Kimberly (Spitzer) Jordan, Manager Print Production & Fullfilment, Pacific Life
What would be the key message that you would like to convey to our readers about managed print solutions?
I’d like to mention that managed print solution is a vast subject. As I work in the e-division of Pacific Life retirement solutions, in my realm, the concept of managed print solutions is related to marketing materials (from regulatory notices to product brochures). The undertow of digitalization is initiating significant changes; so, it is important to move in tune to it.
Could you please elaborate on how you go about achieving the digital transformation pertaining to print solutions?
When looking at managed print solutions in my department, we handle mainly collateral material and combine a holistic view of both print and digital solutions. Print-on-demand, print to the shelf and standard commercial printing utilizing both digital as well as offset printing hold tremendous importance. It is also essential to have the ability to distribute any material via print, downloads, and emails. But, I believe that accessing things digitally will not throw the need for ink-on-paper.
We are also doing standard commercial printing, but that is also changing with HP having a remarkable footprint in digital printing realm. Secondly, data has become a major part to have the proper insight regarding the whole process.
In light of your experience, please tell our readers about how things have changed?
To answer his question, I would like to mention that even a few years back, everything was available in print. But, now, technology as a driver has brought a dramatic shift. For instance, from applications to marketing materials, everything was dependant on ink-on-paper, but today, we can download or mail client brochure.
In terms of the future, I believe that it is essential to leverage technology in a meditated way since diverse technologies like near field communication (NFC) or the VR can turn a printed piece into a video.
It is essential to leverage technology in a meditated way since diverse technologies like near field communication (NFC) or the VR can turn a printed piece into a video
Please tell us about solution implementation, and how do you identify the right vendor to get the job done?
The process is quite long and composite. We have an all-inclusive idea about our organizational needs and the current technological trends. We generally start with multiple vendors and conduct requests for quotations (RFQ) and requests for proposals (RFP). In addition, we observe closely, a lot of demos to understand how they can address our demands not only in regard to the digital transformation but restrictions or other aspects of our business. To be brief, when we partner a vendor, we try to understand what they think about the upcoming days and how seamlessly they can evolve according to the trends or walk us through the diverse alleys.
Can you tell our readers about the improvements that you have witnessed after achieving the desired digital transformation pertaining to print requirements?
To speak regarding the improvements, I would like to point out that today, we have enabled our clients to get materials irrespective of their diverse demands such as format or time. For instance, if they have to attend a meeting in a short time, they can go to the website to download a PDF or PPT. I will say that we have covered all those areas where we had limitations even a few years back, and it dramatically revamps the user experience.
In terms of the future, what will be the biggest challenges?
The biggest challenge that I see revolves around leveraging technologies like NFC or VR in a streamlined manner. Here, I will say that email is fantastic, and the combination of email and direct mail can help one to reach diverse audiences. The next hurdle that appears due to the digital transformation with the print is analytics. In case of direct mail, we don’t have any information whether it is opened or not. So, according to me, binding analytics with digital transformation is going to be critical for the future to know the audience behavior clearly.
On a typical day, what according to you is the biggest challenge that you face?
Managing inventory and finding KPIs are the biggest obstacles. We are pretty segmented right now due to the prevailing difference between digital and print stuff. My concentration is on bringing those together. And, whenever I look at managed print solutions, my focus is on getting everything covered.
What would be your piece of advice to someone who is embarking on the same career trajectory?
My piece of advice will be to manage change because nothing is going to remain the same. Hence, I will advise to be flexible and open-minded and be agile in leveraging new technologies. Most importantly, it has to be understood that digital transformation will include print. Personally, I believe in trying to foresee the change and that solely depends on research and rigorous study.