The customer demands all three--and probably sooner than later.
By Marty McGhie
The best scenario you can work for is to provide a highenough
level of service to your top clients to ensure that they
will let you know when your price is too high. This allows you the
chance to adjust price and still produce the job. Of course, this
situation is contingent upon your ability to perform well within
our other two arenas"?speed and quality.
Speed within realistic frameworks
If you wish to compete in today's graphics world, the bottom line
is that you must meet your customers' deadlines. It doesn't
really matter how unreasonable they may seem; the fact is, if
you aren't willing to meet their demands, there is a competitor
out there who will.
Granted, sometimes there may be some negotiation as to
timeframes in order to meet reality"?I'm tempted here to
expound on some of my customers' versions of reality. But you
have to build a business model suited to quick turns and on-time
deliveries in order to survive.
After more than 12 years in the business of producing graphics,
I'm still amused when we work to meet a "hard" deadline for a
customer, only to find that there is an issue with job quality and
it has to be redone. Suddenly, the deadline has become a lot
more "flexible," providing ample time to produce a redo.
Attaining the necessary quality when battling time and price
can be an exercise in frustration. But, again, today's customer
demands the right to expect top quality regardless of price and
turnaround times. Tough experience has taught us that it never
works to send out a job produced with inferior quality in order to
meet a customer deadline. A better solution is to discuss any
quality issues with the client, even if it costs some time"?this
ensures that they are paying for the best product possible. Customers
can usually live with the latter case.
Best at all three
From time to time I still think about the sign I read way back then.
I chuckle that we believed we could have it that way. These days,
competition for your clients is tough. Not only do you need to provide
your customers with the best-quality products, produced on
time, at the right price"?you had better be the best at all three.
Marty McGhie (firstname.lastname@example.org) is VP finance/
operations of Ferrari Color, a digital-imaging center with Salt
Lake City, San Francisco, and Sacramento locations.