HelloPrint - A team-oriented organization

I was blown away by the achievements of Helloprint. Their mission? “Disrupting the print industry by building Earth’s largest platform for printed products.” In 2013, 4 young guys started the company to develop the easiest way of ordering print for business and consumers in the world. Only 6 years later, CEO Hans Scheffer was delighted to share some facts & figures:

  • +680.000 customers
  • +500.000 orders/year
  • 200 team members
  • live in 8 countries
  • 70 partners
  • E-commerce white label
  • +10 million standardized products & carrier combinations

What did I find most inspiring about this organization? They translated the remarkable common thread that we experienced during the whole trip, flawlessly into their organization, namely the crucial importance of Kept Promise Indicators and Key Performance Indicators (KPI’s). Especially when working in this creative and innovative environment, it is most important to set clear and measurable KPI’s and to drill these down to individual level. It’s the responsibility of the employees and teams to decide on how they will develop new features, but they are well aware of their KPI’s and the goals that need to be achieved. In the case of HelloPprint, their main focus is on the team & culture, or as they mention it “our business thrives on our DNA (summarized in 9 core values). You can see & feel these values when you walk into one of our offices”. Visibility of these KPI’s throughout ‘the floor’ is key to keep focusing on greater achievements. As HelloPrint is driven by passion & ambition, they give the team the freedom to achieve the goals by their own time & rhythm, setting the “9 to 5” boundaries far aside. In short, they fuel the organization through:

  • Breaking down the strategic objectives in visible and well understood KPI's on both individual and team level
  • Creating the right environment of freedom and entrepreneurship to strive for innovation & creativity
  • Setting one fundamental culture, which can be adapted into subcultures & different rhythms

The WIN-WIN-WIN by inspiring freedom, entrepreneurship and simplicity

Although our Rotterdam visit focused on the making-industry and mono-product development, a lot of these start-up and scale-up best practices & lessons learned can also be adopted by big & complex organizations. As our Benelux customers often have a rather complex and sometimes lingering framework, the creation of new ideas is often set back to a minimum. While innovative techniques and customer-oriented processes are key to the fast-changing markets, focus is too often set on running the existing organization ‘as-is’. With limited capacity, time and a lack of governmental support, too often good ideas are set aside. But no need to be negative, we see opportunities arise when matching the challenges of large companies with innovative solutions of scale and start-ups! It is even possible to create a win-win-win situation:

  1. A win for large & complex companies, as they will be able to see their ideas developed a lot faster and keep ahead of the game in their business.
  2. A win for scale and start-ups, as they will get access to the funding and support to evolve towards solid organizations, while benefiting from the experience & network of large companies.
  3. A win for the market, as the end-users will benefit from faster & more innovative, high-level products and/or services.

Is this new ecosystem of joined creativity and resources the perfect solution for the current fast developing market?
I see it as a complimentary story. With the increasing demand for agility and market-oriented solutions, the need for fast-moving and lean transformation is bigger than ever. Keeping ‘simplicity’ in mind, this innovative model of cooperation is the new approach towards growth!

Tom Dedecker

Tom Dedecker
CEO Threon

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