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Sales and Production: Peace is Possible

(April 2011) posted on Tue May 10, 2011

Learn how to create an environment in which sales and production teams work together for the benefit of the company as a whole.


By Mark Coudray

The net effect is that jobs get into production faster, run smoothly, and go out without mistakes. The printers don’t make a big margin on each job, but the volume makes up for the extra dollars. This isn’t high-profile work; it’s high-volume simple work, turned around quickly. The specialization is in the reduction of non-value-added steps.

Variables and value
A big part of the success of this kind of sales and production is the elimination of variables or putting a system in place to accommodate the variables that are necessary. Both sales and production understand this and incorporate the steps necessary to make sure it happens with each job. Key to this concept is not going outside the parameters.

For instance, if you were optimized for simple line work on T-shirts and a salesperson were to bring a simulated-process job into this environment, it would be completely disruptive. The chances of failure would be very high because sales would be asking production to do something it wasn’t designed to do. This doesn’t mean production couldn’t do it; it means the job would take much longer to do, cost more per unit, and the final results would not be as good as those generated by a company that specializes in simulated-process printing. The likelihood of mistakes and of the customer being disappointed is much higher in this case.

Unfortunately, most companies don’t recognize this. Salespeople are allowed to bring in orders that aren’t suited to the facility. Printers, being the natural problem solvers they are, usually rise to the occasion and figure it out. They’re almost always up to the challenge, but the results can often be less than perfect. Certainly, the company and the overall production schedule suffer as a result of the challenge.

When production and quality don’t meet expectations, emotions rise and each area becomes either aggressive or defensive. Neither position is good for the company or the customer. Looking back on what just happened would reveal that the chain of events was reaction driven instead of being driven proactively. Sales is reacting to market demands, production is reacting to an order that doesn’t fit the system, and the customer is disappointed in a less than perfect delivery based on quality and time. Expectations have failed all the way around. Repeating this mistake creates cultural barriers that are very difficult to overcome.


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Comments

rocss says: The most successful companies I’ve visited have a few things in common. The first is that they’ve meshed the orders to the production capabilities. They usually do this through a targeted, niche approach ...

The most successful companies I’ve visited have a few things in common. The first is that they’ve meshed the orders to the production capabilities. They usually do this through a targeted, niche approach to their sales. If they do simple work, they have streamlined the process so the orders flow through extremely fast. They minimize setup times, gang orders, and reduce as many touch points as possible. A perfect example of this is the offset industry, where you can now buy 1000 four-color business cards produced in 48 hours or less for about $20.00.

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