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Developing a Print Management Plan Ensures Success

How do dealerships get started with a successful print management program?  This post will attempt to “peal back the onion”, identifying some “first steps” and common traits of successful MPS dealerships.

In another post (see Archive Getting the Most out of Alerts ), I suggested that …

“Once you have begun, be sure you have and stick to a plan that includes everyone on your management team and one that identifies the goal you are trying to accomplish.”

At Print Tracker, planning and program development is the key to success.  We regularly ask for input when we see achievement and the information that follows was provided by many of our most successful clients.

On What Common Factors Does MPS Success Depend?

Before embarking on something new, solidify the current business model.  Successful dealers do not abandon what is working; they implement controlled and manageable change.  Next, successful dealers have the right people put their program into practice.  Keep in mind, current staffing may not include the best MPS advocates and the dealership may need to hire specialists to achieve print management goals.  Solidify print management efforts by preparing and following a plan.

Preparing for print management success is no different than writing long range business plans or developing the annual budget.  Both must be done in writing.  Once written, the plan can be presented to management and staff, put into action, monitored and measured, and finally executed to success.  The MPS plan is a roadmap to assist in meeting company goals.

Print Management is NOT a Sales Initiative

For any print management program to be successful the dealership’s primary decision maker must:

  • Build it into the Business Model – If it is in writing, it is achievable.
  • Get Buy-in from the Management Staff – If just one VP or manager is not on board, the program will fail.
  • Ensure the Administration Team is Prepared – Accounting and operations will be greatly affected.  They must know what is going to happen and be prepared to incorporate new practices into their daily routines.
  • Ensure the Service and Supply Team are Prepared – Dispatch and help desks work on the front lines and the parts program will be involved.  Measurement benchmarks should be employed to ensure program viability. The print management program should enhance the customer service already being provided.
  • Develop a Public Relations Campaign – After all, this is an investment and the dealership must get the word out so that ROI will be realized.  Consider promoting to both customers and prospects alike.

The MPS Buck Begins and Ends with the Office of the Owner, CEO, President, Primary Decision Maker, etc.

Outlining current duties for each of the dealership’s management team is a great place to start.  Print management adds responsibility to everyone’s workload.  Next, consider departments reporting to each manager, being mindful of Quality Control and Communications.  Sales, Service, Order Processing and Finance will all be impacted to some degree.

Once the current duties have been established, consider:

  • How will print management come into play?
  • How will MPS fit into each department’s business goal?
  • What departments will best facilitate MPS development?
  • What department or departments will promote MPS?
  • How can unforeseen conditions be taken into account?
  • How will MPS Success be measured?

Each of these questions should be carefully examined and answered.  In some dealerships the management team may wear multiple hats.  When this is the case, workloads will increase dramatically and implementation should grow at a slower more measured pace.  For others, significant or specific training may be required, right down to the person answering phones.  Sales cycles should be analyzed — print management engagements typically take three to six times longer to close.  Materials and assets such as USB keys for deployment and information capture should be prepared and controlled.  Feedback measures need to be put in place to insure all customer needs are being met.  And finally, information systems such as CRM and ERP platforms may be involved and if so should be made ready to accommodate the newly collected data.

… In Summary

Engaging in a print management program is not easy, but then again, neither is any money generating program.  Being as objective as possible and following an outlined approach will help the most “adverse to change” manager or associate “come on-board” and make your print management program a success.  AND, know that success is not achieved overnight.

Bottom Line — Don’t abandon what is working today, implement manageable change, include feedback controls, have your people become MPS advocates, and above all — develop and follow a plan.