Being Easy to Do Business With
You can change your customers’ experiences by making your company easy to do business with. It’s a huge competitive advantage.
The Situation: For a reason they couldn’t identify, Arlen’s fairly large company was having difficulty competing for business. They could print well, and their prices weren’t out of line. They had all the right equipment and a decent salesforce, but they weren’t winning their share of desirable jobs. They had tried a variety of approaches – from lower pricing to a new sales manager. And they never stopped beating up their salesforce.
Our Approach: After a careful look around, it was easy for us to see where things had gone wrong. It wasn’t a problem with the salesforce. The company was difficult to do business with. Their turnarounds were too slow, with far too many careless errors. Scheduling wasn’t very reliable either: even with slow turnaround time, jobs were often late. Clearly, order-entry was too difficult, and production scheduling was dysfunctional.
We simplified their order-entry process, creating a faster workflow for entering most jobs, and getting the smallest jobs into another workflow path that was scheduled separately. We also convinced salespeople that it was in their interest to provide better information (can you believe it?) and reoriented the entire order processing flow to ensure things were handled more quickly and accurately.
The Results: Within 90 days, total turnaround time on most jobs was reduced by two days. Sixty days later, sales were up by almost 12%, as customers and salesperson noticed the change in output. As an added bonus, the faster turnaround times reduced the need for overtime in press and bindery by more than one- third.
It’s no surprise that profits showed a dramatic improvement.