Lead times, people’s time and the good times

By Chris Spooner, Label Traxx Business Development Manager

A recent article from FINAT’s Jules Lejeune says that recent research states;

“Apart from customers’ price reduction pressures, the demand for shorter lead times is creating a significant day-to-day challenge that their businesses face today”.

Short lead times are not a new concept to our fast-paced industry, but nonetheless they still exist and apply pressures to all businesses of varying sizes. One of the key questions to ask yourself is knowing how busy you are today, what would happen if several customers order large orders today? Your first thought would be fantastic as it’s revenue for your company. Your thoughts will then quickly turn to, can we deliver on-time? What capacity do we have? Do we have enough stock? Can people cope with this extra workload on top of existing projects? How can we do it all? We all want to keep our customers happy and deliver a quality product, on time and at the right price.

A key area of focus in your business are your employee skills and harnessing them to your advantage. You need them to be focusing on their strengths to help grow your business whilst providing them with enough stretch and challenge to satisfy their professional appetite. The last thing you need skilled people to be doing is copious amounts of duplicated administration work and to be ‘going through the motions’ which can be very demotivating. Instead you want them focusing on projects, working in collaboration with clients to improve products and drive growth.

So, how can this be achieved? By removing waste from your workflow but remember, not all waste can be removed. Some waste is essential waste that your customer expects but doesn’t necessarily want to pay for such as checks and internal processes. So, you need to target on the added value elements of every job and speed up the elements in-between.

Management of your workflow can be a time-consuming process and from my experiences can be easy to maintain during quiet periods but then fall down once you reach capacity. It’s at these moments you realise you turn from being a printing professional to a metaphorical firefighter, putting out internal process fires related quality issues and mistakes due to rushing tasks and cutting corners. Processes need to work when pressure is applied in all cases to ensure repeatability of tasks time and time again. This would reduce reprints, credit notes, damaged reputation and of course stress on your employees.

This is where a business management information system such as Label Traxx can really support your internal workflows and processes. It allows you to reduce and eliminate certain administration tasks and duplication of time. Tasks such as converting estimates to tickets; planning a multi-sort digital job; ordering material; inventory management; quality checks; to sending out an invoice and bringing money into your organisation. At Label Traxx we work in collaboration with you and your business to ensure that you maximise your workflow and maximise your employees’ strengths. We can create a closed-loop of information that can feed and improve your business by providing you with real-time and accurate data. This allows you to make improvements and focus on those 20% of issues that give you 80% of your problems.

In an ever-changing, customer-led world, you need to be able match their expectations and give you the best possible chance to succeed and grow. Label Traxx will work with you to meet your business objectives and carefully constructed mission statements and company ethos.

Professional management information solutions created by label experts for label experts.
Come and visit us at Labelexpo 2017 stand 9A10 or contact us here today to see how we can support your business and keep your internal and external customers satisfied.