UPC-Buzz!

Business, Marketing, & Print

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Say Hello to my little friend !!!

October 27, 2009

xerox700Here at the UPC, we are always looking to provide improved and quicker services for our customers. So we asked ourselves, how can we get faster based on current customer demand? Well the obvious way is to get a new press and that is exactly what we did.

We are proud to announce the newest member of the UPC family, a New Xerox 700 Digital Press. This new press is extremely fast at 70 pages per minute. That is 10 pages more than our previous Xerox 5000 digital press. The quality is unmatched by any other digital press and best of all, it is our newest initiative in advancing our company towards being more eco-friendly.

The Xerox 700 Digital Press uses Xerox’s Patented Emulsion Aggregation Toner or EA Toner for short. This special toner has several advantages over standard toners – it is more efficient, uses less energy and is offers more cost savings. Xerox uses nano technology to grow the toner particles to the rights size as opposed to the traditional method of toner production which uses vast amounts of raw materials that is broken down to size.

EA uses 25% less energy and 50% less toner is needed to produce the same quantity of prints conventional toner would have used. But don’t let the lack of toner fool you. The new Xerox 700 prints out some of the sharpest and most detailed colour prints that you will ever see. The quality of output from this digital press is the closest that any digital press has come to offset presses. These high quality colour prints makes this press ideal for catalogues, manuals, bi and tri-fold brochures, mailers, Variable Prints, postcards, presentations and photo speciality products including photo books and calendars. Also, this technology was developed here in Mississauga and supplies all Xerox customers worldwide providing a much need income into the Canadian economy.

With this new press our capabilities have sky rocketed. We now can run at a combined speed of 192 pages per minute. Now, that is extremely fast. Got a rush job then just send it over to us and watch how fast we can get your job done and back to you so that you can move on to taking care of your customers.

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Why Outsource?

September 8, 2009

Print 74 with Rick

“Focus more on increasing your sales and leave the printing to a company that will augment your business. Ceo & President Zahir Salehmohamed

Most companies still have investments in internal document print and mail facilities but the tide is rapidly changing. Why is document outsourcing growing so rapidly?

Reduce Cost:

The most obvious reason companies consider document outsourcing is to reduce capital investment and on-going expenses for laser printers, mail machines, software, and personnel – all of which are utilized on a part time basis. Strong outsourcing partners offer state-of-the-art production facilities allowing you to pay only for your company’s usage.

Concentrate on Core Competencies:

In a very competitive world, successful companies have become more focused and specialized than ever before. Sales and revenue growth are imperative – building fixed overhead is not. Today, many organizations recognize there is no competitive advantage in building and managing print and mail operations, especially when print and mail will diminish over time with the future transition to electronic documents.

Lack of Internal Expertise:

Few companies can afford to hire a full time staff to research and stay abreast of technology changes in laser printing, mail production software and equipment and postal regulations. Evaluating, purchasing and implementing electronic document technology raise the bar significantly. Thriving outsourcing companies have that specialized expertise – that’s why they are successful. Continued technology advances, increasing wages for the best people and decreasing talent pool insure outsourcing will grow dramatically.

Comparing Costs: In-House vs. Outsourcing

If the primary goal of outsourcing is to reduce costs then why do most companies fail to accurately assess their internal costs? Certainly capital equipment investments in printers, mail machines, servers, supplies, maintenance contracts and operator salaries are easy numbers to obtain – in fact, most studies stop right there. What’s wrong with this comparison?

The outsourcing company, if properly managed, has the same hidden “soft” costs of running any production operation. Therefore, an accurate comparison to an outsourcing quotation should include true in-house costs, not just hard dollar line items in budgets. An example of soft costs rarely addressed is indirect labor cost, such as accounting, budgeting, interviewing, training, recruiting, payroll, benefi ts administration, mailroom management, temporary labor, IT support, building facilities management, vendor contract management, shipping and receiving, purchasing, and mail delivery. What about hidden expenses that are buried in larger line items – warehouse storage space, delivery vehicle usage for mail delivery, various types of insurance, real estate and utility costs, and so on. All of these costs are included in outsource pricing. If the objective is a true, accurate comparison of in-house versus outsourcing, then be prepared to spend some time analyzing real internal costs.

Selecting an Outsourcing Partner:

What selection criteria should you use when all your outsourcing candidates appear equally qualifi ed to perform your work and the pricing is close? How many times have you heard “they are all about the same so I went with my gut feeling”? Basically that means the vendors did a poor job of educating the customer or the customer didn’t put enough effort into understanding the differences in the vendors. Either way, the decision becomes a gamble on future satisfaction. There should be two major considerations in selecting a document outsourcing company. First, the usual outsourcing price quotation is based on what your company is doing currently. A great outsourcing company will ask questions, understanding if you have requirements that are not being met and what you would like to improve. A great outsourcing company will produce two quotes one that compares apples to apples and one with recommendations for improvements and related costs, demonstrating how to reduce production costs.

Secondly, understand the values of the outsourcing company by listening to how they represent their company. Is the sales presentation based on the number of laser printers and mail machines or do they focus more on satisfied customers, quality, and solving your business problems. Is the outsourcing company flexible, willing to make changes as the customers’ needs change or do you get the feeling you have to conform to them. Do their customers really speak highly about the relationship and provide strong recommendations? Has the outsourcing company honored all commitments on service and turnaround with their customers or does support drop after contracts are signed?

The extra investment in looking beyond pricing and capabilities will pay off handsomely insuring a mutually successful outsourcing relationship. Rest assured, all outsourcing companies are not created equal.

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Improve ROI with Variable Data Printing (VDP)

June 23, 2009

hereTo be profitable in any business you need a successful sales and marketing strategy that maximizes revenue and minimizes costs. It needs to provide a good Return on Investment for the business. Direct Marketing coupled with variable data printing provides a very cost effective way to personally approach customers and gain that return.

Variable Data Printing and Response Rates

The biggest benefit of Variable Data is the increase in response rates to your marketing products. A standard mailing piece, which is generalized for the mass public gets approximately a 2% response rate. When you add Variable Data elements into the mix you boost that number from 2 to 15 times the regular rate.  While the rates will vary across different industries and sectors, the general consensus is that Variable Data will 9 out of 10 times produce significantly better rates that age old mass mailings.

How’s it Work?

The effectiveness of Variable data printing lies in its ability to communicate to customers on a personal level because it combines the power of databases with digital printing to create customized marketing pieces efficiently and in large quantities. What you have then is mass customization marketing.

There are two ways to printing Variable Data pieces:

  • A shell is pre-printed in large quantities to gain the efficiencies of full-colour offset printing. This shell is then run through an digital press to print the variable elements such as names, addresses and other custom information.
  • The entire finished piece becomes a custom document run on a digital press which can translate into custom colours, graphics and text content in every piece.

Variable data can essentially be broken down into three levels:

  • Basic Variable Data: this involves changing just the name and address of the piece
  • Version Variable Data: A more detailed level of customization, with text and graphics ganging for groups based on marketing segment
  • Full Variable Data: Fully customized pieces change for each individual on the database.

Picking a Variable Data Printing Supplier

When partnering with a printer, consider their knowledge of variable data printing as well as other services they offer.

They should know:

-          Graphic specifications for best outcome and production efficiency

-          Paper stock

-          Limitations of large blocks of solid or gradient colour

-          Images resolution and gradient colour

-          How the design is affects the final product.

-          Etc

Variable Data Printing is just one step in your marketing process. Look for a printer who encompasses fulfilment services such as mailing, order fulfilment, and kit assemble etc. You want a Print Partner that will cater to your needs today as well as adapt to your needs in the future.

For help with your Variable Printing Project contact the Ultimate Printing Company.

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Maintaining the Customer Experience

May 28, 2009

customer-careThe challenging economy is putting consumer companies such as airlines, banks, and retailers in the difficult position of cutting back the service levels that customers have come to expect in recent years. These companies are closing retail locations, reducing hours of operation, and making do with less staff in stores and call centers. Meanwhile, faced with rising costs, they are also increasing prices, either overtly or through fees. As a result, our customer experience research shows that satisfaction scores are reversing the upward trend of the past few years and actually dropping in a number of industries.

So it’s not surprising that most executives think compromising service levels is a mistake. When senior executives from 11 leading service delivery companies were interviewed, all but one agreed that improving the customer experience is growing in importance to their companies, customers, and competitors.
How can consumer businesses make necessary investments in service while facing the pressure on revenues and costs? Our review of the companies with the best customer service records in ten industries suggests that one key is to minimize wasteful spending while learning to invest in the drivers of satisfaction. Specifically, companies should challenge their beliefs about service and test those beliefs analytically. Many will discover that long-held but seldom-reviewed assertions about what customers really want are wrong.
Consider service levels, specifically average time-to-answer, which is one of the most common metrics used in call centers. Service levels—often based on regulation or historical precedent—are set by call-center managers and then used to calculate staffing requirements. But service levels are challenging to maintain and costly to improve: raising them by 10 percent requires much more than a 10 percent increase in staff.
Companies that closely manage the customer experience have taken a rigorous approach to resetting service levels and, in some cases, are saving money without degrading them or customer satisfaction. In short, these companies have carefully measured the “breakpoints” to find their customers’ true sensitivity to service level changes. One company, a wireless telecommunications services provider, found that its customers had two breakpoints at X and Y seconds on a call; answering the phone immediately (less than X seconds) produced delight, while leaving customers on hold for longer (more than Y seconds) produced strong dissatisfaction (exhibit). Although customers were fairly indifferent to service levels between X and Y, the company’s average time to answer was only loosely managed between these two points.
The company considered raising service levels to the “delight breakpoint” or reducing them to just above the “patience threshold.” Customer-lifetime-value economics pointed to the second option: relaxing service levels but guarding against crossing the patience threshold. The drop in customer satisfaction was negligible, but the savings in staffing were significant, and the company ended up saving more than $7 million annually—much of which was reinvested in improvements to its problem-resolution process.
This scenario isn’t an isolated example. The same principles apply to setting up a new account, scheduling an appointment, answering a nonurgent e-mail, or having customers wait in line. In our experience, most companies that analyze their service levels carefully find that some wait times have become more important to customers than others and that overstaffing to hit service targets that customers don’t care about is costing them money.

At the UPC, we strive to improve our customer experience. We know the value of time and strive to get you your product in the fastest possible time. Our business cards are turned over in just 2-3 business days and 3-4 days for our 4×6 and 5×7 postcards. We recently completed a major booklet order of 6 booklets with 2100 copies each within just 1 week. So for your next major or minor order, get the satisfaction you deserve with the UPC

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

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Successful Event Promotion

May 5, 2009


It’s All About the Fine Print

The print materials used to promote and coordinate an event may very well be the glue that keeps the production together.

Sounds a bit dramatic, right?

Dramatic but true. You can have the perfect venue, book the perfect act, and make sure that all the right people know what’s going down, but in the end, success is in the details, and when it comes to putting on a big production, this means your print material!

Start Strong

Consider getting started by making a list of all the stuff you’re going to need to get printed:

  • Posters

  • Flyers / Club cards

  • Tickets

  • Table tent displays

  • Hang Tags

  • Banners

  • Signs with information and directions to help people find their way around the event.

The list can go on and on. If you’re working with a sponsor, you’ll want to consult with them to make sure you cover everything that’s important to them. They might be providing you with their own print material, OR they might just assume that since they’re coughing up the cash, you’re going to deal with everything else. Crossed wires in this regard can be event-planner suicide, so beware!

The benefit of planning for your print materials early on is that you can send them all to your printer at the same time, and the larger the order, the more likely you are to swing a sweet deal. If your printer can, for example, print your posters and your tickets in the same run, then they can pass the savings in ink and paper on to you.

Printing all your event advertising and facilitating material at the same time also means that you design it all simultaneously. Your print material can help to define the style of your entire event, so it never hurts to have a consistent theme running throughout.

For example, having event tickets that look like mini versions of your advertising posters ensures that ticket-buyers carry a little ad for your event with them wherever they go. A colorful ticket that sends out the right kind of vibe can actually sell itself.

In fact, most print materials that are basically informative can be designed to reflect the style of your event and hence to help sell – not just tickets – but the particular mood or mindset that you’re hoping people will attend with.

Again, as an example, a slick, sexy design theme on all your print material makes sure that everyone will attend dressed to the nines and ready to party, while a tongue-in-cheek vintage design theme will encourage ticket-holders to show up strutting their own unique style and ready for anything.

Follow Through To the Big Night

Once you settle on a great design concept for all of your print material, you might even want to expand the range of influence that it can provide.

For example, instead of printing just one standard flyer, consider having a new design for every week leading up to the event. These flyers can act almost like mini news bulletins, offering ticket-buyers new information and building excitement surrounding your production to a fevered pitch.

Stickers can also be money in the publicity bank. Regardless of the subject matter, people love stickers. They want to have a bunch of them, and they want to stick them up all over the place.

Print companies like The UPC specialize in design and as well as a one stop shop for all your print needs. We can be an immense help in this area. So give us a call for your next event.

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Creativity and the Role of the Leader

April 14, 2009

The Idea in Brief

In today’s innovation-driven economy, understanding how to generate great ideas is an urgent managerial priority. And that calls for major doses of creativity. But many leaders assume creativity is too elusive and intangible to be managed.

It’s true that you can’t manage creativity. But you can manage for creativity, say innovation leaders and experts who participated in a 2008 Harvard Business School colloquium. Among their recommendations for fostering the conditions in which creativity flourishes:

  • Stop thinking of yourself as the wellspring of ideas that employees execute. Instead, elicit and champion others’ ideas.
  • Open your organization to diverse perspectives–by getting people of different disciplines, backgrounds, and areas of expertise to share their thinking.
  • Know when to impose controls on the creative process (such as during the commercialization phase) and when not to (during early-idea generation).

The Idea in Practice

To enhance organizational creativity, consider these practices:

Tap Ideas from All Ranks

  • Elicit ideas from people throughout your organization. Google’s founders Sergey Brin and Larry Page tracked the progress of ideas that came from them versus ideas that bubbled up from the ranks–and discovered a higher success rate in the latter category.
  • Motivate people to contribute ideas by making it safe to fail. Stress that the goal is to experiment constantly, fail early and often — and learn as much as possible in the process. Convince people that they won’t be punished or humiliated if they speak up or make mistakes.
  • Further engage people by being an appreciative audience. Asking questions about a project and providing even a word of sincere recognition can be more motivating than money.

Open Your Company to Diverse Perspectives

Innovation is more likely when diverse people come together to solve a problem. Even within the mind of an individual, diversity enhances creativity. Individuals who have multiple social identities–for instance, Asian and American, female and engineer–display higher levels of creativity when problems require them to draw on their different realms of knowledge.

The lesson? Avoid suppressing parts of people’s identity. For example, craft a culture where female engineers can feel comfortable wearing feminine clothing.

Protect Creatives from Bureaucracy

As a fresh idea travels through an organization toward commercialization, powerful constituencies often beat it into a shape that conforms to the existing model. Protect those doing creative work from this hostile environment by clearing paths for them around obstacles.

Know When to Impose Controls–and When Not To

The early discovery phase of the creative process is inherently confusing and inefficient. So don’t impose efficiency-minded controls during that phase. Instead, apply them when the game has moved from discovery to reliability and commercialization.

Know which phase you’re in, and ensure that people with the right skills (such as ability to manage the handoff to the commercialization phase) are involved in the right stages.

Create a Filtering Mechanism

For every idea with real commercial promise, there are dozens that aren’t worth pursuing. How to winnow out the bad from the good? Have people from a variety of disciplines, functions, and viewpoints act as filters. Also consider using business “accelerators” (outside companies that test product ideas) to gauge their potential.

About the Authors

Teresa M. Amabile is the Edsel Bryant Ford Professor of Business Administration at Harvard Business School in Boston.

Mukti Khaire is an assistant professor at Harvard Business School. The authors gratefully acknowledge the participants in the colloquium “Creativity, Entrepreneurship, and Organizations of the Future,” whose contributions form the substance of this article.

Copyright (c) 2008 Harvard Business School Publishing Corporation. All rights reserved

 

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