It is a universal truth commonly acknowledged that, in any enterprise, different departments tend to focus on the work to be done in their own silos, scrambling to hit their deadlines and making a strenuous effort to demonstrate to leadership the value they deliver. While individual performance may be simpler to measure this way, as a business-wide strategy such a practice can be debilitating, and damaging to growth, particularly during the production of what is intended to be a cohesive marketing effort, complete with support materials. A form of tunnel vision takes over within the elements of a company, resulting each being afforded a partial view of the greater objectives, a limited perspective driven by the belief that work is “done” when it leaves one desk, or department, and becomes the responsibility of the next.
If work effectively goes over a wall every time a task is complete, then the previous phase is completely invisible to those receiving it; an entropic pattern repeated all along the isolated stages of the business supply chain. The invariable results: more work, increased overtime hours, budget overruns and, possibly most detrimental, the instilment of a permanent, all-pervasive tension that exacerbates the sense of urgency at every crucial stage of the project.
All these inefficiencies can be addressed and overcome, but it takes that dirty word: change. Workforces and management alike are still afraid of change; it’s expensive, it has side-effects, casualties, it’s a gamble and all the other euphemisms that insecurity and distrust occasions. In this case the change is two-fold: one, introducing and encouraging an enterprise-wide mentality in the entire workforce, which can be directly empowered by two, the elevation and integration of automated processes into the operation.
Too few professionals are familiar with the technological solutions that currently exist to enable the elimination of the silos, the crippling mindset they engender and the costs and risks they contain that threaten the development and progress of a business.
A combination of technology platform and software can afford true visibility for everyone across the enterprise involved in producing branding, merchandising or marketing campaigns. Essentially, it’s possible to integrate a truly collaborative, integrated end-to-end workflow solution for creative teams and their production and procurement departments; one in which everyone knows each other’s role, responsibilities and activities in real-time.
Because of the complete, supply chain-wide inclusivity of these systems, driven by the principle of taking an idea seamlessly through to its end-user format, they’re known as “Concept-to-Customer” solutions. By putting designers, procurers and suppliers on the same page – digitally and literally – all stakeholders in the process are aware of the timeline, the parameters for price and materials and, at last, the ultimate goals, allowing for optimum performance, production and delivery.
The majority of businesses with a silo-based approach to workflow and the output of branding, marketing or merchandising materials generally face the same challenges; a list that basically reinforces the advantages of a “Concept-to-Consumer” solution.
poor communication between teams;
increasingly tight deadlines;
lack of standardization in managing brand assets;
constant switching between digital and physical assets.
It’s evident that, in such an environment, perception of the ultimate deliverable doesn’t really exist beyond the immediate department-specific objective. Particularly when the onus is on getting to the individual finish line on-time and on-budget, a feat that frequently takes heroic effort.
Consequently, the process becomes virally unstable right down the line. Creative stakeholders, for example, complain that artwork feedback is not legible or in a consistent format readable, or that those charged with providing comments cannot be physically located to help clarify instructions. The irony is, it would suit all parties, from design to traffic to printers, to have a simple method of communicating and collaborating within and outside their teams, a way that to precludes needlessly excessive proofs, more meetings, greater time, effort and money wasted on getting through approval to production.
Marketing production professionals, similarly, should be more connected with what is happening back in creative, to ensure that estimating and budgeting aren’t last minute, potentially costly exercises. Additionally, without a central, universally accessible repository, digital asset requests consume an inordinate amount of production’s time. It makes operational and fiscal sense to empower everyone across the board to grab what they need and get to final approvals.
There is no longer any need to work in isolation; to persist with a labor-intensive, blinkered process that undermines effectiveness, morale, output quality and the company bottom line. The technology and the consultative partners exist to provide a “Concept-to-Customer” solution that fits the requirements of any enterprise. By uniting previously disconnected business processes, dramatic efficiencies can be created that increase each team’s ability to meet timelines and budgets – and to ensure the ultimate deliverable.
Sink the silos. It’s time to start walking - and working - through walls.
Access LogicSource's 2013 Global Sourcing Summit breakout presentation with Ultimate Fighting Championship,
Putting Creative and Procurement in the Octagon: How the UFC KO’d their Sourcing Challenges. Learn how the UFC put chaos into submission through the integration of digital asset management and eProcurement, cutting significant time out of the creative approval and procure-to-pay processes while enabling a lean buying team to more effectively manage its complex marketing production spend categories.