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Blog Archive March 2011

notions >> Norman Kay

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10 March 2011


Author: Stephen R. Covey

If you passed on this amazing book a few years ago, here’s your chance to review what I believe to be one of the more functional books of the past decade. While reviewing my original notes recently I realized that this is a must share.
Covey developed a unique take on ‘time management;’ truly a misnomer, as the context is fundamentally about energy management and life management.
In the true sense you cannot manage time, but you can prevent it from managing you; and you are the one inserting the content that moves your life forward; either mundanely  or, as I live it, in Sequential Overdrive.

Some outtakes from Covey’s cleanly executed narrative:

  •  Anything less than a conscious commitment to the important is an unconscious commitment to the unimportant.
  • The Management Matrix:  The four quadrants
  • The main thing is to keep the main thing the main thing!
  • The Center of Focus: To spend time in any other circle diminishes our effectiveness.
  • The objective is not to fill the container to the ‘brim.’
  • There is a powerful difference when we live in the Kairos or Abundance  Paradigm.


02 March 2011

Outsourcing of the entire packaging design, development and production responsibility is a prevailing alternative.   Whenever an organization utilizes outside support for anything, it is essentially outsourcing.
So the process, however limited in scale, is an everyday and necessary on-going business experience.

Employing an outside agency to surgically remove an organ of the enterprise is something quite different.

Outsourcing of the entire packaging design, development and production responsibility is a prevailing alternative.   Whenever an organization utilizes outside support for anything, it is essentially outsourcing.
So the process, however limited in scale, is an everyday and necessary on-going business experience.

Employing an outside agency to surgically remove an organ of the enterprise is something quite different.
The surface savings may seem readily quantifiable and easily inserted into any presentation however one would be best advised to accurately define those inside core strengths prior to initiating any fundamental change. The craving to attain immediate financial relief goes something like this: “whatever can go outside, goes outside and let’s concentrate on our core strengths.”

This design trend in reorganization often works if you are talking about a quantitative, non-tactical part of the overall process such as purchasing printed material that has already been creatively developed and approved.  With fewer employees, ergo, salaries, benefits and space, you can reconfigure the bottom line, enhancing both the operating statement as well as the balance sheet.

The financial justification “appears” appetizing.
A consulting firm is initially engaged to re-engineer and re-structure the operation or the department.
We assume that the newly minted ‘process’ has been measured against present packaging solutions,
packaging innovation, and what the current system lacks - if anything.
Exhaustive interviews must reveal whether or not the out-sourcing affiliate (OSA) has the capabilities, the experience, the credentials and a similar culture to successfully accomplish the sought-after marketing solutions.  Marketing, brand strategy, operations, and top management must assess the effects this will have on future performance as well as the ramp-up to merge with current programs and initiatives.

Evaluate, evaluate, evaluate.
Observe the entire organization as it appears holistically. This includes the product or service, its relevance in today’s market, historical and recent earnings performance, industry overview, strategic plan, people and material assets, singular strengths, viewpoint, and purpose.
Are you over or under staffed?
Are your key people effective?
Is there an uninterrupted flow of information with transactional ease between the bodies that comprise the entire organization?

Consider before you commit:
What is the corporate culture before the department is severed?
Has it been defined and ingested or is it as prosaic as most mission statements?
Who gets to paint that picture?
How will this culture be altered?
What are the measurable high impact goals aside from overhead re-allocation?
What hidden costs will likely emerge after the reorganization takes place?
Are you adding design talent that is lacking?
Are you accreting production flexibility? Speed?
How do you earmark efficiency, and how do you assess effectiveness?
Who is driving this move, and are the motives absolutely clear, and supported concretely?

A few of the critical disciplines involved in outsourcing the packaging department: design and creative, engineering, structural integrity, QC standards, recyclability&sustainability, material&converting processes, fulfillment, legal/mandatory, and functional&esthetic testing.
I suggest, and it has been our consistently successful experience, that there is a third alternative to governing the packaging sphere.

A.    Stasis. “If it’s not broken don’t fix it.”
B.  Outsource. Let go of all the internal complexity and overhead, exporting those issues to the outsourcing affiliate (OSA).
This reminds me of “take two aspirins and call me in a year.”

C.    Blend the two approaches into one best long term outcome.
Essentially it’s In-Sourcing.
We like to call it Sequential Overdrive.

Let’s take a look at the ‘process’ that In-Sourcing presents.
    a.    Distilling the packaging discipline into its vital subsections: Primary packaging, Secondary or Promotional packaging, Print media and miscellaneous collateral
    b.    Analyzing the overall workload; maintenance of existing packaging, and new initiatives
    c.    Selecting your most productive talent and eliminating the laggards
    d.    Designating your directors for primary and secondary work - each of these directors requires one equally efficient and knowledgeable manager
    e.    Designating other individuals to process the bulk of the contractual information
    f.    This step is the key to your success. Each of the directors is empowered and responsible to select the best of the best suppliers with the following characteristics:
 Success history, cost effectiveness, consistent quality, transactional speed and ease of communications, in-house structural and graphic design expertise, overall global production capability, speed to market, creative and problem solving turnaround speed, staffed engineering and QC, a specified experienced account liaison , and finally, a deep understanding of your products positioning in the marketplace.

And the payoff!
Unlike a paid-for, retainer-based creative services design agency, the new era, full-service design and product development firms provide this total package of ‘value-added’ services at no additional cost in return for an on-budget significant portion of the yearly production.
As a result, you continue to realize the benefits of continuity within your organization while maintaining a minimal overhead with internal staff who ‘live’ your business as you capture the strengths, initiative and creativity of your In-Sourcing partners.  These suppliers provide continual essential support and become the backbone of your department’s architecture.

The opportunity you will seize and experience with these ‘turnkey’ packaging companies is a grasp of the entire strategic marketing picture that defines your brand strategy success while providing all the attributes in the right sequence, with the correct timing, and with relevant solutions.

In-Sourcing works! Whether it’s cosmetic packaging, pharmaceutical packaging, scotch packaging or global production; done correctly, it’s a beautiful solution.

“It’s not the answer that enlightens, but the question.” Eugene Ionesco

So I ask you this. What plagues your packaging initiatives in this hi-productivity / low overhead era?