More Changes Needed
In addition to management not preparing workers for change plus the inability of management to get the system right before they launched it (same answers from old system and new system), my guess is that there is at least one more factor at work: Management’s failure to legislate behavior.
That’s right, legislate. “This will be a happy place to work and you will behave well with others. Are there any questions?”
My guess is that management has allowed certain favored salespeople to have their own way. Why? It’s a common ailment. A few individuals are allowed to disregard the needs of the company for the wants of the few. For instance, I know of one large printing company that has a sales manager, with a number of salespeople reporting to him, who does not believe in reports. Why? He doesn’t want to be held accountable, so he doesn’t hold others accountable.
How did he get to be sales manager? Well, first he was hired as a salesman because the owners didn’t want to do it and then he got a couple big accounts. Then, since he sold more than the others did, he was made sales manager. Today this company with $12 million in sales and a fair number of salespeople has no control over those salespeople.
Now flash back to the estimating system. The salespeople do what they want regardless of what the estimating system requires. My sales manager friend figures what he should charge for a job the old fashioned way and then just gives it to someone to enter and says, “Make it so.” So my friend from my seminar sees chaos caused by implementation of an estimating system.
I see possibilities of a structural problem, which can cause a lot of operational problems.
Who Is In Charge?
And what about the tip of the ice pyramid pointed to the ocean floor? That’s the ownership third. There are probably some issues there also. Having heard about the owners, it is my guess that they didn’t agree with the idea in the first place.
Don’t get me wrong. They agreed to buy the new estimating system, but they didn’t agree to hold their workers accountable (witness the sales manager). So to expect them to legislate behavior—you will now enter your orders this way instead of the way you have been doing it—isn’t realistic.
My friend said the new estimating system is creating chaos and asked if I had any ideas on why that is. Yes, I have a number of ideas, but it didn’t appear that these were the ideas he was thinking about.
Tom Crouser is principal of Crouser & Associates, 4710 Chimney Drive, Charleston, WV 25302, 304/965-7100. You may reach Tom at email@example.com. And check out the unique business opportunity for small press printers offered by CPrint International at www.cprint.org. Tom is now Twittering weekdays. Follow his tweets at www.twitter.com/tomcrouser. This article is available as a podcast at www.quickprinting.com/podcast and from iTunes.