by Patricia Ames
In Part 2 of our series of interviews with the MPSA's president and vice president, we ask VP Doug Bies to outline how the MPSA is going to incorporate their new definition of MPS into the activities the MPSA does as an association.
How do you incorporate the thoughts behind your new definition into the actual work done at the MPSA? Do you see that happening on the committee level through white papers and webinars?
If you look at the Standards and Best Practices Committee, that’s what they do. They’ll go into a think tank and they really think things over and then they’re going to come out with two outputs. They’re going to come out with the presentation for the industry in general and then they’re going to come out with their white paper, which is very reasoned and thoroughly vetted. There will be something for the public and something that has value to the membership — they’re very, very good at that.
The Education Committee right now is in the middle of creating a blueprint for how to do a proper assessment and when I look at what is being created, it is impressive. If you take a look at the framework of it, it is also applicable to workflow. It’s amazing how much of what is relevant now just keeps going back to Six Sigma. Six Sigma really wrote the book on how to look at a process. You start with “How do I examine what an organization is doing?” and you can leverage that in a lot of different areas. I see it here with the MPSA in white paper outputs and webinars.
One of the new MPSA initiatives that we have come up with is because of this change in the definition and change in where the demand is going. We are going to survey our membership and ask them what they consider to be most important right now. The other thing that we want to talk to our membership about, since we have such passionate advocates of managed print services, is to ask what they’re doing and what they consider to be a priority.
We have all of these people that are involved in this particular industry, in this particular discipline, and they’re experts. They live it, they eat it, they breathe it, they talk about it. We need to go to this base of experts and ask, “Okay, what’s the most important thing about managed print services, what’s the second most important thing, what’s the most critical to do, what are the most important aspects, what are you doing, what do you think is important, what do you think is just not important?”
We need to know that because we want to turn that around and go back out to the association and say, “This is what we’re finding from all of you — what is considered to be the most important, the second most important, the third most important — what’s strategic, what’s really just a waste of time.” We want to take that knowledge base that we have and turn it around and then educate the association on the association. That’s something that we’re going to do this term.
We have such a wealth of knowledge that is immediately apparent if you sit in these committees. It was the reason why I joined the association. I joined the association because I was in managed print services and I thought, “This sounds like a really good idea for $149, I can maybe join a committee.” That was the idea, “Let me see if I can join a committee and just listen to what these experts are doing and learn from them and try to figure this thing out.”
I think it’s one of the reasons why you have the advocates for this association. Because people like myself joined it, sat in these committees, started exchanging ideas. Some of the ideas were goofy — you sit there and sometimes think, “You have got to be kidding me.” Some of them were really great ideas and I would think “let me try it” and then it would work or it works better than you thought it would work. Then all of a sudden you begin to build your business and make it better and you have this environment that is not prejudicial. It’s one of the few areas where you can go where somebody is not trying to prejudice an idea.
I think there’s a culture within this organization that’s very neutral, very objective. Initially you will have some of the executives trying to press their idea but within the committees you have to have consensus, you have to be patient. It’s a volunteer organization, but if you can build the right culture and atmosphere within the groups you’re going to learn a lot — you can get a ton out of this association if you’re involved. You can walk away with a lot of good things.
Read Part 1, Part 3 and Part 4 of the series.