Wednesday, January 06, 2010

Rush To The End

Have you ever noticed that everything comes due at either the end of the month or the first of the month. It is slow going the bulk of the month but when that last week comes the insanity commences. Everyone in any type of production industry, knows the pain I'm talking about all to well.

Most people accept it as the standard practice for their industry. They blame it on the customers and resign themselves to it as if it is set in stone. The truth is there is nothing to motivate the customers to do anything different. Why change?

There are some simple ways that you can reduce some of this chaos and still retain your business and your customers. Before I give away the secret, let's look at how what you are doing is hurting your business and costing you money and maybe even a few customers.

Have you noticed how much of your overtime comes at the end of the month. Everyone is working more hours to do the work they had plenty of time to do in the middle of the month. This increased activity usually breeds exhaustion and mistakes that cost additional time and money. The overtime is generally welcome every now and then but this is usually a six to ten day panic that puts everyone on edge. This increased stress is not only effecting you and your employees but I am willing to bet it is effecting current customers and potential customers. You answer the phone in a frantic rush, or short change conversation that is an investment in your customers and your future business. Some may "know" not to call at this time of the month. That is a big missed oportunity that may invite your competition in and drive your customers away.

Often we fail to notice are schedule is so packed we can't squeeze another thing in. Have you had to turn down work during this busy period? Have you ever thought, I wish they would have called last week?

What about those mistakes that occur during the chaotic rush? In todays economic times we need to make every dollar count. Mistakes are wasted time and materials that rob the bottom line of your business.

We have seen how the month end rush has cost us time, materials, future business and even chased away some current customers, but how do we take control and get this back? If you had all the savings this could generate you could probably make more money and reduce your costs while increasing your sales.

The answer is found in your customer service and sales team. Most businesses pay sales commissions shortly after the close of the month. Your sales staff is only motivated to press for the sale at the end of the month. They are pushing to boost their commission check and customers who are riding the fence are often pushed into the purchase side of the equation. Armed with this information, a business owner should move the commission closing day to the fifteenth. Using the motivational drive of the sales team to invigorate the middle of the month and reduce the end of the month.

Your customer service team can get into the act by pressing for action more in the middle of the month then at the end. Use phrasing like "Beat the Rush" and "Stay ahead of schedule". Focus your customer on smooth quality projects without the stress and deadline rush. Human nature seems to embrace procrastination. Work on turning this around plant wide. If you create a company culture of "get it done right and get it done ahead of schedule" your business will reap the rewards.

I have seen businesses offer discounts for doing work during slow periods. I would generally refrain from this as long as possible, margins are to tight to toss out a number. If the upper programs start to work and you start cutting some of the above mentioned costs, it wouldn't be a bad idea to share a small portion of the savings in a form of discounts. Start with your regular customers who have helped you build your business. Once they have been encouraged to use the middle of the month it will open up more opportunity to serve new customers who will eventually come around to your way of thinking. This business building system will make your company better and stronger. You will enjoy more success with happier employees.

Get It Done Right, and Get It Done Ahead of Schedule. Why Wait?

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Blogger Joe said...

Good advice!

4:42 PM, January 07, 2010  

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