Multi-Channel: Developing the Team : Supporting Roles

November 10, 2014

"The leaders who work most effectively, it seems to me, never say 'I.' And that's not because they have trained themselves not to say 'I.' They don't think 'I.' They think 'we'; they think 'team.' They understand their job to be to make the team function. They accept responsibility and don't sidestep it, but 'we' gets the credit.... This is what creates trust, what enables you to get the task done." --Peter Drucker

Every team needs developing.  Development can encompass training, environment, goal setting, challenging work, and a good amount of inspirational leadership.  Moving into new product and service offerings such as multi-channel certainly is a way to develop the team.  You have good people around you who can possibly contribute more when you believe in them.

Roles and SkillsThere are a definite set of roles and skills you will need to rightly support multi-channel in your offerings.  There is also a good chance you already have these skills in your current team or they can be developed.  In our new world of digital on-demand online printing, these skills will serve you in many capacities. 

Operating Manager of The Service:  You have managers.  You will need to assign one of them or assign the management of this service to a key support person.  It takes development of processes and coordination with the entire production team set.

Business Development:  Many In-Plant shops have not done significant business development in the past.  They grow out of organizational need and may have been launched several decades in the past.  Assessing risks, studying market, designing a five year plan, quantifying cost/benefit, and selling to other management is all a part of what this person or group will do for you.  You don’t have to have a business developer, but you need to make sure all the tasks that need done get done by someone in the team.

Project Manager:  This might be the same person as the Operating Manager and Business Development.  This might be you.  This might be an up and coming worker or a wizened worker looking for a new challenge.  At any rate, pick a semi-technical, data astute, highly organized person to oversee implementation and first project execution.  You will need to develop several processes that fit within your present processes and create synergy.

Customer Support: Hmmm.  Now that seems to be a simple item.  However, many performing enterprise departments and In-Plants do not have a defined customer support.  For adding services such as multi-channel, you will need a defined path and/or person and persons for your customers.  They have become accustomed to you and your team as doing what you do.  They will need a new or newly advertised method of getting information and service updates.

Accounting:  Wow.  You probably already have this and refer to it as charge back or admin or some other function.  But you will need to account and get paid somehow for what you do.  If you have a fully shared budget be sensitive to have a special allocation for special services.  As you build, departments that don’t use these services might now be so happy to pay a share they never access.  Understanding the costs of people, support software, meetings, and training can help you rightly build costing into the longterm use of a product.  Some comparative pricing in the market is a good idea.


Summary:  This list of folks play supporting roles to the actual production.  Because you are in a new world, you need to pay special attention to these roles before you get too deep into the production side.  Those players actually adapt more quickly.

This article focuses on Sales/Marketing/Operations and Information levels of the operational pyramid.  

Let’s talk: Phil Larson or Shepherd Consulting OK

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