Move Over, Elvis –Dickeson

There are checklists for such minutiae as turning on the lights in the conference room. Then there are the checklists covering more than 400 points for sales personnel that start the base for the job jacket. I found check-offs for makereadies of equipment, for maintenance, for packing and delivering. You name it and there’s a list for it. If it’s something that wasn’t anticipated, there’s a means of adding or editing. This is a checklist system to end all checklist systems.

It all feeds into a computerized database written in an SQL language, and every employee has access to a computer terminal for listings and forms. Then there’s the piece de resistance: a subprogram called “System Buster.” When someone or something happens that doesn’t comport with the checklists, the System Buster detects the problem. It’s immediately flagged for correction. If it’s a personnel default, that person is called for an explanation. This puts an end to the finger-pointing circles that are the nemesis of print quality programs.

Maintaining Expectations

I love the idea of System 100 and its checklists that assure personal accountability. Inventories are restricted. Delivery dates are kept. Invoices issue immediately. Plant cleanliness and equipment maintenance are assured. Every needed tool is immediately at hand. Everyone knows what’s expected of him or her.

Why haven’t we done this before?

But two paramount issues of marketing remain unresolved for the printing industry which System 100 wasn’t designed to address: pricing and receivable-collection. These are policy decisions of individual printers. Pricing continues to be marked-up internal “costs”; receivables still stretch to 60 or 90 days.

Allowing receivables to stretch is “buying” sales. It’s a pricing concession. It’s a widely, almost universally, practiced concession by commercial printing firms, isn’t it?

Marking up BHRs (Budgeted Hourly Costs) to set a TSP (Target Selling Price) is a silly, ancient, practice indulged widely, almost universally, by commercial printing firms, isn’t it? This is where the other half of the Nashville axis comes into play—G. David Dodd with his clarion call to “Throw Away BHRs: Win the Pricing Game.”

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