3 Ways the Right Partnership Can Pay Off
Print shops today are realizing the benefits of working with a true partner invested in their success, rather than a traditional, transactional relationship. But how do you find a true partner?
First and foremost, a good partner makes your success their key performance indicator.
Today, we live in the Age of the Customer, which means everything flows outward from, “How effective is this in accomplishing my goals?” That question is repeated all the way down the chain, from manufacturer, to print provider, to print buyer, to audience. Hardware doesn’t accomplish those goals. Software doesn’t either. That’s why printers should look for a partner who delivers in three key areas:
1. Operational excellence. The right partner goes above and beyond helping your shop run smoothly, instead aiming for operational excellence processes so good, they make a difference in service and results. To drive operational excellence, a partner needs a deep understanding of how your shop runs. That includes understanding your strengths and areas for potential growth, helping you to play to those strengths — and helping you to keep an eye on changing customer demand. It also includes understanding the outer limits of your shop’s capabilities as currently configured, so you can make the most of what you have, and confidently pursue work that delivers on your maximum capacity, in terms of both volume and quality.
2. Customer intimacy. I’m far from the first person to say all good relationships are built on trust, but that doesn’t make it any less true. The right vendor partner shows their commitment. They do their research, and they make time to meet regularly with you to have a two-way dialogue about needs and goals. The right partner is multimodal, able to communicate with you via multiple channels, delivering seamless support.
3. Product leadership. At the end of the day, the name printed on the side of a box means much less to the right partner than your ability to meet your customers’ needs, exceed your customers’ expectations, and retain and grow customer loyalty. That said, a good partner has the portfolio and approach to keep your shop on the cutting edge.
A strong partner is always looking for new ways to engage audiences, whether it’s new substrates, new applications, or new methods. They’re always innovating and keeping you in the loop. You know what reaches your audiences better than anyone, so your partner should be willing to incorporate your feedback. Similarly, they should keep you in mind when breakthroughs occur.
Print shops have many vendors to choose from, and vendors know it. Don’t settle for less; select a partner who understands your needs and centers your success. Don’t just pick a vendor. Choose the right partner.
Gavin Jordan-Smith is Senior Vice President, Commercial and Industrial Print for Ricoh in the Americas. Appointed to the role in July 2019, Jordan-Smith leads Ricoh’s Commercial and Industrial Print business in the U.S. and Canada, including hardware, software, solutions, and services.