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Take your business to the next level with a smarter MIS

Added by Sharon Mordey on April, 29, 2020

A London-based direct marketing specialist recouped its MIS Investment in just one year through increased efficiencies in linking its website to its production systems.

Dont MISunderstand the opportunity

How does any company start life; would it be fair to say that first up comes a great idea? Then next, the strong notion that this idea could translate into a compelling product or service that could go further than the competition; so there’s the opportunity!  Or maybe, it’s just a clear sense that a more unique enhanced customer experience can be delivered; and as a consequence a fantastic business could be built.

This was very much the case back in 1995 when Lbox communications, or London Letterbox Marketing as they were then known, initially came to market primarily as a door-to-door distributor of council publications for many of London’s boroughs. 

By developing a loyal network of distributors as opposed to self employed contractors for leaflet and newspaper distribution, much greater control was made possible. The business very quickly built an impressive reputation as a quality print service provider primarily within the public sector who could be trusted to deliver on the promise of (order today and deliver door to door tomorrow) at a time when many other larger organisations could not! As the business evolved its direct Digital print production capability; organisations such as: Transport for London (TFL), Morrison Utility Services, Southern Water, Network Rail, Kier Construction and Lexington Communications become valued clients.

Move forward to 2015 and a significant new chapter begins for the business with the appointment of David King as the new MD, hired to professionalise the business still further.  Mr King explains, “The owners had a vision to innovate and improve the overall customer experience by investing not just in hardware and printing devices; but also in software, skills and automation in order to really transform the customer experience.  We like many others, sought to grow profitability but without increasing headcount!  So it was clear we had to scale the business differently and find another way to create greater bandwidth and capacity.  I am proud to say, within the last five years we have in the main successfully achieved our goals; and software in different guises has been absolutely vital in order to fulfil those ambitions.”  So how did they do it?

Mr King continues “Back in 2015, we used Excel for just about everything we did!  Whether it be to raise a quote, manage a job list or create the contents for the invoice; everything was essentially manually done.  The potential therefore for error handling to creep in and the need for constant cutting and pasting of information from the enquiry to the job, to the invoice, was our reality.  We got the job done; but standing back and looking closely at our internal back office processes, I realised our inefficiencies were in turn reducing profitability.  I identified that we needed two key software investments:  Firstly software to automate, simplify and help us scale our back office production capability; then critically a brand new web portal that would make it much easier and quicker for our customers to interact with us and efficiently buy products and services.”

“As a consequence, we invested in a third party piece of software that started to help streamline some of our back office operation.  However it wasn’t long before we then realised that our brand new website which included a host of innovative features that customers loved could not actually be fully integrated with that very same software.”

“This was frustrating because our new booking website actually managed to put so much power back into our customer’s hands and started to transform our business; but our back office systems were not keeping pace.  Customers could now go online and get: Instant quotes by using an easy mapping function to quickly and easily redefine and draw the geographic area for a potential campaign in seconds, then book that order in straight away for a 24 hours turnaround service.  The speed and intuition of the site allowed clients to experiment with different what if scenarios in order to match up with their budget.”
David King

It was at this point that Mr King say’s “In order to take us to the next level, I knew I needed a new smarter MIS, one that definitely had the flexibility, integration and automation capability in equal measure to fully combine with our website; I did not wish to do everything twice!  So it was with this very much in mind, that King set out for The Print Show in 2018 in order to try and find the right type of MIS Company that Lbox communications could properly partner with.”

“When I spoke with Optimus I had already seen two other MIS companies who I must confess seemed in different ways a lot more focused on how their solution would need to work; whereas the complete opposite was true of the Optimus team of Ed Carney and Lisa Sage. “

“Both Ed and Lisa wanted to properly understand how I ideally wanted the system to work; what challenges I faced and the reasons behind my thinking.  They properly took the time to actively listen to my requirements; whilst exploring some of my thought processes in order to clearly establish what was important to me.  It is fair to say, I was then as I am now, hugely impressed with the professionalism that the Optimus team displayed and this definitely provided me with a great deal of confidence.”

“I saw firsthand that an Optimus dash MIS allows you great scope to create business rules; logic and validation that you wish to employ to suit your company, not theirs!  It really doesn’t matter what it is you produce or what type of substrates you use, the system allows the configuration of the initial enquiry screens to accurately reflect what you do in the fewest amount of clicks.  You get to define the variables and can pre answer everything else that is already known about your own environment however bespoke to automatically create quotes, jobs and invoices within seconds.”

“It was not long after  I was convinced that Optimus could handle all that I did:  Door to door distribution, all our Royal Mail postage options, all types of Print, plus all of the non print related activities which were all essential services that needed to be handled in the one MIS system.  Critically, this level of technical flexibility meant that Optimus in combination with our website developer were able to fully integrate all the initial features and functions that we wished to link between our online booking site and Optimus.”

“Since January 2019 we have been live with Optimus; enabling real time cohesion between our website and back office.  Everything that can automate does, including live customer status updates! The bottom line is we have saved a fortune in time, increased our profitability and performance and avoided the need to take on more staff.  I would go as far to say, we would have had to have taken on at least two more staff at 25k minimum per annum if we had not invested in Optimus.  If you do the math’s over five years as an employer, those numbers start to really add up to substantial savings worth having, in year one alone we already recouped a full return on our investment!

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Article courtesy of digital printer magazine April 2020


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