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Self-evaluation: Don't Hide From It

A regular self-evaluation is a project every in-plant should have on its agenda. It can reveal opportunities for improvement and motivate change.

November 2013 By Ed Daniel
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For years we have heard that in-plants are being asked to make do with less. On the heels of this push for efficiency, some in-plants are now receiving an even more challenging request: they are being asked to perform an internal review or to secure an outside evaluation of their operation.

Self-evaluations have always been tricky, even dating back to the ancient Greeks, when Socrates stated in his Apology that he was truly wise in that he did not think he knew what he did not know. Socratic wisdom aside, many times what we do not know is our undoing.

 No matter what situation you find yourself in—from growing volume to reduction of output—a regular self-evaluation is a project every organization should have on its agenda. The opportunity to adjust to the future goals of the parent organization is much more achievable when the operation is doing well in the eyes of its client than when it becomes a question of what value the print service provides. 

Unfortunately, an organization that is humming along and feels no need to do a review of what it is accomplishing is just as vulnerable to a management reassessment of its value as one maintaining its status quo. We have seen situations where the in-plant is surprised by management’s decision to change course in its objectives, which ultimately affects printing and distribution needs. 

Of course, the more critical concern is when the printing organization finds there is simply less to do as a result of lower volumes, or it is spending too much time in unproductive aspects of an evolving business and economy. It is in this climate that an in-plant will be challenged to determine if its vision and value are still valid. 

 Unlike an independent corporation, which will look at its standing in the marketplace, in-plants generally focus on two elements:

  1. Congruence
  2. Savings

Each element lends a specific aspect to the in-plant’s ability to deliver the price, quality, timeliness and other unique capabilities that provide value to the organization. So what would one expect to see in an evaluation of an organization, and what does one do in performing a credible self evaluation?

About the Author

Ed Daniel and his partner Jerry Sampson are consultants with Document Communication Technologies, a full service in-plant print consulting group that has assisted numerous in-plants, both in the United States and abroad. For more information visit DCT Consulting Group at



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