Europe, Latin America, and other countries have gone the way of commercial print. Remaining relevant within your organization is a key driver to help in-plants continue to thrive in the U.S. Here are five tips to help ensure that your shop stays relevant and continues to grow.

1. You ARE the company. Keep the outside competition honest.

As the face to the world for your organization, you are in a pivotal position to protect its brand and safeguard its confidentiality. You have a vested interest in the success of the organization and can support its mission by driving efficiencies and shedding redundancies. A key way to enhance your operation is through workflow automation that can reduce cost, increase quality and decrease turnaround time.

2. Change the way customers see you.

Perception is a top in-plant problem. You are what others believe you to be. Often poor perception is based on history. Even though old problems have been addressed, the stigma may remain. Go to your customers with a strategy or application they’ll respond to, at an attractive price. Show them pieces of exceptional quality that you’ve produced in the last six months. Talk to them about how you have streamlined your job submission process, improved your proofing practices, changed your pricing policies. Change the perception, and you will change the reality.

3. Color is on the rise. Get in the game.

Color is predicted to grow to nearly 800 billion pages within six years*. Examine your color capabilities. Will your hardware and software meet the color demand next year, the year after? Keep abreast of color technology and be ready to propose hardware and/or software upgrades that will benefit your organization.

4. Think like a commercial printer. Expand your portfolio.

Recognize your competition and beat them at their own game. Who are your customers today? Who do you wish were your customers? More services will increase your value. Check out what outside competitors are providing to your customers. For example, if the marketing department at your organization uses an outside source to print recruitment brochures, find out why. When you identify the shortfall, whether its color quality, variable data, web-to-print submissions, managed document services or something else, you can address the issues and propose ways of bringing the work back in-house.

5. Market your operation. Sell, sell, sell yourself!

Staying relevant requires constant visibility. Create a web and social media presence to make it easy for customers to remember your services. Offer giveaways, such as calendars and capabilities brochures, that customers can keep on their desks. Join customer councils, conduct seminars, host open houses and tours. Instill instant recognition so that your customers think of you first when it comes to printing.

It’s a tough world out there. And with the outside competition encroaching on your turf, it’s time to step up your game. You don’t have to go it alone. Leverage your peers, partners and industry associations, like IPMA and In-Plant Graphics to stay informed, stay on the offensive and stay relevant.

Learn more about the consulting services available to you today to help you achieve these five tips.

*source: Caslon & Co. research