Staff Downsizing Was Important to Return to Profitability
Reviewing numbers every quarter, the manufacturing manager knew and recognized that business was slow. After all, he worked in sales three days a week, travelling all over the East Coast visiting with clients and developing new clients to purchase his products, all produced using high quality printing services.
With the advent of digital printing, personal printers that produce high resolution prints on demand and the use of email and direct email marketing platforms, fewer companies buy printing services than in the past. Printing and postal delivery of print collateral, once viewed as a necessity, have essentially become luxuries for many businesses.
The skilled craftsmen who worked in our client’s shop were not utilized to their full potential. In many cases, weeks went by during which workers were only employed about 40 percent of the time. Two productive work days out of five won’t cut it. Optimism, forward thinking goals and ideas continued to permeate the firm but didn’t yield work for the team. Drastic actions were necessary to return to profitability.
Recognizing that professional offset and high-end digital pressmen are craftsmen in their own right, the manager was very careful to retain his best and most talented employees. It takes many years to train and develop a journeyman printer, and he was correct in recognizing that he had to “protect” his most talented staff. Likewise, he recognized that he could reduce, realign and reassign homogeneous task performance among customer service, CSR and back office staff. That was the path he chose.
Some customer service representatives had been eligible to retire but had remained on the company payroll. Those individuals were identified and provided with a nominal severance package. A careful review of shipping, packaging and financial services functions allowed for some job enrichment opportunities for staff, allowing for more positions to be reduced as job descriptions for retained employees expanded
The end result was a leaner work force that was highly motivated, enthusiastic and dedicated to the cause.
In fact, today, employee morale has increased significantly, new orders are coming in at a greater rate than previously forecast and the company is back on a path to greater profitability.
The manufacturing manager told our consultant that his only regret was that he did not take this action at least three quarters earlier. He recognized that the staff realignment actions were critical but did not want to take action.
Sound familiar? If you are in a similar situation, give us a call. We can help you regain/sustain your path to profitability.