Death of a Salesman
But, take a closer inspection of the production department, with its loose grasp on quality assurance, and you can understand the salesperson being a little nervous about this new order making it through production error-free. He or she might decide to babysit the job through the process, asking production personnel lots of questions—to the point of annoyance—until the job is delivered.
The rep is just trying to ensure everything will turn out right for the client. Everyone should understand that, right?
Now, imagine the job has been delivered; all is quiet for a few days and then comes…THE CALL. You know, the one everyone fears—especially the salesperson, who has to FACE the client’s wrath, because its very important job has been ruined by some stupid, preventable error.
It’s the SALESPERSON, NOT PRODUCTION PERSONNEL, who has to say, “I’m sorry!” or “It’s a rare occurrence here, and it won’t happen again at Quality is Our Middle Name.”
It’s the SALESPERSON who is embarrassed, and has to inform his/her boss of the situation.
But, it’s the BOSS, many times, who hasn’t put much stock in quality-control systems, and doesn’t seem to understand or care what the salesperson faces, trying to please his/her—and, by extension, the BOSS’—customers.
So why is that? The owner is dealing with his/her own problems and other production issues, while trying to keep things afloat in a less-than-perfect economy, and can’t seem to see that the implementation of quality systems could diminish everyone’s problems and issues greatly; helping to sustain the company even in down times.
True story…I remember an incident when a new salesperson confronted an owner about the lack of good systems in production, and the owner’s response was, “We don’t need good systems, we need good people.” The owner wasn’t providing his staff with the proper tools or direction, yet he blamed any failure in quality on the staff members that he apparently thought were NOT “good people.”
Philip Beyer, founder/president of Ebiz Products LLC and founder of Beyer Printing Inc. in Nashville Tenn., is a chronic entrepreneur, business systems analyst and consultant. Author of "System Busters: How to Stop Them in Your Business" and recipient of an InterTech Technology Award for the design and development of System100 business process management software. Beyer speaks to business owners across the country on how to bring lean, sustainable order to their businesses. Contact him at (615) 425-2652.