Ultimate Deathmatch: Production vs. Sales
(To listen to an audio recording of Bill Farquharson reading his latest blog post, click the embedded player or download the linked mpg3 file.)
What is it about the rivalry that exists between the Production Department and Sales People? As long as I have been in sales, I have been aware of its presence. That doesn’t mean I understand it, however.
I vividly remember the first time I ever walked by a printing press. We were in Watseka, IL, at a UARCO Business Forms plant and I noticed the way the pressman was looking at me as I walked by. He had a “MINE!” look in his eyes in a “Touch it. I dare you!” kind of way.
At first I thought it was simply disdain. But I soon realized it was something more—Superiority. He was looking down his nose at the new sales people parade that was going by him. In retrospect, my “Hey, what does this button do?” joke probably didn’t help.
Years later, I was summoned to Rochester, NY, to visit a printing company whose president was a friend with a problem. He’d cut production back to 30 hours a week and it did not go over well. On a Friday afternoon, he was visited by the entire production team. Tim told me, “I thought they were going to lynch me!”
Instead, they walked him down to the sales department. Not one of the six sales people was there. Gone for the day, and it was 2:30 in the afternoon. Their point was not lost on Tim: If sales were selling, production could be producing and everyone would be making more money.
More than once, I have heard both sales people and production utter words similar to, “Without me, this place would crumble.” Both think they are not only VITAL to the operation, but the MOST IMPORTANT PART of the operation. Naturally, they are both important and neither more than the other…but try telling THEM that!