Oh and I just HAVE to tell you about the next stage in our systems development! You didn't think it was going to stop at quoting did you?
Once we started winning all these now jobs (on top of the jobs that came in as re-orders!) we needed to make sure we stay on top of things!
I can't say they didn't previously have a system ... they did. Most new jobs had a little job bag with notes stored in it, samples etc. Good idea hey?
Well maybe in 1995 it was! OK, that's a bit rude I guess, but only one person ever has access to a job bag at a time, and you know what happens when one job bag gets placed on another. Jobs go missing, customers are forever calling to find out where there job is up to because no one lets them know. How could you? Know one really knows!
Well we have a solution that works like a charm! We already had the excellent CRM (that we built of course!) and the great quoting system (that we built! ... ok getting old)... so we had the perfect platform for workflow management!
I know I've said this many times, but I believe in keeping things simple ... that way they get used! When things get complicated they start taking longer instead of making things more efficient.
So we built a simple system that shows us the list of jobs we have on, grouped by different statuses. On a regular basis I can simply scan through the new jobs, decide (based on electronic notes attached) whether a job needs to go through a design phase or whether it can go straight to print.
When our graphic designers complete a design they simply click a button to send a proof to the client and then look in the list to see which job needs a design next.Of course once a job is ready for print or print department has direct access to the print files and simply print, and then mark as completed.
Our Quality Assurance team next pick it up and check everything before clicking a button saying it's ready for pickup (or delivery of course if that was required or offered!)
Sounds great doesn't? Well it is! It's simple, it's quick, and we can access it from any computer in the office, in fact anywhere in the world! But that's not the real reason it's great!
Every time the status of a job changes (when we click the buttons!), the customer is automatically notified!
Scary isn't it? The customer knows exactly what we are up to at all times! I remember once suggesting this to a client I was consulting to and they were horrified at the idea! They did not want the customer to know what was going on!
Hey maybe I'm wrong. But I believe it adds accountability. Knowing the customer knows exactly what is going on means we better do a good job! Now isn't that the idea anyway? I want to be proud of what we offer to our customers!
Feedback so far is customers love it! And we may be making some impressions ... looks like we may be doing the printing for Microsoft's promotional products :)