HR Corner: Expert Advice on Performance Management
Claudia St. John is president of Affinity HR Group LLC, a consulting firm and PSDA partner that specializes in providing human resources assistance to associations and their member companies. St. John has been a highly rated speaker at several PSDA events, including the annual Print Solutions Conference & Expo, and writes many of the "Final Thoughts" columns on the back page of Print Solutions magazine.
In this section of the Print Solutions e-Newsletter, St. John responds to recent human resources-related questions that may impact you and your business. Have a question for Claudia? Send your query via email and your question may be answered in a future edition of HR Corner. Watch Claudia St. John and Lisa Ritchie discuss some of the common questions they receive from PSDA member companies here.
All PSDA member companies receive discounted pricing on Affinity HR Group's wide variety of services. For more information, visit the group's website.
Q: I have to fire a longtime employee. He has stopped performing, shows up late, leaves early and has been making mistakes. What's the best way to handle it?
A: Terminations are the hardest part of any manager's job. We believe firmly that the best way to terminate an employee is to handle it the same way you would want to be terminated: with respect and dignity. We use the “golden rule.” A progressive disciplinary program is the best way to do this. Start with a conversation with your employee, outlining your concerns and listening to theirs. (The emphasis here is on listening, which is the most important part!) From there, move to a written warning, probation and termination. You should have a formal disciplinary policy that describes this process so everyone knows what to expect. Finally, if you are certain this employee's behavior won't improve and you must fire him, do so in a setting that is dignified, private and safe for all parties. To do so in any way that is humiliating will exacerbate his suffering and will do damage to the morale of your employees.
Q: It is time for our annual performance review process. It seems stale and none of us are sure it's changing behavior or motivating people. What do you recommend?
A: Over time, performance review processes can get stale or, worse, irrelevant. There are a number of things you can do. First, you can change the ranking system. If you rate performance from 1 to 10, change it to 1 to 3, or use descriptors such as “Fails to Meet Expectations” to “Exceeds Expectations.” Sometimes we just need a new measuring tool to make the process interesting. Second, provide specific examples of what “Exceeds Expectations” or excellent performance looks like. Often, providing examples of top performance gives managers the context necessary to more accurately measure or assess performance. Finally, when providing the actual performance review, use specific examples of the employee's typical behavior. When an employee is provided with specific examples of how their behavior is average or lower, he or she is more likely to be aware of what is necessary to improve performance. And if you really want to shake things up, do all three!
Give the Gift of Print Solutions Magazine
Last week, PSDA introduced a special customer appreciation program that allows PSDA member company manufacturers and suppliers the one-time opportunity to provide a six-month gift subscription to Print Solutions magazine to their customers who may not be PSDA members. "Give the Gift of Print Solutions" is one of several programs designed to extend PSDA's reach in order to grow membership and increase awareness of PSDA in the broader industry. This program creates an easy touchpoint with your existing customers. Read more.
An Industry Fast Fact from PSDA Partner Two Sides
With a reading time of 30 minutes per day, the environmental impact of a web-based newspaper is, in general, the same range as a printed newspaper. For more myths and facts, visit the Two Sides website.
ProDocumentSolutions Introduces Recycled, High-End Security Paper
ProDocumentSolutions, a PSDA member provider of secure documents and products, recently began offering a 100 percent post-consumer waste (PCW) high-end security paper trademarked SafeImage+™. Along with being the first environmentally friendly security paper, SafeImage+ also incorporates extraordinary security layers, which will substantially hinder fraud attempts. These security layers include a custom designed three-dimensional true watermark with unique security and recycle images, UV dull, toner adhesion on both sides, UV visible green and gold fibers, invisible UV orange fibers, five chemical stain protection and is fully MICR/OCR compliant.
Calibrated Announces Winner of 3D TV Giveaway Campaign
PSDA member Calibrated, a division of Ennis Inc., recently announced Mike Bates at Donis Corporation (pictured, left) as the winner of its 3D TV Giveaway Campaign. Calibrated, a manufacturer of medium to long run traditional and integrated forms, entered participants into a drawing promoting its stock and custom envelopes and unit sets. Calibrated was established in 1985 and acquired by Ennis, Inc. in 2002. The company creates high quality integrated cards and labels, and the Enfusion® product line integrates multiple functions into one printed form.
Wright Enterprises Expands Management Team
PSDA member Wright Enterprises Holding Co. (parent company of Wright Business Graphics and Wright Imaging) recently announced the addition of Jeff Trump as vice president/general manager of the company's Chino, Calif., facility. Most recently, Trump was the vice president of operations for Cenveo and managed multiple, highly diverse manufacturing facilities including PrintXcel, Printegra, Nashua Label and RX Technologies.
“We are excited to have Jeff joining our senior management team as we continue to transform the legacy business from its traditional printing roots. We are committed to realigning and expanding our product and service offerings to better serve our customers,” said Dan Adkison, president and COO. “Jeff is a 35-year veteran of the printing and graphics arts industry and brings to this position diverse and complementary operations, supply chain management, business building and customer relations skills.”
“The decision to join Wright Business Graphics was an easy one for me,” Trump (pictured, right) said. “I was impressed with the high level of integrity exhibited by senior management, which includes a focus on the company's most important assets: their people. I believe my extensive experience and industry knowledge aligns well with the needs of the company and their strategic plans for the future.”
Bristol ID Technologies Wins Award from International Card Manufacturers Association
PSDA member Bristol ID Technologies recently was recognized by the prestigious International Card Manufacturers Association's Élan Awards as winner in the Access Control and ID Badge category. Bristol ID won this esteemed industry award for its Little League 2011 World Series ID Badge entry. Security was a great concern for the Little League World Series, and by utilizing embedded translucent foil and a specialized surface stamping technique, strong visual security was obtained. This oversized ID credential became a cherished souvenir for participants, leaving a lasting impression of a memorable event.
“Receiving this esteemed honor from ICMA is a testament to our commitment to producing exceptional product,” said Diane Morsch, director of sales and marketing at Bristol ID. “We are pleased to have our work acknowledged for its excellence in quality and design by the premier awarding body in the card manufacturing industry. The outstanding work we deliver has led our customers to rely on Bristol ID as their manufacturer of choice.”
Relyco Increases Customer Base, Expands Across All Vertical Markets in Q1 2012
PSDA member Relyco, a leading provider of value-added business printing and payment solutions, recently announced the completion of a successful 2012 first quarter in which the company grew its customer base with the addition of more than 650 new customers. With the introduction of the Paymode-X ePayment Network, a partnership with Ricoh Canada and the hiring of a new vice president of ePayment solutions, Relyco continued to experience significant growth while establishing itself as an industry leader in business printing and payment solutions.
In Q1 2012, Relyco significantly increased its customer base and expanded existing business across all vertical markets for its entire line of products. Some notable new customers included Amtrak, Discovery Cove Orlando, Hershey Entertainment and Resorts, Kraft Foods Inc., Pac-12 Conference and many federal government agencies. “I'd like to congratulate the entire Relyco team on a great first quarter, as everyone stepped up to contribute to our successful start to 2012,” said Mike Steinberg, president of Relyco. “One of the most exciting developments in the first quarter was the launch of our Paymode-X ePayment Network. Many of our customers are now investigating how to streamline their accounts payable operations by transitioning from paper-based check payments to more efficient ePayment solutions.”
Crossing Over from PSP to MSP
MyPrintResource (05/07/2012) Whitcher, Joann
As PSPs make the transition to marketing service providers (MSPs), they must become familiar with using cross-media services such as personalized mail and email, mobile applications, SMS text messaging and Intelligent Mail Barcodes. There is broad agreement within the industry that a well-considered strategy is essential for any company looking to become an MSP. The company must know what its target goals are and why, according to Clemson University graphic communications professor John Leininger.
InterlinkONE CEO John Foley recommended that firms make sure to "write the business plan and the marketing plan." He said that "in many cases, becoming a marketing services provider is very similar to starting a new business. Take the time to build strategies and plans that will support this. Create financial projections. Identify the right resources. If you do this work ahead of time, the actual transition will be much smoother."
It also is recommended that companies assess their current operation and analyze currently entrenched inventory and skill sets. Companies must exhibit leadership with a concentration on marketing and new business development if they are to find cross-media success. "To succeed, you must get your employees on board with the transition," Foley said. "You should provide education and other training on why your company is changing, how you will do it, and what it will take internally and externally."
There also must be technological considerations, and companies will have to streamline production and use cross-media tools from EFI, XMPie, Dalim, Pageflex or other leading vendors. XMPie sells variable data publishing software that integrates customer databases and creative content to take advantage of customer data and generate personalized, multiphase campaigns that use print, web, email and mobile. Measurement is critical in the cross-media domain, and Leininger said that once a firm engages in cross-media marketing, it will have to know how it will track and quantify the process, how it will analyze the outcomes and how it will disclose its return on investment to its clients.
Leininger also pointed out that firms must think like customers and make sure they understand their business. "Start living in the world that your customers do; subscribe to marketing magazines and newsletters and attend marketing-focused webinars, conferences and trade shows," Foley said. "This will help you to be better equipped for understanding your customer's challenges beyond the production of a printed piece."
Leaders offering cross-media marketing services and equipment vendors can be tapped as resources for companies seeking advice and knowledge on their transition to MSPs. "What we found in our research is that becoming a cross-media marketing services provider is an evolution, not a revolution," said Lisa Cross with InfoTrends' Business Development Strategies. "Successful providers started with variable data and web storefronts, basic data services, online offerings and personalized URL capability. The next phase expands capabilities into more extensive campaign management, data mining and analytics, CRM, mobile barcode tracking and marketing automation. Finally, adding mobile is the next stage in the evolution."
Print Solutions Magazine: May 2012 issue
Check out the May issue of Print Solutions magazine for more insight on becoming a true marketing services provider (MSP). The cover story, written by Darin Painter, discusses important lessons industry leaders have learned during their transition from print providers to MSPs. In another article, Painter offers tips on starting your next marketing move.
Also, Professor John Leininger, who is featured in this article, is speaking at the Print Solutions Conference & Expo in a session titled "Demonstrating ROI in Integrated Marketing Campaigns." Click here to learn more.
Functional Self-Adhesive Labels for the Food and Beverage Market
Labels & Labeling (05/14/12) Lejeune, Jules
Self-adhesive labels offer a multifunctional solution in food and beverage retailing "that will both simplify accurate workflow and product throughput and provide an invaluable additional level of product authentication," according to Finat managing director Jules Lejeune. He said that "self-adhesive labels have established an unmatched reputation for reliability, coupled with versatility, in every respect. They are a preferred choice because of the extremely stable nature of the self-adhesive 'sandwich' — a laminate of printable facestock, adhesive and the release liner which carries it along the press. Delivered in long or short reels, conveniently still on their backing liner, the labels are ready for accurate, legible personalization by any of today's variable information printing (VIP) technologies to deliver a unique identifier."
The labels' various roles include identifying single items at the retail point of sale in catchweigh applications. Lejeune cited the label's dual-purpose readability roles for properly identifying contents for consumers and allowing sales assistants to scan the items' barcodes at the checkout. The labels also can fulfill an important role in product authentication and tamper evidence, Lejeune noted. He pointed to variance in the actual substrate to which the labels will be applied and said that "self-adhesive labels offer a choice of adhesives delivering reliable adhesion, whatever the circumstances."
Lejeune emphasized that the label's facestock, or printable surface, must be capable of conforming to the pack to which it is affixed, and this can be challenging when it comes to curved or uneven surfaces. "Additionally, clear readability is essential (either by the naked eye, or with scanners)," Lejeune said. "The imaging methods used for such labels also, therefore, make demands on the choice of label facestock.
Self-adhesive labels may or may not be pre-printed and are capable of using all the types of VIP available today, including direct thermal, thermal transfer, inkjet and laser print processes, according to Lejeune. He observed that the retail market is primarily served by the mature direct thermal technology. "It offers ease and reliability of use for short-life applications and delivers relatively low-cost quality barcodes at reasonable print speeds," Lejeune said. "These characteristics also make direct thermal an obvious choice for transit product identification and tracking labels, e.g., for parcel distribution, as well as for outer case and pallet markings."
Lejeune described thermal transfer as "one of the most flexible variable information print technologies due to the variety of ribbons and printable receiver label materials (many UL approved) available and its ability to print in color. It is primarily used in industrial applications." Lejeune also observed that inkjet print is penetrating the functional label market, "with sell-by dates and other identifiers often added during the reel-to-reel printing of primary product labels for packaged foods on modular presses, which can include a digital print unit."
Sound From Paper: Researchers Create Printed Loudspeakers
Forbes (05/06/12) Hicks, Jennifer
Researchers at the Institute for Print and Media Technology of Chemnitz University of Technology (pmTUC) in Dusseldorf announced the creation of loudspeakers printed on standard paper. The devices were produced by printing several layers of a conductive organic polymer and a piezoactive layer onto a piece of paper. A cable is utilized to run music from a computer or MP3 player, which causes the layers to vibrate against each other and pump out sound. The speakers can generate sound up to 80 decibels, which is about equal to that of a ringing telephone or alarm clock.
"Frequency response and sound quality are very good, and the paper is surprisingly loud," said pmTUC researcher Georg Schmidt. "Just the bass of the paper-based loudspeaker is a bit weak." The researchers said the speakers can be fabricated cheaply thanks to polymers' mass printing potential. The speakers boast a high level of flexibility, while the sound they produce gets better the more the paper is bent. This creates an opportunity for new forms of intelligent packaging which could support a new niche market for advertisers.
About $13 billion is expected to be generated by printable electronics by 2016. The researchers said the paper speakers also could be integrated into common printed products, packaging and containers which could have market potential for the advertising industry.
PSDA Blog Can you see printed loudspeakers becoming relevant in the print industry? Give us your two cents on the PSDA Blog.
Incorporating QR Codes Into Multichannel Campaigns
Chief Marketer (05/09/12) Viveiros, Beth Negus
QR Codes have the potential to increase the reach and ROI of integrated marketing campaigns. However, marketers often treat QR Codes as a gimmick to fill in white space in an ad, and their efforts do not work because the strategy was not well thought out, said Jim Levinger, president of Q-Ray Media. QR Codes are a visual hyperlink that should be viewed as a component of an integrated marketing campaign, according to Levinger, who also said more B2B marketers are starting to incorporate QR Codes into print ads, whitepapers, event brochures and other promotional pieces.
Levinger offers "4Ms" to making QR Codes a successful part of a marketing initiative, and the first step is to motivate, or get the user to scan the QR Code. The second step is to mobilize by having a destination that is suitable to phones, tablets and any mobile device. The third step is to monitor by implementing systems that allow marketers to understand the results of promotions and differentiate results from various channels and offers. The fourth step is to monetize, which can be difficult for many marketers. Services like Q-Ray can manage the process, using a bit-ly type URL that would direct information to their servers with a unique identifier for each QR Code to allow a client to see what scans occurred and when.
2013: The Year of Managed Print Services (Really; Here's Why)
MSPmentor.net (05/07/12) Panettieri, Joe
MSPmentor's Joe Panettieri said that 2013 will be the year that managed print services (MPS) will find mainstream acceptance by managed services providers (MSPs), according to five emerging trends. He said the conversation about MPS is now spilling into MSP-focused meetings hosted by software companies. Most demos show remote monitoring and management (RMM) software platforms currently handling a wide spectrum of printers from all of the major printer makers.
Panettieri also observed that the past several months have witnessed the integration of the managed print dashboard with RMM and professional services automation software and dashboards. Another key driver for MPS is the fact that endpoint devices such as multifunction printers are expected to never go obsolete. Panettieri also reported that startups, with no specific printer preference, are starting to assist MSPs with MPS. He cited the example of DocuWise, which makes the proprietary managed Print Environment System Organization print platform. DocuWise said it integrates with most of the major help desk and accounting systems.
"I'm aware of at least one major MSP with managed print services expertise that will soon be acquired," Panettieri said. "I believe 15 percent of the MSP's revenues come from managed print services, but that 15 percent is the most valuable revenue stream, according to the potential buyer." By late 2011, 30 percent of MSPs completing the annual MSPmentor 100 survey reported offering MPS, and Panettieri projected that "that figure will jump sharply again when we launch the sixth annual MSPmentor 100 survey in October 2012. And then, perhaps 2013 will finally be the year of managed print services."
AT&T Launches Mobile Point-of-Sale App for Companies
DM News (05/08/12) DeLuna, JoAnn
AT&T has teamed up with VeriFone to roll out VeriFone GlobalBay Solutions, a mobile application that store employees can use for various point-of-sale tasks, according to Igor Glubochansky with AT&T mobile marketing solutions. Retailers can install and tailor the app on cell phones and tablets so employees can scan items, apply coupons and discounts and complete credit card transactions. "It brings the entire store into a sales associate's iPad or phone where [he or she] can see inventory, process credit cards, show photos and enroll them in loyalty programs and complete the cycle," Glubochansky said.
Glubochansky said AT&T opted to develop the product as a response to business customers' requests for such a solution. The app completes AT&T's existing series of marketing products for companies, which includes Quick Response Codes and messaging services. "Customers don't want to wait in line or stand around as a sales person runs off to find information on a product — they want great service in a timely manner," said AT&T Business Solutions executive Chris Hill.
Web Marketing: Unleashing the Power of Data
MyPrintResource (05/01/2012) Starr, Tawnya
Data is nothing more than information, and analytics is a fancy way of saying a print provider needs to examine its website and take a look at how it is performing. Website analytics can reveal whether a website is providing answers, solutions and is bringing in business, or is driving potential clients to the next printing solutions company. The basics of website analytics, which include the total number of visitors, actions that individuals have taken and time visitors spend on the site, represent the starting point and can help reveal whether a print provider is getting the bang for its bucks.
A print provider that is getting traffic but has a very low time per visit might want to start considering ways to compel visitors to stay longer, by focusing on web design, content, relevance and ease of use. Bounce rate refers to the frequency with which someone exits a site from the homepage without looking at any other pages on the site, and a healthy bounce rate for an average website for a printing solutions company should be around 20 percent. A printing solutions company that has a bounce rate of more than 20 percent should consider whether their website uses printing jargon rather than the language that customers speak, and should give them a reason to click to other pages. Analytics also can reveal the location customers come from, the keywords entered to arrive at the website, the content that most attracts visitor attention and the source of traffic. A best practice for understanding analytics is to spend 15 minutes each month with some thought-provoking numbers.
Spangler Candy Licks Expansion Challenge With Personalized Lollipop Labels
Packaging Digest (04/25/12) Pierce, Lisa McTigue
Spangler Candy has rolled out a personalized lollipop labeling program for its Saf-T-Pop lollipop line, using QuickLabel Systems' Vivo! Touch color label printer to produce the labels. The company wished to add personalized packaging to smaller orders of its Saf-T-Pop lollipops, but Spangler Executive Jim Knight knew that breaking into existing packaging line volumes to label smaller orders with customized labels would be too expensive.
Thanks to the Vivo! Touch, Spangler now has the flexibility to print personalized Saf-T-Pop labels in short runs without interrupting its main packaging lines. "With the Vivo! Touch, we're able to print the label and apply it in a separate facility — it allows us to have a side operation where we can customize for the consumer," Knight said. "With the Vivo! Touch color label printer, we're able to reach a market that we'd not been able to reach before."
Personalized Saf-T-Pops are appealing to families who want customized party favors, while safety-conscious organizations such as hospitals, police and firefighting associations and others also buy Saf-T-Pops to give away lollipops with customized safety messages. Businesses such as restaurants, hair salons and banks thank their customers by buying Saf-T-Pops personalized with logos and special messages as giveaway items.
Snail Mail Ads Play Role in Digital Age
Times Herald-Record (NY) (04/22/12) Walsh, James
Businesses continue to rely on direct-mail advertising as a marketing tool, especially those that want to target for customers by location or demographics that can include age, income, family size, number of cars in a household and political affiliations. Direct mail is seen as offering advantages in the digital age, considering the prevalence of spam filters and overloaded electronic mailboxes. Direct-mail advertising accounted for 27 percent of the U.S. Postal Service's revenue in 2011; advertising mail increased by 500 million pieces from 2010 to 2011. "As long as consumers use the mail, businesses will continue to receive significant value from their investment in direct mail," said Postal Service spokesman George Floodl.
Response rates have held steady, with the Direct Marketing Association reporting 3.42 percent for letter-size envelopes sent to past customers of a business, and 1.38 percent for prospective customers. Political campaigns are big users, and the deluge should be particularly heavy this year due to congressional redistricting and the presidential race. Businesses considering direct-mail marketing should always make an offer in a mailing, define their customer and use that information to market to other geographical areas. Also, businesses should use email to enhance direct mail and be prepared to make multiple mailings to establish recognition.
MTL Print Moves Into North America
PrintWeek (05/10/12) Ward, David
Israel-based MTL Print is formally entering the North American market with its Meital 304D digital flatbed press for packaging, signage and wide format printing. "The Meital 304D was developed as a digital alternative to both screen printing and Flexo printing in medium to long runs," said MTL Business Development Vice President Itay Shalit. "This, by nature, directed us to the packaging and signage market. We gauged the water in the last year with U.S. players in these fields and found our initial thoughts to be correct: the Meital 304D does offer the alternative. This, together with the positive economic signs in the United States, makes us optimistic about the fit to the market here."
MTL Print recently showcased the Meital 304D at an open house at one of its initial installs, Parallax Digital Studios in Kennesaw, Ga. "Our initial experiment was East Coast and the Midwest," Shalit said. "But with our Atlanta office, we now intend to roll out nationally. In fact, a lot of the open house attendants are from the West Coast." The Meital 304D enables lower ink consumption than traditional flexo and lower labor costs and seamless changeover between prints.
Visual Marketing Systems Loves to Print Green
Patch.com (05/15/12) Cooper, Mitch
Twinsburg, Ohio-based Visual Marking Systems (VMS) reports it has received certification from the Sustainable Green Printing Partnership (SGP) as a Certified Green Printer. The family-owned business has been producing high-performance custom design graphics for more than 50 years. SGP is an independent nonprofit organization that provides certification labeling for the graphics communications industry with a goal of providing a framework for manufacturers in the graphics and printing industry to move beyond simple recycled content materials and address all aspects of the print manufacturing process. VMS was already working to provide a facility that had less of an impact on the environment. A sustainability team had already been established, and that team had already identified areas of improvement and implemented tactics to make the manufacturer more sustainable. Through the certification process, VMS was able to take their plant further and make the necessary changes to ensure certification.
Sears Rolls Out Hyper-Local Shopping Site
Crain's Chicago Business (05/07/12) Sweeney, Brigid
Sears announced the establishment of SearsLocalAd.com, a nationwide hyper-local shopping site that offers hundreds of weekly geographic deals outside the print ad circular. SearsLocalAd.com allows shoppers to access tools such as ratings, reviews and product comparisons. In addition, shoppers can generate and print shopping lists that they can transmit to their mobile devices and share with friends and relatives through email, the Shop Your Way Rewards program, Facebook or Twitter.
"Giving our customers new services and conveniences like a real-time window into the selection and savings specific to their nearby store is a great example of how the future of integrated shopping is here today at Sears," said Sears Executive Imran Jooma. Sears is betting on its online strategy to reconnect with shoppers who have spurned the retailer in recent years. The announcement of millions of dollars worth of technological investment comes in the wake of years of negative press that Sears has insufficiently invested in its stores, causing sales to drop every year since the 2005 merger of Sears and Kmart.
Abstract News © Copyright 2012 INFORMATION, INC.