The Post-it® Notes System

Back in the mid 90’s, selling for our printing company and, as many owners of small businesses are required to do, I landed a very nice account with a company that had 10 locations. It nearly doubled our company’s sales.

We developed a good relationship with this customer’s general manager, “Barbra,” a very capable administrator and business person. All went well over the next five years, until another company in town that was planning to go nationwide, hired Barbra away to oversee the expansion project and head up their operations.

I was concerned for a while that we would lose the five-year account, until it became apparent we would be printing for both companies. In fact, Barbra informed me that part of her job negotiations was, if she was to take their job offer, she wanted my company to have all the printing.

Wow! Another confirmation that we were doing something right! My journey into the world of Quality & Service Control systems was still fairly new, but Barbra was a witness to these systems in action all those years and she had become a strong supporter, seeing how we had continually improved in serving her company’s printing needs.

However, within days of Barbra’s leaving the company, we began getting calls from the new General Manager—I’ll call her “Judy”—also from the managers of our customer’s various locations. “Where is the printing we ordered two (or more) weeks ago?” they would ask.

It seemed every day now there was a problem with them running out of printed materials, and our company was being blamed.

I made it an all out mission to find the ROOT CAUSE of the problem—why were orders NOT being delivered on time. Had we even RECEIVED all those orders?

Judy was not really cooperative in helping us get to the bottom of what was happening; however, as we still had good relations with some of the location managers who WERE willing to help us, we soon determined the cause.

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  • Paul Gardner

    Crazy story… But I’m not sure Judy’s sticky notes qualify as a System!