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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.

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By Mark A. Coudray

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 delivers value to the market.

Companies that get themselves into trouble are those that want to be all things to everyone. The mandate is for sales to sell it and for production to 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 faces this challenge.
Specialization and niche marketing are the foundation for the solution.

The goal when selecting the specialized niche 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. This is a very important point. Value extends well beyond the manufacturing of the product. All kinds of things that add value aren’t related to the technical production of the item. The key point is value-added means more money for the order and less pressure on production.

Integrating sales and production
From the sales perspective, they understand how it all works and they can sell the customer more easily without making unexpected compromises or promises. The added value from multiple, non-production-centered items takes the pressure off of them to match or beat a commodity-driven lowball price. Positioned properly, the sale takes place almost automatically because the customer sees your complete offer as tailor matched to their needs. Your offer far exceeds the value points of the competitor, so even a simple one- or two-color job becomes an apples-and-oranges comparison.


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