Is there another way to express, “music to my ears?” Yes, I know; the world moves too fast these days. When was the last time you took a nap? Or had an actual coffee break – not just slurping it down before it gets cold while you crank out more work but actually sitting apart from your desk or car and taking an occasional sip as you converse with a colleague? Sounds positively quaint doesn’t it? There must be a Normal Rockwell depiction of that somewhere in his oeuvre.
The frenetic pace of life in the modern post-industrial world has been dissected at great length so I won’t belabor that. The point here is; we need to deal with it. As businesspeople, we cannot choose the conditions under which we compete. We must simply compete in order to remain viable. Competition for customers drives the market. And these days, customers are not in a waiting mood. Why? Well mostly because businesses of all types are doing their best to provide instant gratification wherever possible. And if your business won’t, someone else probably will so you better figure it out.
Probably the only people who still have coffee breaks are unionized government employees who have them written into their work rules. Now we’ll play that game: “which of these things is not like the other?” The answer to this one is pretty easy – civil servants don’t have to compete. The services they provide (to the extent they provide them) are monopolies. Try getting a driver’s license anywhere besides the Registry of Motor Vehicles. (OK, the registry is low-hanging fruit but it does illustrate the point). Just come back when break time is over pal! Those of us in the private, competitive sector are forced to satisfy the demands of the customer or face losing that customer.
For the past thirty-five plus years I’ve been purchasing, selling or supplying printed forms and envelopes. In the early 1980’s, hardly antediluvian, it wasn’t uncommon for a vendor to have a 2-3 week lead time for a routine printed item; like, say a mortgage application or some such. This was acceptable in most cases. Now, unless you’re talking about a custom job, you’d get the e mail equivalent of stink-eye from any customer to whom you gave such a production estimate. Quite simply no one can wait that long anymore. The irony in the world of print is that there is less volume of print being consumed which you’d think might mitigate toward even longer acceptable lead times. No such luck!
It’s really just a function of the juiced up society in which we live. I find it somewhat amusing when I watch my teenage daughter get annoyed by having to wait half a minute for something to download. Yes, it’s tough when you have the entire world at your fingertips. And business functions in this world, whether we like it or not so we must adapt and be nimble.
As for me, I welcome these constant customer demands for virtually instant gratification. It creates opportunity for advantage to smaller businesses which can adapt to change more easily. It also places a premium on highly capable and skilled customer service staff who can make things happen quickly and efficiently. Such things provide distinct value to the customer who resides in the same demanding world and appreciates a company that can solve his problem rapidly thereby making him look good. This pretty much describes Elite Envelope and has been an important factor in our growth and success.
Rush orders – bring ‘em! Yes, music to my ears. What might be the theme song for rush orders? “I’m in a Hurry” by Alabama? “Russian Folk Song”? OK, time to sign off! Let me know if you have any song titles or any comments in general. They are always much appreciated.