The Messy Business of Job Onboarding

Pat McGrew
Dec 20, 2016

The fifth item in the Workflow Quiz is where the business of making money begins. Up to now we’ve looked at processes and tracking, but now it’s time to take a critical look at what happens when a customer wants to place an order and you want to accept that order. In a sense we’re coming back to the beginning now that you’ve named all of the steps in the workflow and have a good idea of the paths that jobs take through your shop.

Onboarding is the set of processes the start when a customer places an order and ends when the job is in the production workflow. It includes acquisition of the final job specifications, print files, associated data and resource files, job ticketing, logging the job into the accounting system, establishing proofing requirements, defining delivery requirements, and defining the payment methods.

How many ways can a customer place an order with you? Are customers required to have a sales person, or is it possible for anyone to place an order over the phone, via fax or email, or using a web-to-print or web-to-order process? How the orders are received and verified drives many of the next steps.

For most orders placed through a sales person the chances are that the job is well-defined, specifications have been matched to an understood production workflow, and expectations about price and delivery time have been set. The same is usually true when working with regular clients who call an order entry hotline or place orders by email or over the web.
For orders coming in for first-time customers, whether it is in person, by email, by phone or over the web, you should have an onboarding checklist that helps everyone involved ensure that everything needed to produce the job is determined before work starts. Start with the basics:

  1. All client information, including contract phone numbers and email addresses for billing, job information, press check/creative and final sign off.
  2. Job estimation, quote and agreed pricing, with substrate and finishing.
  3. Press check and proof requirements.
  4. Delivery time frame and method.

Now account for the specifics for your production environments. Do you have different processes for flat work versus bound work? How do you account for substrate and consumables inventory against incoming orders?
A quick check with the sales teams, accounting teams, customer service teams, and production teams with your list in hand should uncover missing items in your onboarding process. For everyone you uncover, correcting the issue should result in smoother job onboarding that eliminates mistakes and reworks.
If you have stories to share reach out to me! @PatMcGrew on Twitter, on LinkedIn, or all reach me.

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