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My Look Back At A PS Year

Production Solutions

ben-harris2014As seen in this month’s issue of DMAW’s Marketing Advents magazine:
As the year comes to a close and you reflect on the experiences you’ve had, ask yourself or others in your organization this question: Are we better off heading into 2015 for all that we endured in 2014?
From my organization’s vantage point, we answer with the following five areas of our business in mind: suppliers and client relationships, transitions, staffing, process improvement, and culture.
Before reflecting on 2014 and looking ahead to 2015, consider some of the meanings of the word endure: undergo, experience, go through, face, brave, bear, withstand, persist, persevere, remain, last and, in my opinion, the most poignant— live on!

Transitions Were Front and Center in 2014

This year, it seemed as though we were experiencing transitions of some kind every other week: for example, moving from the Postnet to the Intelligent Mail bar¬code, transitioning suppliers off accounts and bringing new suppliers on, and transitioning new clients in or existing clients to new agency partners. We also transitioned new staff in and, yes, even existing staff out.
After three years in the making, we transitioned to a new project management platform that improves speed, accuracy, and simplicity for clients and suppliers. We continued to embrace the digital aspect of the industry, too, moving into our third year offering an integrated service model. Overall, from a cultural perspective, we have at long last adopted new company KPIs [key performance indicators] to measure and define our future business plans and success.

Transitions Pointed the Way to 2015

We both learned from these transitions and affirmed what we already knew about change. Self-Imposed transitions keep us relevant in today’s direct marketing indus¬try. It’s often said, “You are only as good as your last mailing or project.”
Staying ahead means constantly pushing clients, suppliers, and colleagues to be better, think more creatively, stay open to feedback, and ask challenging questions.
Unplanned transitions also can lead to opportunities, particularly when we ad¬just our mindset accordingly. That can be tough, especially when losing a long standing client or employee, struggling to solve a challenge, or dealing with an error. And yet, failure, or more importantly our response to failure and how we work through it, builds character, wisdom, and experience, ultimately strengthening our relationships with all involved.
Going it alone can be overwhelming, so teamwork and support at the top of the organization help us withstand and grow through transition.
I hope you find your own reflections back and projections forward to be enlightening and inspiring. May we all ultimately fuel the passion and curiosity needed to make change not only possible, but part of who we are and what we stand for.