Home Field Advantage: Welcoming Customers and Prospects to Your Facility
Some time ago, I visited an underperforming company. Its Chairman of the Board asked me to spend time on a tour of the facility and to provide feedback. That done, I was asked my impressions. “You failed the mop test,” was my response.
The plant was a mess, untidy, things out of place and seemingly disorganized. Next to one of the presses was a bucket and a mop, both of which were in serious need of a cleaning. Someone had taken care of a spill and rather than clean the mophead and the bucket and return them to their rightful place in the utility closet, they simply left them there. And by the look of it, they had been there for a while. A small matter on its own but reflective of a lack of care that reached every part of the facility (and the business!).
A recent visit to a highly successful client company reminds me of an important but often overlooked element of business success: the impression your work environment makes on visitors!
It often comes as a surprise to many first-time visitors to a modern, thriving printing company. Those who have never experienced a company tour have a familiar reaction: “It’s so clean and modern looking!" One wonders, what did they expect?
This does not happen by accident. The most successful companies I’ve seen pay careful, close attention to even the smallest detail on how they present themselves to visitors; be they customers, prospects, suppliers, employees, or prospective employees. Is the parking area neat and clearly marked? Is the signage welcoming? Is the customer reception area stocked with samples of recent work done for clients and customers? Are office areas well organized, desks and meeting room neat and free of clutter?
The manufacturing facility garners similar attention and care. The way the work flows through the facility to floors, walls, posted information, flat screens, and of course, the equipment itself all reflect pride in the work environment and care for team members’ safety and well-being.
After one recent tour, I asked the company owner how they manage to maintain such a first-class facility. “We wouldn’t have it any other way. We work at it. After all, it’s our brand.”
Some time ago, this company developed a checklist and a systematic method of keeping their facility “a showplace” from front to back. Schedules are in place, specific responsibilities assigned, and facility inspections are routine. Scoring and feedback are provided, right down to making sure the chairs in the conference room are pushed back in and the table cleared of papers and refreshments. Individually, these seem like small, even trivial matters. They are not. Collectively they contribute to a facility that all stakeholders can be proud of.
What does your facility say about you and your organization? For more information on ways to improve your brand impression, contact me at firstname.lastname@example.org.
Joseph P. Truncale, Ph.D., CAE, is the Founder and Principal of Alexander Joseph Associates, a privately held consultancy specializing in executive business advisory services with clients throughout the graphic communications industry.
Joe spent 30 years with NAPL, including 11 years as President and CEO. He is an adjunct professor at NYU teaching graduate courses in Executive Leadership; Financial Management and Analysis; Finance for Marketing Decisions; and Leadership: The C Suite Perspective. He may be reached at Joe@ajstrategy.com. Phone or text: (201) 394-8160.