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Seebridge Media Delivers: Integrated Offerings Meet Customer Needs
In an industry where consolidation is the rule and not the exception, providing the right customer solutions and supporting workflow is critical. Larry Vaughn and Steve Johns understood the importance of getting this right as they consolidated their operations to form Seebridge Media.
Seebridge Media (Houston, TX) was formed by the merger of Ideal Printers and PrintMailers, Inc. The two companies were friendly competitors, but opted to merge in March 2012 to extend product capabilities and better serve customers. The combined company employs a staff of over 150 and supports agencies, publishers, education, non-profit, financial, healthcare, and automotive industries with a broad portfolio of media production services.
Before the companies officially merged, owners Larry Vaughn (Ideal Printers) and Steve Johns (PrintMailers) identified the top challenges associated with the consolidation and laid out a plan to address them. These challenges included aligning different organizational cultures and integrating production workflows.
Vaughn explains, “The biggest negotiation between Steve and I during the merger was not on how the merger was going to take place, but on what and how we would offer services to customers. During this process, we examined our combined customer base, considered these customers’ needs, assessed the automated tools currently in place at each company, and then decided what direction we wanted to go in.”
The combination of customers and workflows exposed how many different inputs and customer types each company had, so standardizing workflow became a top priority. Both companies supported solid workflow before the merger, but the united company needed to find tools and partners that could enhance production efficiencies and better automate operations. Seebridge Media understands that workflow automation increases throughput by reducing touchpoints. Process automation is a driving force behind the company’s integration and implementation of workflow tools and systems.
Seebridge Media offers a wide range of digital printing products that leverage various hardware systems. “While we still have multiple systems in place, our most used system is Océ PRISMAprepare® workflow software,” Seebridge Media Vice President Tim Gandre explains. “It takes traditional prepress work away from that department and allows us to quickly and accurately perform those tasks at the press. For example, we have customers that make frequent content changes to presentations printed as a wire-o booklet. These jobs are typically created in PowerPoint or other hard-to-print file types, and they often have last-minute client updates such as adjustments in tabs or inserted pages. Océ PRISMAprepare workflow software helps us to easily manage these tasks at press, ultimately saving us time and resources and making us more efficient.”
Regarding Seebridge Media’s end-to-end workflow, Gandre explains that it was not an overnight integration. He elaborates, “It required a lot of time, hardware, and software investments. Now, however, we are automated from the customer’s production management system through shipping.” Customers’ management information systems (MIS) are linked to Seebridge Media’s FTP and into its systems. Orders are processed automatically and sent through the necessary production steps. Gandre continues, “Without this automation, we couldn’t handle the amount of files and moving pieces it would take to do this work. During busy times of the year, we process over 5,000 orders per day and create nearly 50,000 individual components.” These investments have deepened Seebridge Media’s relationships with customers, and the integration between systems is a testament to its print-on-demand capabilities.
Seebridge Media has a roadmap to continue its integration and automation process improvement, including cross-media, advanced mailing, and other complex processes. The company continues to identify manual processes in prepress that can be automated. Ultimately, profitability and customer success are linked to automation.
In wrapping up, Vaughn concluded, “Workflow is a journey and not a destination. We will evolve continually to meet the changing needs of our customer base. We need to deliver integrated offerings that make it easy to do business with us and meet customer demands for quality, speed, affordability, and effective and relevant communications.”