Movin' On In
With the Facilities Management approach to customer service, prepress providers and printers can forge mutually beneficial cohabitation arrangements.
By Terri McConnell, Prepress Editor
What's the best way to serve your customer? Up close and personal. That's the concept behind Facilities Management. It's a business model that extends service to the point of dedicating your own resources to meet your customer's needsoften by relocating them to your customer's site.
According to Kevin Karstedt, a New York-based graphics industry workflow consultant, Facilities Management (FM) plays out in our industry in several ways.
• Printers and converters provide FM services to consumer product companies (CPCs) by dedicating on-site sales and customer service personnel, and by "data linking" to streamline ordering, approvals, and forecasting.
• Trade shops, separators, and engravers provide FM to CPCs with on-site sales and service, data-linking, and dedicated graphic services personnel and equipment.
• Trade shops, separators, and engravers provide FM to printers and converters with on-site sales and service personnel, data linking, graphics personnel and equipment, and even state-of-the-art prepress and plating departments located on-site or nearby.
"The main appeal of FM, from the customer's standpoint, is faster, improved service," states Karstedt. "Beyond that, it's the added-value the supplier can bring to the table. The areas of graphic design, prepress, and printing and converting have seen dramatic technical changes over the past decade.
Companies have to invest a great deal to stay on top of new developments and trends. Most CPCs don't want to dilute their efforts in their core business [by becoming printing experts], so they look for suppliers that can offer critical services."
Phototype, a family-owned, Cincinnati-based trade shop that has been specializing in the packaging industry for over 80 years, is one of those suppliers. Chris Deye, the company's marketing manager, says offering FM services is key to building strong customer relationships-with both CPCs and printers.