Howie Fenton

Howie Fenton

Howie Fenton is an independent consultant who focuses on analyzing/benchmarking the performance of printing operations. Fenton helps companies use metrics, best practices and workflow strategies to streamline operations. Call (720) 872-6339 or email howie@howiefentonconsulting.com

How Leading In-plants Prepare a Battle Plan

The first time we heard the term “battle book” was in an IPMA panel discussion by Catherine Ciardi, the director of Document Services for Excellus BlueCross BlueShield. Ciardi held up her battle book and described it as a tool to help her in-plant battle the threats made by outsourcers and facilities management (FM) firms claiming…

Could Innovation Be a Critical Success Factor for In-plants?

The word “innovation” is not one of the typical subjects discussed in trade magazines or at shows, but maybe it should be. Considering the relentless outsourcing threats and fierce competition in-plants face, perhaps innovation should be a critical success factor for in-plants.

In-plant Market Size, Trends and Battle Plans

As I write this, 2016 is coming to an end, and there are three things worth remembering. First, it’s been a year since I joined IMG (Integrated Methods Group), and I am happy to say that I continue to work with and research in-plant service providers. In fact, immediately after joining IMG, we were contracted…

The Pros and Cons of Web-to-Print

When Web-to-print services were originally offered in e-commerce solutions, they were nothing more than curious novelties. Today, offering Web-to-print services has become an essential part of an in-plant’s arsenal. While the advantages are significant, there are challenges as well. In this article we will discuss both and outline a strategy to help avoid the typical…

Leading In-plants Measure, Report and Improve Performance

Want to improve the performance of your in-plant? That’s a no-brainer. In-plant managers and their supervisors all understand the importance of keeping in-plant operations in peak condition. But don’t wait until you’re under the gun to measure performance.

Web-to-print Leaders and Laggards

Last month I was part of the In-plant Graphics webinar titled “Cracking the Code to Web-to-print Success.” It was a very interesting webinar, which featured a presentation by Jim Sinclair, production manager at the International Association of Lions Clubs, about how his PTI Web-to-print system was critical in his ability to increase sales and reduce outsourcing.

Some Questions are Threats in Disguise

Have you ever noticed that certain questions, just by the way they are asked, are really hidden threats? If you work in an in-plant, you may occasionally hear some of these questions. As someone offering consulting services, I often see them in RFPs or request for proposals for evaluations. If you ever hear these questions you should prepare to battle the possible allegations that will follow.

A New In-plant Challenge Emerges

I've seen a disturbing trend in which in-plants that were performing well and did not appear to be under scrutiny were suddenly surprised to hear that they were closing. They were achieving their goals; some reported huge savings, and others talked about how happy their customers were.

Improving Your In-plant

Cyclical and structural changes are reducing the demand for printed products. The cyclical changes are tied to the economy, while structural changes come from technologies that are disruptive to the printing industry, such as the Internet/e-mail, cell phones and e-books, among others.