Sunday, May 15, 2011

First Convertible Solution

An internal operational process can be a great source of business model innovation. My company, Convertible Solutions, was formed this way.

When Inter-State Studio and Publishing shifted to digital photo printing for our school portraits, we gained the ability to personalize and enhance the images in ways that our customers had not imagined. We needed a way to deliver a proof envelope and order form that would feature each child’s portrait personalized with their autograph and a selection of bright, attractive graphic themes.

Since completed envelopes wouldn’t transport or print well on our digital press, we developed a process to preconvert the proof stock with scores, perforations and cohesives already in place so the stock could run flat through the press and be folded into an order envelope afterwards. The process worked great, reduced waste and boosted sales. We were delighted!

Although we had developed a unique process, the problem it solved was not unique to us. An unmet customer need is the perfect recipe for a successful business model so we formed Convertible Solutions to help digital printers create complex marketing pieces for short run and variable data printing.

In October of last year, Mohawk Fine Papers introduced their line of Panoramic papers which utilize Convertible Solution’s TRU-Flat technology for premium photo book creation. The Panoramic papers have cohesives on the back so a printer can simply print the book pages on one side of the sheet, fold the sheets image inward, stack them into a book and seal them together with some pressure. The binding process is so simple that any printer can implement it and the books are beautiful with images streaming seamlessly across the center of each two page spread.

If Inter-State had kept these processes for our own use only, they would have only helped us grow our school photography business.  By opening them up to the rest of the world, we developed a completely new business opportunity, contributed to the growth of the digital printing industry and still grew our school photography business.

What internal operational processes have you developed which could be turned into new business opportunities?

Mohawk Panoramic Paper uses Convertible Solution's TRU-Flat binding method to bind beautiful lay-flat photo books.