Written by:
Howard Fenton
Senior Technology Consultant
NAPL

In many companies, the relationship between sales and production is strained. Sales blames production for mistakes, cost overruns or delivering late and production blames sales for over-promising, inaccurate job specifications or unrealistic deadlines.

If you’re like most companies today, you may have tried to create more teamwork and a better working relationship between production and sales. You may have had someone from prepress or one of your vendors offer your sales team training. You might have had an IT or prepress person go out on sales calls. Or you might not have been able to cost-justify hiring a subject matter expert (SME) or you hired a digital sales specialist that did not work out. And like most companies you may not have achieved much success.

The success in using SMEs extends far beyond just having someone you identify as the expert. It requires a culture of teamwork and ongoing teamwork exercises. One of the challenges is that in many companies the relationship between sales and production is more competitive than cooperative. When things go wrong, there is more finger pointing than fist bumping.

Team building and increasing moral will also increase productivity. Considering the typical morale problems I see, I would recommend trying to improve staff attitudes through a series of team-building exercises such as the creation of a new mission statement, plant tours that require teamwork and rehearsed presentations, as well as customer training seminars. Team building can also help create a sense of pride for on-time delivery.

Do you have a teamwork problem? Are you just living with it? Or are you working on it?

Howard Fenton is a Senior Consultant at NAPL. Howie advises commercial printers, in-plants, and manufacturers on workflow management, operations, digital services, and customer research. He is a paid contributor to this blog.