Philie Group Blog

Improving Your Post-Pandemic Results
By Mike Philie

The revenue line is looking good for many print businesses as they emerge from the post-pandemic days. If you are one of these organizations, congratulations. However, as the landscape continues to be riddled with challenges, make certain that your profits are where they should be. Headwind issues that continually face business operators include staffing challenges, finding enough paper to do the work, and squeezing out enough EBITDA to reinvest in the business.

The rate and pace in which you are growing usually dictates the need for additional people. But, this staffing issue is not only tied to your growth trajectory. If you are growing quickly, the need for more people will be greater. If you are growing at a more modest pace, you may have less of a need to add staff. In some parts of the country however, printers are losing staff to other growth industries that are either paying more, or offering work from home options.

These issues drive the need to re-examine your hiring and retention strategies across-the-board. Employee churn is costly, a distraction, and can be an impediment to improving your culture. While the work from home options may not be applicable in the manufacturing space, giving consideration to this for the support staff may be a viable option for retention and for recruiting as well.

Finding the paper and envelopes you need to meet customer demand has certainly been a challenge for nearly everyone. Much has been written and talked about this already. Here are three things that I think are important for every printing business owner to consider. Nurture your supplier relationships at the highest level that you are able, pay your bills, and go to your suppliers with a six to nine month projection of what your needs will be.

While none of these will guarantee you’ll get everything you want, it may help you get most of what you need. Lastly on the paper issues, make sure to keep up with the price increases in the market. Don’t hesitate to pass on these additional costs to your customers during these unprecedented times.

One of the only things worse than not being busy, is being busy and not making money. Generating the profits necessary to continually reinvest in this industry has never been easy. It requires discipline, focus, and the relentless pursuit to drive out unnecessary waste and costs. It involves more than just reviewing the financial package at the end of the month. It’s driven by refining the processes and procedures that will help ensure the results you expect at the end of the month.

The pandemic afforded many the opportunity to re-examine how they did business and where they were making money, how they processed work, and how they communicated expectations. If you haven’t already done so, take the time to go through this examination. While you may not find any single issue that feels like a home run, you’re more likely to find areas that can be improved upon by 1% or 2%. Those improvements can add up and be the difference you are looking for.

The concept of continuous improvement goes well beyond the manufacturing floor. It can become the way you run your business. It covers areas such as the customers you want to work with, the people you want to hire, the suppliers that you work with, and ultimately, the results that you get from your efforts.

Give these ideas a try and see if they can help improve your results. Let me know how you do. If you have questions or additional insight into this topic, please comment below or reach out to me directly.

Mike Philie can help validate what’s working and what may need to change in your business. Changing the trajectory of a business is difficult to do while simultaneously operating the core competencies. Mike provides strategy and insight to owners and CEOs in the Graphic Communications Industry by providing direct and realistic advice, not being afraid to voice the unpopular opinion and helping leaders navigate change through a common sense and practical approach. Learn more at www.philiegroup.comLinkedIn or email at


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