Don't Be Taken Hostage --DeWese
I thought to myself, "This sounds like one of those 'I'm the new sheriff in town and things will be done a little differently around here from now on.' " And, in my mind, I saw the new sheriff standing in the middle of Main Street, hitch up his jeans, tug the brim of his Stetson lower over his eyes and spit tobacco juice at a passing cur.
I jerked out of my fantasy as Dave was asking, "Harris, what do I do now? Goliath represents about 15 percent of our revenue."
Dave, like so many people, thinks that simply because I am the all-powerful Mañana Man, I can solve all problems immediately. I can solve all problems; some just take a little longer than immediately.
Excuse me again. "You buyers must stop banging your tin cups on the bars. Don't make me come back there again. Remember you are my hostages. It's 8 p.m. and lights out. Nighty, night."
You see, these new print procurement programs that proliferate our industry are all about SQUEEZING MARGINS. Our margins are razor-thin in the first place. Dave's call is not the first I've had.
So, now you're getting a clue as to why I have chosen to risk another armed charge by a brigade of G-Men brandishing automatic weapons by taking all these print buyers hostage.
I'm not letting them free until I get some things resolved. If it's not some hotshot executive vowing to squeeze the dumb printers, it's a consulting company full of brand new MBAs telling a client, "You're paying way too much for printing. Pay our modest (ahem) fees and we'll squeeze the printers hard."
Of course, these tough executives and the "we'll save your bacon" consultants have never seen the typical commercial printing company income statement. For that matter, I'm sure they don't know an offset litho press from letterpress. They don't know dot gain from ghosting. They have no empathy for the inordinate difficulty associated with running a business that is simultaneously capital- and people-intensive. It probably has not occurred to them that printing is job shop manufacturing, the most difficult of all manufacturing processes.