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how does the company produce beautifully designed postcards so

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how does the company produce beautifully designed postcards so affordably? How has Modern Postcard managed their operations and assets so effectively? Why does Modern Postcard consider their operations customer-focused? Click for video script.;Attachment Preview;This is the script on modern post card.docx;This is the script on modern post card. This is an excerpt from Small Business School, the series;on PBS.;>> Hi, I'm Hattie Bryant. Every week our goal is to inform and inspire. It's to take you inside the;mind of a business owner who created something out of nothing. It's to introduce you to the;country's most fascinating men and women who are the creators of wealth and work. They are;the people who are always thinking, "How can I do this better?" They're never satisfied. They're;in pursuit of perfection even though they know it's an unachievable and lifelong goal. Steve;Hoffman, founder of Modern Postcard, is an artist- turned-businessman. He's a deep thinker, a;strategist and a tactician. You'll now see what happens when one person gets everybody thinking;about how they can do things faster, cheaper and better.;>> Fortunately we started with technology first. When we went to Modern Postcard, the only;way that we could do it was to have everything internal be digitized. Everything was digital from;the very beginning with Modern Postcard.;>> Steve Hoffman is founder and owner of Modern Postcard. He has 250 employees who;produce over one hundred million postcards a year for some 150,000 customers.;>> 1993...;>> Yes, 1993.;>> You said we're going out there. We're not staying with old stuff. We're going forward.;>> If you're going to get 32 images on a plate, how do you get that -- the key things with color is;that it has to be in register and the color has to be good. And the only way you can do that is;through digital technology. We solved the problems back in 1993, '94 in terms of doing that, and;so internally we had a completely digital workflow. Now is a question of how do we take;people's information and stuff from the outside inside because we already knew where the;landmines were.;>> To build a postcard online, you just go to modernpostcard.com and choose "Build online.;Stock artwork is provided, or you can send in your own photos and artwork. We've done both.;Write your copy, submit the card, give them your credit card and voila! And you can also e-mail;your mailing list so that you never lift another finger until you receive your own copy in the;mail. From 1976 until 1993, Steve worked to perfect processes to serve the core customer: real;estate agents. When a recession hit and real estate suffered, Steve and Jim agreed they needed to;find a new customer to serve.;>> Actually I was probably not the strongest believer in the postcards because it was a lot of;work, and we were used to getting in work from professionals, professional photographers. Then;we would get the quality. When you take in work from amateurs...;>> Like me.;>> They send in one-hour photo prints and want you to reproduce it and sometimes you get;transparencies that are way over-exposed, under-exposed, off-color, and our philosophy back;then was garbage in, garbage out. There wasn't the technology to solve the problem;economically. Color separation was very expensive, very time-consuming. And we fortunately -Photoshop was the newest application on the block, but it ran on the Macintosh, which totally;choked on an eight-megabyte file. So, but Silicon Graphics had one that -- just the timing of;everything, like within months of when Photoshop came out on Silicon Graphics, we had it on;our machine, and lo and behold, we could take a photograph and change the color and edit it to;our press needs, and we were off and running at that point.;>> And you had how many employees then?;>> 16.;>> 16. So really the postcard product is what catapulted the company.;>> Yes, absolutely.;>> Steve listened to the market.;>> CFO, Bill Loft, joined Modern Postcard in 2001.;>> Then he had the ability on top of that, and it was, it was that ability to understand that;marketplace, to build the systems that would automate a company that typically isn't an;automated kind of a function. They priced it accordingly and dominated the marketplace from;the outset.;>> Steve explained some of his techniques for managing the explosive growth.;>> The way that these work is that each person that comes in to a brainstorming session;basically, can have an idea.;>> So we can just repurpose a lot of the existing content that we have.;>> Then you can start to use the group method in terms of understanding how it all goes together;and get buy-in from everybody within a very short period of time.;>> This is based on something called...;>> The theory of constraints.;>> Okay, and what does that mean?;>> The theory of constraints is a system -- it's basically a thinking process system in terms of;how we think and how we... can pull a lot of different, very complex ideas and concepts together;into a single, cohesive thought that everybody understands. The constraint with any system is;what determines its total output of the entire system, so that with -- the chain, naturally, is only as;strong as its weakest link. In companies, it's the same thing, is that once you've identified what;the constraint is, and you make that faster, the whole company goes faster.;>> Steve's first company, the Iris Group, still takes beautiful pictures. The highest quality images;to make lovely calendars, featuring some of America's most fabulous homes. But it represents;only about five percent of today's revenues. Steve might still be taking pictures today himself;had it not been for his drive to understand process control and systems. It became an obsession.;Constraint analysis: what's holding things up? Where's the weakest link? This first process that;Steve tackled sounds simple: take a picture, get it printed, and deliver it to realtors. But he;examined every link in each process. Even learned how to write computer programs to replicate;some of these processes. As he hired and trained photographers to take pictures, he became even;more focused on process excellence. Steve is a process guy, and Modern Postcard is a process;enterprise. Much of the power and success of this operation he attributes to their constant;analysis. Words like "flow" and "constraint" occupy his mind. It has been said you have to either;give customers quality, price or speed, you can't do all three. People who say that have never met;Steve Hoffman and the team at Modern Postcard.;>> Suddenly, there was a loud crash. A little kitten had fallen right through the roof.;>> Why?;>> With thousands of happy customers and a great team of employees, Steve can take time now;to enjoy his home, which sits on the Pacific Ocean. He, his wife and son love to get out on the;beach, just a few steps from their own front door. Back at the office, Steve can be found just;about anywhere in the company's 75,000 square-foot headquarters in Carlsbad, California. After;outgrowing one leased space after another, and on the advice of a CPA, Steve decided to build;this building. And he put Jim in charge.;>> It was a great opportunity that I was able to come in here and to design this building, using;kind of my skill set, my creative background. And the approach was to come in here and create a;very minimalist look, to use textures in here, like you can see with the stainless steel, you see the;concrete that's in here, you know, the wood. The exercise here was to create an environment that;was very open. I mean, we have an awesome view here of the ocean. We have a small lake here.;To be able to get the sunlight that comes in here. But yet, still, it has a design motif in it, and it's;very simple and very minimal.;>> As spectacular as the building is, the thing that I'm the most proud of are the people that are in;it. Not the building itself. When people look at the building, they -- it's a sign of success. But the;building is 1/20, 1/30 of the cost of the people that are housed by it. So we never looked at it as;though we should be cheapening their environment, because they're gonna be spending a third of;their life in it.;>> I mean, our business is very creative. And as you have kind of experienced it all throughout;the day here, you know, people are dealing with images all day long, and these are creative;people. They're young, they're psyched, I mean, they do a lot of different things. And this;environment was built or designed so that it would stimulate them.;>> This place doesn't just look good, it's a smart building. High-speed communication lines;running through conduits in the concrete floors. No dropped wires down poles. Just clean, sleek;lines. The place, the people and the product are all positioned for even more growth.;ID: AB209-09-07-01-D

 

Paper#35053 | Written in 18-Jul-2015

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