Philie Group Blog

Use Your Data to Create a Competitive Advantage
By Mike Philie

The data that is generated and collected within your MIS system and production devices can speak volumes about the performance of your business. Critical information about your customers buying habits with you, the velocity of the work through your platform, and insights into your manufacturing performance are all at your disposal. In a growing business, many of these details can be overlooked, and actually are hidden by the expansion in revenue. But if the trajectory of the revenue line changes, many of these issues can be exposed.

The value of knowing what your customers buy from you and when, is an important factor in growing your best customer relationships. This information allows you to plan and anticipate future business activity. It allows you to proactively reach out to your customers to make recommendations; before they call you.

Using this information can also help detect when something is not right. When the frequency, or cadence of the work changes, it can alert you to investigate the causes. This information can also go a long way in helping you understand the work that you do not win from these customers. If you knew that information, and were able to make the modifications in order to win that additional work, what impact would that have on your business?

While customers that have tight SLAs can dictate the turnaround time for a project, that may not adequately reflect the velocity that a job has in going through the facility. In my view, the velocity is the pace of the job from start to finish. Printing or finishing a project at rated speed isn’t that helpful if the project sits in a long queue awaiting the next process.

Using shop floor data to monitor the flow of the work can help identify unnecessary bottlenecks. This leads to becoming more efficient and removing wasteful steps in the process. Taking on this initiative can lead to decreased turn times without adding equipment, people, or overtime. Could that become a competitive advantage for your business?

The soundness of your manufacturing performance affects everything you do. From taking care of your customers and anticipating their needs, through designing a workflow that speeds the work through your operation. Manufacturing performance could be defined by how well you produce the work as compared to your plan. It can also mean producing first quality work with a minimum amount of re-work. Finally, it could mean maximizing the output of the equipment and workflow that you have invested in.

Production floor and equipment data can also help anticipate maintenance requirements and minimize unplanned downtime. Many of the newer offset and digital presses utilize big data to increase the predictability of their manufacturing platform. Being able to effectively reduce the total cost of ownership and minimize non-productive shifts are necessary to control costs and increase reliable and predictable performance.

This blog post was intended to shed light on the importance of using critical information about your customers buying habits, the velocity of the work through your platform, and insights into your manufacturing performance to create a competitive advantage for your business. If you are not where you want to be with these ideas, I would encourage you to tap into your network of equipment and technology partners and push them to help advance your cause. There are also several independent industry consultants who can help you to either get started or get you over the finish line.

Paying attention to, and taking action on your performance trends will help you to meet your expectations and allow you to thrive in a transformative industry.

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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