Boyle - Nine Costly Mistakes (645 words)
Information was missing or wrong. Have you ever had missing or wrong phone, fax or Web information in your catalog? Was your shipping information not updated? The list goes on, and each of these errors can cost money.
Solution: Create a checklist of items that everyone can use when proofreading your catalog. When an important operational change is made (e.g., new shipping costs or new call center hours), be sure your checklist is updated. Place one person in charge of keeping this checklist current and distributed.
The creative file was rejected by the printer. If this has ever happened to your catalog, you've seen the accusations fly and the inevitable race to correct the problem to meet the deadline. Simply stated, this should not happen with good communication.
Solution: Request templates and specifications from your printer outlining how the file should be set up. In most cases, the order form is printed independently from your catalog, but needs to be coordinated with your catalog printer so bindery specifications are followed. Don't assume this coordination happens only when you change printers, or that the printer will update you of equipment changes. Always ask. Also, send proofs ahead of time to your printer's account rep, and for a signoff.
You received surprise invoices. It's difficult to plan for a profitable mailing when budget surprises eat up planned profits.
Solution: Insist that everyone involved notifies the appropriate person(s) when a change to the circulation plan, merchandise plan or creative effort occurs. Generally, a change always will affect the budget (usually with an increase). These budgetary changes should be forwarded to the person with P&L responsibilities. The actual change is not the culprit, it's the lack of communication.
If any of these costly errors sound familiar, re-evaluate your current catalog workflow. If more than three of the above occurred, you definitely need a process overhaul.