The finest production environment is worthless if there are no orders to produce.
Nothing happens until something is sold. This is an old cliché, but it’s absolutely true. The finest production environment is worthless if there are no orders to produce. Likewise, if orders come in that aren’t suited for the equipment or workflow, the company won’t realize its full profit potential. This is especially important in today’s economy, where demand is lower and competition is extreme.
So what’s the solution to this typical challenge? The answer is not complicated, but it does have a number of parts. It starts at the top of the company. It begins with how the company sees itself in the market and how it’s going to deliver value to the market.
Companies that get themselves into trouble are those that want to be all things to all people. The mandate is for sales to sell it, and production will figure it out. That might have worked in the 1970s, but it sure doesn’t work today. The margins are just too thin. There aren’t enough hours in the day to figure it out, and labor and overhead costs are too high. Virtually every industry in the developed world is faced with this challenge. Specialization and niche marketing are the foundation for the solution.
When selecting the specialized niche, the goal is to create much more value for the customer than the competitor can. If you can’t create value, you’ll quickly find yourself in a commodity-driven price battle no one can win. The key is to understand what value is to your customer.
Find out how fostering a productive relationship between production and sales can solve these problems by reading Mark Coudray’s next Prepress Wire column, slated for publication in the April/May 2011 edition of Screen Printing magazine.
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