Thursday, June 29, 2017

Doomsday Prepper - A Sign of the Times

Doomsday Preppers is a reality TV show on NatGeo... it explores different families preparing for the worst - end of the world, nuclear attack, wildfires, floods, hurricanes, tornadoes, or all of the above.

What does this have to do with signs?  At Miramar Sign Works we are "doomsday preppers", too, but our "doomsday" would be a botched sign install, or an unhappy customer we let down.  It's not realistic to think every job will go off without a hitch, but it IS realistic to always aim for that goal.  Aim for what you want, not what you have (similar to dress for the job you want, not the job you have, and other cliche terms... sometimes cliches are true!).

We are always attempting to learn from our mistakes - to make our process smoother, communicate better with our clients, not absorb costly mistakes, work smarter not harder (another true cliche) and any other learning lessons.

First line of defense in doomsday prepping is having a presence on the web and social media. (confession - sometimes social media upkeep is hard, #thestruggleisreal).  This allows your potential customers to find you - the worst doomsday would be no business after all.  Our web presence also includes "user friendly" ways of contacting us - our Estimate Request. This form gathers great information for our Sales team.

Second line of defense is Sales - they're the initial contact and relationship builder.  Responsiveness is THE number one priority - be responsive.  I can hear the cheer now - "be responsive, be be responsive"! Once initial contact has been made, Sales has a specific goal to prepare the customer for the information they need to give an accurate estimate.  Asking for this information begins the relationship building process and it might include things like a vector file, color and sheen choices, wall type, budget, and material preference.  It could get more complicated if exterior and illuminated are involved, if permitting by the city, or certificates of insurance and training certs are required by landlords.

Third line of defense is Artroom.  They continue the doomsday prepping by taking Sales' packet of info and turning it into beautiful, concise, easy to understand proofs for the customer to approve.  Is it realistic to think "one and done" for the number of times a proof will be in and out of artroom - no - but it is realistic for Sales and Artroom to work together to avoid the "crap in, crap out" syndrome that drags down the approval process and lengthens lead times.  Proofs are also part of our production drawings to ensure the Production Dept knows exactly what they're fabricating, and the client is expecting.

Fourth line of defense is peer review.  Before packets go into full production they are reviewed by the
Sales Manager and Production Manager.  If info is missing, the proofs are updated to clarify.  Does this mean production can't start - no - it means full production can't start, but items that can be ordered or started are so we can stay on top of timelines promised to our clients.  It also builds inter-office relationships among different departments to make a stronger team.

Fifth line of defense is Production.  This is where everything comes to life.  The sign industry is a very creative industry, producing beautiful signs that are needed for businesses to identify themselves and help their own clients either find them, or wayfind around once they've been found.  As the one dimensional proof comes to life in the form of 3D signs, sometimes issues arise and have to be addressed.  This means meeting with Sales and coming up with a TEAM solution.  Production also prepares for install - making sure the customer is aware of scheduled arrival day/time, being on time for install, preparing for obstacles that might be in the way, taking care of surveys and more.  (BTW, a 30 minute survey can defend against 30 hours of install mistakes - it's probably the ultimate doomsday prepper all on its own!).

All of the above are also supported and managed by an amazing Admin department - a part of every line of defense listed above. This department keeps us on track for cost, hours, AP/AR, assigning estimates as they come in via our website, certificates of insurance, workers comp, certified payroll, etc... (If you're Admin, bless you - your list is never ending!).

The final result is a team effort where everyone has assigned roles, but everything is connected at the same time because we have to support one another to deliver the best outcome for our clients.

The next time you want a sign for your business - let us help you prepare for a doomsday that will never come by being your company's best sign partner!

Signing off for now,


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