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how does the company produce beautifully designed postcards so




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 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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