A couple of months ago I needed to have some copying and mounting work done for a trade show display and took it into a local store, part of a chain. I was revising two of the four panels in the display. I took in a panel that had been done previously by them and knew that the two revised panels would be slightly different in appearance as they were created on a new program. I also knew that they did not do the work locally and sent them to their Vancouver store to be done.
When the new panels arrived they were glossy, not matte, and the print was very blurry. They were not acceptable so I returned them and made the decision to revise all four panels so they had the same appearance. The new panels had a half inch white border and the old panels did not.
When I received the panels for the second time the print was much better and they were matte. However for whatever reason they decided to trim off the border even though I stated the panels had to be a specific size. It was too late as they were needed the following day so I made them work.
This points out several issues.
The first is that there is an internal and an external customer involved. This involves communication and the more people involved in the conversation, the more chances of failure. Many times in business they only think of a customer as being the external one. In this case the Nanaimo store was the internal customer and I was the external one. The internal one is as important as the external.
If at all possible deal directly with the person doing the job. Part of the problem in this case, I was only a piece of paper to the person producing the product.
The second issue is related to quality. How did it leave the facility in the state it was in? Who is in charge of ensuring the product is the best it can be?
The third issue is ignoring the specs for the job and not connecting with the customer before varying from them? As it turned out my panels were not designed to fit into a frame but what if they did? How would I cope with a panel that was one inch smaller.
There are two lessons here. The first is for me. In future only deal with companies that can produce the product locally. That way I still have control over the product.
The second is for companies for whom this is a reality. You need to have clear guidelines on the product production from the placement of the order, communication between departments and customers, and quality control.
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