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The key ingredients behind a successful print business?

Updated: Nov 15, 2023

What are the key ingredients behind a successful print business? 

In 1962, US President John F. Kennedy visited NASA in Washington D.C. for the first time. During his tour of the space centre, he met a janitor who was carrying a broom down the hallway. He interrupted his tour, walked over to the man and said, “Hi, I’m Jack Kennedy. What are you doing?”

“Well, Mr. President,” the janitor responded, “I’m helping put a man on the moon.”

The cleaner had great respect for the President, for his own job, for his own purpose, for his own colleagues – and most importantly, for himself.

Respect for ourselves and our purpose

The janitor knew that he had to clean the hallway to perfection, because NASA was built on elite performance and precision, and he respected that. He also knew that if he didn’t do his job properly, anyone could slip, including Neil Armstrong.

Rather than seeing his job as siloed from the NASA scientists and the astronauts, he knew he was an integral part of a team making history.

High performing teams thrive on genuine conversations, such as the one between the janitor and the President. Openness, honesty and trust are cornerstones to efficiency of process and error aversion. In print, the margin for error is very fine, but the stakes are incredibly high. One low resolution graphic, one oversaturated photograph, or the finest spec of dirt in a machine, for example, can lead to the pulping and reprinting of thousands of copies.

Of course, any reputable Australian print company will have quality control and colour management systems in place, but protocol can only be adhered to if it is respected.

Respect for colleagues

In the same way, each team member has to have respect for all of their colleagues, and for the systems and processes in place to work. Clear, concise communication is key; and in a print environment, anything that falls short of those standards could create risk of something far worse than a reprint – danger in the workplace.

Relationships are built over time and genuine conversations enable colleagues to be able to openly and honestly raise issues where necessary, for the safety and for the good of the team. An open environment encourages people to speak up and contribute to improving performance.

Respect for partners

The print supply and delivery chain is long and complex, and it was further complicated by the pandemic. But in the same way that respect and communication is integral between the immediate staff of a print organisation, it is also essential that strong relationships and open channels exist with the wider external team. Without one link in the supply chain, the raw material to print delivery process is in danger of collapsing.

Respect for clients

Again, print companies that respect their clients will have contingency plans in place. This means that if one link in the supply chain does fail, there is an obvious solution – and strong relationships will allow for a change of course where there is trust.

A deep respect for teammates, suppliers, partners and clients will undoubtedly lift performance and end in a higher quality end product, produced in the most efficient way, creating great quality, service and value.

Respect for our craft

Most people in the print industry are there because they love print. The touch and feel of a tangible product; the reproduction of a beautiful graphic, or impactful words.

Print captures a moment and amplifies communication to a targeted audience. And from the moment goldsmith and inventor Johannes Gutenberg created The Gutenberg Press in the mid 1400s, to the cutting edge digital and offset print technology we have available to us today, people have been fascinated by print and the evolving industry. It’s a long and illustrious history, and any employee worth their salt would do well to understand and respect the genesis of their industry.

Respect for the environment

Here at Complete Colour, we have a great respect for the environment, and for that reason we follow the most environmentally-responsible processes and techniques available to us – while always pushing the boundaries to reduce our footprint without reducing quality, service or value.

Our printing may not be putting people on the moon (although we’d happily collaborate if the Australian Space Agency came knocking), but every member of the Complete Colour team understands their purpose and has great respect for themselves, for their colleagues, our partners, our clients and for the print industry – its past, present and future.

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