Setting Expectations for Post Pandemic Success
By Mark Hinder Responsible for Business Development EMEA,Graphic Communications Group, Ricoh Europe
We saw many agile and creative print specialists adapt their ways of working during the pandemic. We talked about a number of them here. They expanded their portfolios, added new revenue streams and responsively addressed the needs of their clients.
But, as we all scan the future and set expectations, what changes have made a positive impact, what adaptations will remain and what ways of working require improvement? We spoke to leading print service providers who were supported during this challenging time by EDGE – the Ricoh consultancy that delivers tailored post-sales support with tools, advice and methodologies.
They shared their experience of the pandemic and described the actions taken to ensure the continuing success of their operations.
Spencer Slee, Managing Director, Print Evolved, GB
The technology-inspired print company offers bespoke web to print solutions to enable clients to sell and source print. “The timing when we started working with the team couldn’t have been better. We were in the process of planning for our new year and the government road map had just come out for us getting back to normal. EDGE really just helped us in navigating through that. Also, at that time, we were in a period of commercial inertia because of the way we had been operating over the previous nine months. My team, I wouldn’t say was dysfunctional, but it was not firing on all cylinders.
“For us there are two points of value. One – we have got a lot out of subsequently bringing the team together. We have started to work more efficiently and effectively. Structure and discipline are a key value we are getting from working with the EDGE team. Two – I have worked with lots of consultancies over the years and, whilst we will always get value from going through a process like this, we get extra value working with Ricoh and the EDGE team. They understand not just our industry but also our business because we have worked with them for a long time. As well as feedback we also get the insights in terms of the trends and the marketplace that we wouldn’t necessarily get from a general consultancy.
“We have completed some quite robust testing of our existing value proposition and what it delivers to our customers. It would not have been as vigorous if we were doing it ourselves and it has led us to re-evaluate our business plan. The same can be said with our marketing and sales plans. We have always been a very sales driven business but I think it is true to say our planning wasn’t as detailed as it now is. I am excited to see the results and how much of a difference that’s made to our operations.”
Riccardo Pesce, CEO, PRT Group, Italy
The group of operations develops agile document management processes and customisable platforms. “We started in May 2020 at the beginning of the pandemic. The first positive fact was that we were able to share business development opportunities at a time when it was really, really, complicated to do so. Another important value was the expertise in developing ideas with the use of effective tools and strategies that allow you to carry out a business development approach with analytical methods.
“The online meetings organised jointly by Ricoh and IPN (International Printers Network) helped us a lot. We are now working on sales and marketing and we are involving more people from our company including those who have just joined our organisation. “Every aspect of the programme has helped us. From understanding how to start to evaluate a new opportunity to reviewing how to structure your plan and launch it. We have used this approach successfully now to launch a direct to garment online business.”
Philip Dodd, Managing Director, Healeys Print, GB
The company provides world-class, sustainable, high-quality print and marketing services to agencies, businesses, organisations and individuals. “I think there are many positive things that have come out of the pandemic for our business. I saw the reduced turnover as an opportunity to review what we do. As a business we get to a point where we really believe, what I call, our own stuff. We have always done it a certain way and have got to this point over a number of decisions.
“I saw the EDGE programme as a perfect opportunity to actually question some of these deeply held practices, processes and beliefs. Because I realise we don’t know it all. We do get stuck in the day to day. I believed that there would be great value to be found in a deep dive and being asked questions from an external source on the way we operate.
It was challenging, and at times frustrating, because business owners don’t like their thinking being questioned. It’s quite a difficult position to be put in. But actually, as I got into it, the more I looked at it in greater detail. We have had some very searching discussions but with every one of them we have gone away and thought about where they have come from and how we can improve the business. There are certain things that we have already put in place and some we are looking at. I am looking forward to more of it.”