After a year of the economy being ravaged by the pandemic, we are now seeing that high-frequency economic indicators are showing a strong rebound is happening, yet for many businesses, there is still a long way to go.

Throughout the last year, many businesses languished and then eventually closed. For the businesses that are still standing, they face a long rebuilding mode. But what we have learned from this recent unprecedented business cycle is the businesses that survived discovered how to run more efficiently.

The businesses that survived and learned how to run more efficiently despite global manufacturers disrupting their supply chains seem more equipped now to rebuild.

I am sure many of you are amazed at how efficiently you could scale your business to get the remaining revenue to process through your businesses. Undoubtedly, the cost to operate your business has been reduced to its minimum by tightening up your processes, procedures, and staffing.

However, the counterbalance effect to that is the possibility that you’ve restricted your ability to take on short-term lead time work. My concern is clients will go back to the zero-lead time workflow, forcing our businesses into increased labor costs or more capital investment to compete on schedule alone. The economy of the past was built on time to market responsiveness and throughput with accuracy and quality. Remember the pressures to say yes to any timeline required? I hope those times are behind us.

“Only a crisis – actual or perceived – produces real change. When that crisis occurs, the actions that are taken depend on the ideas that are lying around.” Milton Friedman, economist

As we reflect on these learnings from the recent downturn, we all have to adjust to a new normal of running our businesses on reduced revenue with expanded lead times. Can we go back to shorter lead times and more capital investment or do we just want to transition our businesses into productization, the other great learning from converting to the manufacturing of PPE?

Productization is a process of converting revenue from print for pay, with 30-60 day payment terms to e-commerce on-demand manufacturing with prepaid terms. This one factor can redetermine the future of your business in all economic conditions in the future. The key to this transition is workflow and ideation, which is a strength for most firms.

“Productize” refers to the process of developing or altering a process, idea, skill, or service to make it marketable for sale to the public. Productization involves taking a skill or service that has been used internally and developing it into a standard, fully-tested, packaged, and marketed product.

Coupled with traditional print-for-pay revenue, productization can transition your company to long-term strength. In the next few posts, I will outline a roadmap vision to converting your company to a productization ideation and workflow.

About HCS

HCS is teaching graphic communication companies (GCCs) how to thrive through challenging shifts in the marketplace. We have deep expertise formed over 12 years of marketing and business process consulting to this market segment. Our team guides businesses on how to get started – or grow their reach – with custom developed digital content marketing. We know the graphic communications industry from the inside out, and we help businesses of all sizes face down challenges in order to truly thrive. With HCS, you get streamlined service from six experts – for less than the cost of one in-house hire. We can’t wait to help you get started!