Digital Original: Continuous Training is Crucial to Success

Training today is easier with the Internet. Between YouTube and vendor websites, a printer can find a solution to almost any problem or situation that might pop up in prepress or with any piece of equipment. Have a problem related to a specific task on a specific software program? Need to know how to fix a problem? A search of YouTube will usually find a series of videos that actually demonstrate how to make it work.

Want to learn desktop publishing? Adobe offers a special site named There are short training videos for every application sold by Adobe. For instance, there are 28 videos available for learning the various tasks in InDesign. There are libraries of videos on Illustrator, Photoshop, Acrobat, Dreamweaver, and more. Quark has a YouTube channel with 14 how-to videos that walk a user through both basic and advance tasks. Adobe Creative Suites, Photoshop, and Acrobat also have special YouTube channels. Vendors have YouTube videos posted that delve into issues with imposition, color, and bindery. Any question you have is probably answered with a video.


Training Methodology

Finding the training resources isn’t the problem for most print shops. The real problem is finding the time for the employees to do the training. Too often, computer training happens like this: “Here is the new software. You have to learn it because we’ve promised the customer he’ll have the job by noon tomorrow.” Printers need to make training part of their company’s culture so training is happening every day.

Planning can solve the training issues. Owners and managers need to meet with the employees and determine what training is necessary. Most employees have a wish list of things they would like to learn that would help make their jobs easier and more productive. Owners and employees can quickly agree on what needs to be reviewed or learned. Owners and managers need to schedule the time so the training can be completed.

Training inside the shop needs to be scheduled just like a job. Time must be carved out of the production schedule so an employee can take time to train. Most of the online training videos take only a few minutes, so training can usually be completed quickly. Setting aside an hour or two a week for individual training can pay off handsomely by cutting production time with the learned skills.

Training can also take place at the beginning of the day. Most successful staffs meet together at the start of the day for 10 to 15 minutes to review what needs to be done during the day and what to do if any problems are foreseen. A quick five minute review of an issue, problem, task, or procedure can be done during the meeting to make sure everyone is on the same page. Some companies even set aside 30 minutes after the morning meeting, once a week or once a month, to train and discuss tasks that will make production smoother.


Take Charge

Training isn’t missed because employees won’t do it. Training is missed because the owners haven’t made it a priority. Owners shouldn’t expect employees to train on their days off. Training benefits the workplace, and that is where it should be done.

The most successful shops are the ones that regularly provide training to employees. If a company offers training, production and sales issues are easier to handle. Employees tend to stay with the company for longer periods. The morale within the shop among employees is usually better.

Most businesses don’t need to hire new employees; they just need to train the old ones. Not doing variable data printing? Budget an hour a day for one week for someone to learn how to do it and you’ll be surprised how quickly your investment will pay off.

The quickest way to turn a company around and get it to move forward is to make time for training. Most training is as close as your Internet connection, and it is either inexpensive or free. You just have to take advantage of it.

John Giles is the author of “12 Secrets for Digital Success” and “The DTP PriceList”. He is a consultant and technology director for CPrint International. Contact him at 954-224-1942 or You can also find John on at @JohnG247 and Order John’s books from Crouser & Associates (