production systemHow efficient is your current production system?

Some time back, during a rush period, the production supervisor at our printing company asked me to visit and quality check a job a new outside vendor was doing for us.

I was greeted, on arrival, with a friendly hello from Ralph, the owner, and given an impromptu tour of his company. He let me know immediately that he was “already familiar” with me and my business systems.


“I know what you think about how business should be done,” Ralph smiled like a card player holding all aces.

“Philip, let me show you MY system,” he said, pointing to a large glass window on one wall of his office. Ralph had purposely installed it across from his desk, to keep an eye on his production area.

A good production system

I was somewhat surprised when Ralph told me he didn’t need systems like the ones I prescribe.  He preferred, rather, to keep constant watch through his window, to personally oversee every single job going through his shop.

Now it was his turn to be surprised, as I commented that his was “a perfectly good production system.” I actually liked his window.

I have no problem with business owners who enjoy working IN their companies as production managers, or wearing multiple hats. Many owners have been happy and successful operating their businesses that way. My own brother and one of my best friends operate their businesses in that same fashion, very effectively!

As for me, when I first opened my business in 1988, I also operated it with this hands-on-everything approach, and I was profiting. But, I was NOT very happy with that kind of production system.

A better production system

Those like me, and other business owners we work with, are of a breed that prefers not to work IN their business. Others want a job title, i.e. production manager, bookkeeper, sales director, quality control inspector, etc. I like the printing business immensely, but my vision was to own a company that ran well, whether I was there or not.

I wrote all about our better production systems in my book, System Busters: How to Stop Them in Your Business. In the early days, whenever I left the building, all mayhem would break loose. I would end up losing money by not being on the premises.

But, here’s the deal.  I had other aspirations as an entrepreneur; like buying a farm, restoring an old house, doing some writing, starting other companies, etc.  So, I soon grew tired of my job with its many hats; tired of the long hours and ever-increasing dropped balls. I was weary of irate customers, due to the mistakes we made, for lack of good, quality control systems.

I finally realized there was only one way to free myself of the day-to-day operations of a business. Of course, it would take a production system that would operate AS IF I WAS THERE overseeing every job.  It would take the power of systems!

That’s my VIEW, from my window. What’s your view?

Did I mention? Great systems work!

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