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Print Service Providers have probably never been as short on time as they are now, but as Ronen Zioni, HP EMEA GSB Marketing Director explains, dedicating a small amount in some of the flexible training programmes offered by suppliers can pay dividends when it comes to expanding your skills set and promoting the capabilities of your business against the competition.
Let’s face it, if you’re a print service provider supplying the large format/sign sector, you don’t need me to tell you how tough it is doing business right now. Indeed, you’re probably so focused on fulfilling your customers’ needs and trying to drum up new business to have any spare time to promote your capabilities and market yourself as well as you would like.
If that’s the case, then you’re even less likely to have the time to extend your service offering by exploring new application opportunities to sharpen your competitive edge. Be that as it may, achieving this and understanding how to sell such capabilities to your customers can often be the catalyst to differentiating yourself as a company and winning new business.
Maximise the potential
Successful businesses become just that, not by standing still and deploying a comparatively limited range of services. Instead, such companies typically re-invest in new hardware periodically to stay abreast of technological change and ensure they’re able to deliver the breadth of graphic arts projects demanded by customers. However, it’s one thing to own an innovative large format inkjet printer, but understanding its potential and maximising its feature-rich capabilities and applications versatility, is another.
Right now, you’re probably being asked by customers to deliver a greater variety of services, and I would be somewhat surprised if the green issue hasn’t also arisen when it comes to customers’ needs. This in itself presents another round of questions to those who have invested in wide format printing technology. What are the key issues around sustainability? What are the market drivers that are fuelling the issue? How does this affect my customers in terms of their own requirements? And – most pertinent – how, with my sustainable wide format print offering, can I position myself to meet these needs, satisfying not only application demands but also environmental requirements.
You will be pleased to hear that some of the foremost equipment and solutions suppliers to the industry are well aware of both the need for PSPs to address these concerns and the inevitable lack of time available to actually do so.
Time to train
Previously, expanding your professional knowledge would have entailed dedicating huge chunks of time away from the business – perhaps attending college-based training courses, or seminars that invariably took place when you were flat-out trying to get that important job out of the door.
The good news is that times have changed and savvy suppliers are more aware of the fact that flexibility is critical and that any form of training must fit around your business and not vice-versa.
Some of the best programmes available from manufacturers are those that enable users to follow simple, convenient training that is undertaken in your own time and at your own pace. These might comprise a mix of tools, such as workshops, online webinars and instructional guides that serve as informative cook books offering tips and tricks on key outdoor and indoor wide format graphic applications.
The objective is the same – to ensure users get the most from their printer investment, so it’s worth checking with your supplier to see if they offer such training. After all, it could ultimately hold the key to unlocking the potential of your print hardware and generating new revenue streams.
Our own such programme, Latex University, launched in November and is available to users of HP Latex Printers. It has been designed on such a model to enable users to access a comprehensive set of resources and training materials to help sharpen competitiveness, market their green credentials and boost versatility by injecting some ‘wow factor’ into their service capability. By following this flexible training, users can develop their knowledge around new applications and substrates which might, for example, see them explore textile printing or vehicle wrapping.
Of course, as I’ve alluded to earlier, enhancing the marketability of one’s service offering goes hand in hand with appreciating the importance of environmental sustainability and the impact it has on the supply chain. As you will be well aware, requests for sustainable printing are on the rise, and it is the major brand owners who are leading the charge.
Our own training programme includes a dedicated free and downloadable HP EcoSolutions training course which trains PSPs to ‘go green’. This course helps users build a long-term commitment to sustainability and successfully market their green credentials to the growing number of like-minded customers.
Whether during challenging trading conditions or in a flourishing economy, investing even a small amount of time to strengthen your product offering, develop your sustainable printing capability and communicate these new capabilities successively to your customer base, could boost your business and create new growth opportunities.