get back to the “fun stuff,” like brainstorming new courses, recruiting knowledgeable and engaging instructors and creating course content.
For some training professionals, kitting training materials is one of those tasks. It’s important to put together these items for trainers, but actually doing it eats up a lot of time and energy. A typical kit might include one instructor manual, 20 course books, 20 study guides, 20 exams, 25 Scantron sheets and 30 #2 pencils. If you have to pack up 30 of these, with each being shipped to a different location, your day is pretty well spoken for.
There are many reasons to work with Omnipress for fulfillment, and maybe custom kitting isn’t chief among them for you. But maybe it is. Maybe taking this important but time-consuming task off of your plate would be helpful enough to change your mind about handling print and fulfillment on your own.
Whatever it is that changes your mind, there will come a point when you realize that any money you save by handling fulfillment of training materials in-house just isn’t worth it anymore. Your time is valuable; there are few (if any) associations that have enough human resources to implement all of the ideas and goals the team can dream up. With time at a premium, who wants to spend that precious resource packing and shipping boxes?
The solution is finding a partner you can trust to handle these tasks on your behalf. If you have to babysit them, checking at every step that the correct materials have been shipped to the right place, you won’t be saving much time and frustration. Working with a talented team of professionals who understand how important your training program is to you, and the necessity of getting things done right the first time, is the best way to ensure that outsourcing your print and fulfillment will lead to the results you crave—less hassle for you and more time to spend improving your training program… You know: The “fun stuff.”
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.
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.”
The human body is made of many interdependent systems that work together to help you get through your day. Likewise, many components go into providing continuing education materials for your association’s training courses.
Here is the anatomy of association training materials:
Printed training materials are like the cardiovascular system—they are the lifeblood of your training program. Course books, learning guides and exams are at the heart of helping members learn and retain information presented in your classes. Many studies support the idea that reading printed materials is a better match for deep, intensive reading of important information.
Formatting and design are part of the process and can be represented by the respiratory system. Good design and sleek formatting breathe life into content, making it easier to read with a proper flow and clean appearance. Branding is consistent when colors, logos and other elements are handled by the same organization that puts your materials on press.
Online training materials are akin to the nervous system. Do your learners have a trigger finger, ready to tap on a smartphone or a computer mouse to receive your training content? If so, the content should be available there, where they spend so much of their time already.
Physical digital media (CDs, DVDs, and USBs) are the digestive system. Learners can take home a USB, plug it in and read content on a screen without having to connect to the internet. This gives them an opportunity to really “take in” the information you presented in class, on their own time, on their own device.
Order fulfillment is best represented by the muscular system, and not just because it takes strength to move boxes of course books from our warehouse to your course site. Bringing your printed materials to your learners takes strength of a different kind, too—robust order systems that can handle the kind of customization each and every association deserves. Smaller muscle groups do important work, too, like kitting services, to make life easier for your instructors.
Inventory management is the skeletal system. Imagine rows and rows of metal shelving, where printed training materials are managed, and you’ll understand why a skeleton is the image behind inventory. Managing your inventory in your office, while it becomes overrun with boxes stacked in every corner of floor space available, is a drag. When you trust a printing partner with the task, you’ll lose the hassle without giving up control. With reports available to you 24/7, you’ll know the score.
Association training is a complex series of systems that, together, help your training program run smoothly and efficiently, just like the human body does. If the systems that help you deliver continuing education training content have been less than healthy lately, reach out to Omnipress for a consultation. We’ll have you back in tip-top shape in no time!
This is important work; it’s worth paying attention to these things. If you work with a partner that understands your needs and comes to the table ready to help you meet the challenges that your CE training materials can require, all you may need to do is check in to make sure the process continues to move forward. But still—there is a certain burden that comes with offering continuing education courses and the printed materials that come with them.
So you’d be forgiven if, every so often, you’d just rather someone else take the reins. Just for one task. Something tedious, like assembling the printed materials and other items, like office supplies, into kits for course instructors.
Omnipress has you covered. We offer custom kitting of your CE training materials and other items, such as highlighters and pencils. An instructor manual could be included, along with exams and Scantron sheets. And don’t forget other printed and digital materials, like a branded USB, quick reference guides, or a wall chart!
Working with an all-in-one provider like Omnipress gives you peace of mind that all of your continuing education training materials are being taken care of by an experienced, customer-service-focused company, all under one roof.
Take that level of comfort and security one step further by trusting us to assemble your materials into kits, saving you from one more task that takes precious time away from other important issues. Your energies are best spent creating and coordinating your association’s training courses, with an eye to improving and adding to the offerings in the future.
Is getting organized, at home and in the office, a goal for you in 2015? We’ll leave it to another source (May I suggest Real Simple?) to help you around the house, but Omnipress can give you a hand with your office, at least in terms of your training materials.
Are your training materials piled in corners of your office space, waiting to be packed into boxes when learners place their orders? If your organization has taken on the task of creating kits and shipping them to registrants of your training courses, consider working with Omnipress to cross that task off of your to do list—permanently. Besides comprehensive print and fulfillment services, we can also help with kitting.
This can take the form of pick, pack, and ship, but we can also include items other than the content covered in your training courses. For example, some of our clients ask us to put together a package that includes course books, instructor manual, study guides, exams, completion certificates, and #2 pencils.
Others want to include materials for the classroom, like a wall chart. A third option is including a CD, DVD, or USB that contains a digital copy of your training content. It’s up to you! Wondering if we can accommodate your organizations unique needs? Just ask!
When you decide to outsource a task, you may want to maintain some control over the process—without having to do it yourself. At the very least, you’d like to remain aware of what’s going on.
This is true when it comes to print and fulfillment of your corporate training materials. The idea of having a trusted partner handle this on your behalf is attractive; packing and shipping boxes is not your idea of a good time, or even a productive workday.
On the other hand, you’re not entirely comfortable leaving this task to anyone who might not have your best interest in mind. Part of the reason you hadn’t outsourced this process long ago is your commitment to delivering not just course books and manuals, but also your organization’s promise of quality and timeliness. Leaving this in the hands of anyone besides you and your colleagues feels disingenuous.
The best choice is to find a happy medium—a process you don’t have to implement yourself, but can follow closely to make sure your learners’ needs are met. When you partner with Omnipress for the print and fulfillment of your corporate training materials, you have 24/7 access to standard reports so you can stay in the loop. Custom reports are also available to meet your organization’s specific needs.
Say, for example, your industry makes a lot of content updates. If you stick with conventional, large print runs, you might end with a lot of outdated books—which translates to a lot of wasted money. A trusted provider might suggest that you switch to print on demand to save hassle and money.
When an organization’s training program moves from a domestic market to include other countries as well, we have found that this is a good time to consider finding a partner to handle order fulfillment. International shipping can be tricky; it can be easier to work with a company that has experience with shipping regulations and tariffs around the globe than to take on these tasks yourself.
To learn more about these issues and many others about providing learners with continuing education training materials, we invite you to download our new white paper—Simplify with an All-in-One Partner: Best Practices for Continuing Education Training Materials.
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When you hear the word “outsourcing,” what comes to mind? A call center in another country? Americans losing jobs? Sometimes that’s the case, but not always.
For training companies and small publishers, the purpose of outsourcing is to allow the proper use of internal human resources. If you’re printing books and fulfilling orders in-house, your employees are doing busy work, not business.
Imagine how your organization would grow if you stop printing and shipping out books on your own, and redirected those employees to tasks that help you build your business. Most companies, whether you provide materials for sales training courses or homeschoolers, have more ideas than they have time or resources. Freeing up employees for more meaningful, mission-driven work can help bring more of those ideas to fruition.
Question your assumptions about outsourcing, and you’ll find that this can be a good thing for your organization and its employees. Trusting someone else to manage print and fulfillment doesn’t mean you have to let employees go; no one has to lose a job. This is simply a matter of redistributing staff time.
Skills needed for print and fulfillment are often more complicated than they first appear, especially if kitting, multiple delivery locations, and international shipping are involved. Using a partner with expertise in these areas, like Omnipress, will alleviate the burden on your staff and increase the likelihood that training materials will arrive as your requested, on time, and to the correct location, with the right course books and training manuals.
Outsource is not a four-letter word, unless you work with multiple vendors. The time and frustration you’ll experience trying to juggle more than one fulfillment vendor might make you feel like using a few four-letter words of your own. Instead, turn “outsource” into a productive, cost-saving phrase: S-I-N-G-L-E P-A-R-T-N-E-R.