Education Services teams, particularly those in software or other high tech companies, are responsible for not only driving license product adoption, but also for delivering their own separate services revenue stream. Driving higher sales and lower costs are key. Costs are somewhat more under your control, and cutting costs might make the difference between meeting your sales number and not. Leading analysts reveal that a five point increase in your profit margin is the equivalent to a 20% increase in sales. And, according to Technology Services Industry Association (TSIA), one of the top 3 challenges for Education Services teams is "growing margins by reducing delivery expense."
Printing and shipping large training manuals can be a major cost for training organizations. Decreasing these costs can help margins significantly.
Here are the top 3 ways you can better manage print and fulfillment expenses:
1. Get the Big Picture
By centralizing all of your training assets worldwide into a single, centralized Digital Asset Management (DAM) system, you can get an overview of which pieces are more popular, identify those that are obsolete, and make better decisions regarding which pieces should be printed on-demand and which should be printed more economically and warehoused. You can also review shipping costs, and determine how to consolidate shipping or better plan in advance to avoid rush charges.
The right DAM web-to-print software will also have great analytics and reporting required to see the data you need to make good decisions around printing, warehousing, and shipping. But you likely have other things to do, and you're not a logistics expert! So the right partner will also be proactively analyzing usage and cost data on a quarterly or semi-annual basis to provide you with insight and best practices for cutting costs.
2. Maintain Control
You might need to enable your instructors and Authorized Training Partners (ATPs), and allow them to order courseware as needed. But you don't have to allow them to ship overnight!
You also need to ensure your ATPs are invoiced for their orders and protect that revenue stream. With the right software in place, you can easily set controls by user ID so that you control the shipping methods, personalization and other elements of the order process. And the right software will also provide revenue management capabilities, so you can, for example, charge ATPs for courseware via credit card, while allowing internal instructors to use an accounting cost center.
Another area of control is versioning. With a central DAM you can not only manage and distribute training materials, but also easily update your course content, so it is always current with no versioning or obsolescence issues. Nothing worse than doing a large print job and then discovering that you printed an old version!
3. Consider Going Digital
With a steady increase of training delivered via on-demand and via ILT virtual classroom, digital courseware is fast becoming a new standard. And while some courses or some students still demand hard copy training manuals, moving even a small portion of your courseware delivery to digital can provide significant savings. In some cases, the cost of delivering materials electronically is as much as 50% lower than print.
Some training organizations are worried that their students won't like receiving courseware electronically. But you won't know unless you try it! And, of course, another major expense in delivering training is the T&E for instructors who have to travel to deliver live classroom training, and the rentals for training space. The trend for on-demand and virtual classroom to cut down on T&E expenses and to meet student demand for flexibility will only continue to grow. And with that growth, on-line or "soft copy" courseware delivery will become more accepted by course attendees.
Do you consider margin growth a high priority for your training business? How are you cutting costs? We'd love to hear from you.