MIS: The Core of a Successful Team

Winning is fun.

I know we’re taught at a young age that as long as you do your best, that’s all that counts. That may be true, and what I tell my kids, but I have to admit I want the win.

In my recent interview in Ricoh Software’s Industry Speed Round series, I indicated that if I weren’t in my current role at Avanti, I’d likely be coaching a sports team somewhere. I find business leadership to be very similar: having the right people, products and processes in place will drive you in the right direction.

Developing the individual skillsets, advancing the team’s progress and most importantly, watching our customers succeed is the win. But as with any high-performing team and workflow, success does not happen by accident. By evaluating and transforming the way you work and adding the right tools while cultivating your team members’ and processes’ strengths, you will contribute to your team’s overall achievements.

Before you start building out your team, you need to understand the core.

In any print organization, the Management Information Systems (MIS) is at the core/heart of your operations: online ordering, scheduling, estimating, order management, soft proofing, fulfillment…..I can’t point to one successful print organization that can win without it.


Where Do You Start?
MIS is the heartbeat of your business. Think of it as a mission-control for all of your business operations.

Your workflow is the sum of the parts between the people you chose, the training you offer, and most importantly, the tools you provide for the overall team success, not a single person or function. Yes, it would be best if you had a strategy and a commitment to building and cultivating the right team with the proper training, but ultimately, the right tools are needed to win.


The Team
I genuinely believe that business leadership is a lot like coaching a sports team: every person has a specific job to do, and, when appropriately coached, with the right people in their positions and the environment to do their jobs, the team reaches their goal.

Does anybody wake up thinking – ‘I don’t mind losing today,’ or ‘we don’t need any more sales, we’re good’? If they did, I really wouldn’t want them on my team.

I want the contributors who are not perfect but willing to learn, understand the end goal, and want to work with a team to get there and who can want to and learn.

Suggested things organizations need to do:

  1. Clearly articulate the team’s strategy and goals
  2. Assess and identify each person’s strengths and overall contribution towards the team’s goals
  3. Provide roles that allow individuals to apply their strengths
  4. Create metrics for success and with individual and team targets
  5. Develop a culture of respect and growth
  6. Educate the team on the roles and expectations of each member
  7. Teach individuals how to negotiate through the bottlenecks
  8. Celebrate the progress as well as the wins
  9. Train every member with milestones for improvement
  10. Provide the tools to helps each individual succeed


The Training
It’s pointless to invest in people and tools if you are not going to set an expectation and a continual evaluation process on using them. Success means there are milestones for improvement and expectations for each individual and team.

As with any new application, you want to optimize your investment and develop a training program that gets the team onboard and keeps them current. Avanti can help you do that.

Select the tools that are easy to understand and have ongoing training available.


The Tools
Yes, MIS can be complicated, but Avanti Slingshot Print MIS is not.

Avanti Slingshot offers built-in intelligence, presenting real-time information when and where it’s needed. It can be accessed anywhere, at any time, from any internet-enabled device, giving you the flexibility to get the answers you need, even when you’re ‘on the go.’

The platform is scalable and supports companies of all sizes, including multi-company, multi-division, multi-plant and franchise operations. Where other print MIS solutions force you to conform to the software, Avanti focuses on flexibility and the ability to adjust to your business processes.

The tools you choose are team members, with your MIS at the center of your operations. There is no other way to win without it.

Meet the Author

Kevin Shaw is a strategy and operations executive who leads all activities across Marketing, Product Management, and Customer Experience. He is the Deputy to the General Manager and owns Avanti’s Alliances and Partnership Strategy. Prior to Avanti Systems, Mr. Shaw was a senior member of the Global Product and Technology group at ADP, LLC of Roseland, NJ specializing in data analytics products. Mr. Shaw has more than 12 years of Product Management experience with ERP/MIS software firms ranging in size from the Fortune 500 to independent software vendors (ISV). Across various roles, he has driven product vision and strategy, delivered frictionless customer experiences, lead team transformations and determined the commercial viability of dozens of products. Mr. Shaw holds an MBA from the University of Liverpool and is a Chartered Member of the Canadian Institute of Management. He serves as an advisor to several start-up software companies and is an active mentor, coach, to up and coming product professionals.

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