One of the ironies of the ‘digital age’ is that we print more on paper than ever before.
One of the items that companies use and cling to, even when they have electronic versions, is the old fashioned Operations Manual.
I’m a digital native – I spend a ton of time on my iphone or laptop but I still carry around the 3-ring binder for our Printsmith software platform. The reasons are simple:
- No WIFI needed for my binder
- I can carry the binder with me anywhere
- I can write notes in the margins
- My computer is a crowded space – I know I can get info from my binder quickly
I find that this is true for most companies. We recently did an operations manual project for Showhomes, a franchised home staging company based here in Nashville. Like all franchise companies, they tightly guard their trade secrets and operations manuals. This is the essence of what a franchisee purchases when they buy a franchise so security for the manuals is something they think about a lot.
Like many companies, they have an online manual but saw that staff and owners needed a hard copy. Some people, like myself, just learn better with a hard copy handy. The problem is this: what is to stop someone from copying the binder?
The solution we came up with for them was: we printed a number of unique manuals. Each manual has an embedded watermark on each page and the watermark for each manual is different. Showhomes keeps a log of the manual they assign to staff and franchisees.
This way, if someone copied a page, they would know where the leak occurred. The unique watermarks keep most people honest and give Showhomes the ability to tell a judge that they took reasonable steps to protect their system.
If you work in a industry, like franchising, where you need paper copies and you need them to be secure, how safe are your trade secrets?
Angie Ryan, Reprographic Pro 615-509-3192