Change brings challenges, encouragement and collaboration to Printing and Imaging

As printing presses are giving way to desktop computers and multi-function printing devices, there has been a significant decrease in the need for offset printing services.

This national and global trend has affected the Enterprise Services Printing and Imaging Program, prompting the agency to restructure the program’s business model.

Enterprise Services Director Chris Liu, who has extensive experience helping private sector businesses and public entities adapt to change and improve their services, created a model framework for the program’s now 51 employees. A recent layoff reduced the program’s workforce by 25 percent.

Liu said he has used the model framework to help guide successful transitions at the state Lottery, Liquor Control Board and Office of Minority and Women Owned Business Enterprises.

A copy of the working framework is hanging on the wall in a large conference room at the Printing and Imaging plant in Tumwater. Program employees are using the model to build a business plan.

During a recent meeting with Printing and Imaging staff, Liu told employees that the key to success was their leadership and involvement.

'This model is missing you,' he said. 'What we’re about to do is not solely dependent on management.'

As experts in the field, Liu challenged Printing and Imaging employees to ask hard questions and identify problems to be solved. He encouraged them to write those questions and problems on Post-It Notes and put them on the model. By doing this, he said, Printing and Imaging employees can share their thoughts and ideas in one place and collaborate.

'You need to be problem-solving and solve those problems when they’re really small,' he said.

By Feb. 28, the model was starting to be covered with multi-colored notes highlighting various queries and challenges.

Liu and other members of the executive management team are meeting regularly with Printing and Imaging employees to answer their questions, address their ideas and position the program to meet the needs of customers in an age of electronic communication.

To assist with huddles, Keith Kawamura, Business Process and Design manager in the Contracts and Legal division has been temporarily assigned to Printing and Imaging. His team was recognized by Liu for their advanced use of the huddle to measure their work.

Liu encouraged all employees — not just the customer services representatives — to reach out to customers.

'It’s important that you have a personal relationship with your customer,' Liu said. 'Their problem is your problem. Know your customer’s needs and expectations.'