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Changes to Front-End Workflows Change the Game at IWCO Direct

Patrick Sondreal

With advancing technology, we have seen client expectations also increase, which requires IWCO Direct to be even more adaptable to their needs. We know that our clients require high quality marketing messaging that is in their customers’ hands at the right time. To do that, we’re working to improve our ability to execute on front-end workflows.

Changing Front-End Workflows the Smart Way

We’re currently testing a new front-end workflow that enhances our processes and standards from the moment we accept a job all the way through production. The front-end workflows are crucial to the success of a project because they ensure we have the right information early in a job so that down-time waiting for correct information is kept at a minimum.

As our business grows and becomes more complex with new equipment and corresponding requirements, we find it’s beneficial to step back and re-evaluate our workflows to make sure we are operating with minimal handoffs, queues, and downtime. Streamlining our front-end process allows us to be more effective in planning and efficient in operations, which means we can turn work around more quickly. That allows us to deliver campaigns in-home even faster, so each offer is timely and relevant to any triggers or digitally automated direct mail associated with the campaign.

Helping Our Team Members Adapt to Change

Our client services and other front-end teams must be flexible to changing workflows and open to new ideas that may improve efficiency or client satisfaction. Flexibility can be difficult, especially in a work environment in which an old process is well understood and widely known. It can be daunting to have to learn a new system or software, remember changes to processes, and alter routines and habits. Our employees feel great responsibility for the end product and want to ensure the new methods don’t jeopardize our ability to meet client expectations.

The best way to alleviate these fears and open people’s minds to the possibility of change is to fully communicate changes and the reasoning behind them. We work to create understanding and excitement for new ideas and workflows by helping employees see the big picture, which helps them understand how changes will improve their daily tasks and the end product in the long run.

In this case, our improved front-end workflow will ensure that we are getting complete, accurate information at the start of each project to reduce lead times. It will also change some roles to support our intake of projects and align each employee’s work skills to support these new roles. Some employees may see changes to their daily job tasks, but these changes will help create a more balanced workday and streamline processes so tasks are less tedious or work-intensive.

Involving the Team to Make Change Easier

With every new process we test, we make sure employees who do the task get involved early on. They test and pilot, while providing suggestions for process tweaks and best practices. Their input in this testing phase is crucial because it ensures the changes we implement make sense and any growing pains during the transition are worth it.

It’s also important that we make change easy, which means providing tools that tighten communication and expand training resources and process maps. While we’re testing these new processes, we are also addressing any new pain points that may arise and finding solutions to those challenges. We identify what in our system needs to change and update the process so the change is easier to make. All this work in testing ensures that when we roll out new workflows we have really strong training programs and processes in place to prevent uncertainty in the new workflow. An upcoming post from Diana Hvistendahl, our manager of technical communications, will share more details about the specific materials we created to support this new workflow.

We’re excited to roll out our new front-end workflow and share the benefits of it with our clients. Stay tuned to SpeakingDIRECT for updates on our process improvements.

link https://www.iwco.com/blog/2018/04/10/changes-front-end-workflow/
Patrick Sondreal

Author

Patrick Sondreal

Director of Client Services, Continuous Improvement and Lean. Graduate of the University of Wisconsin–Madison with an MBA from the Kellogg School of Management. Commissioned officer of the U.S. Navy who brings a commitment to teamwork and continuous improvement to IWCO Direct every day. Wisconsin Badger fan who loves being part of his kids’ activities.

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