In Part 1 of this series, you heard about the importance of building a deep bullpen consisting of the right pitchers for your particular needs. You can see that each ballgame will require your starter and your reliever coming in at different times to handle the lineup you’re facing. So… now it’s time to figure out the bullpen of pitchers you’ll bring to the game.
Building Your Bullpen
Anyone in the lineup who fits the criteria for your relief pitcher will be pitched to by them instead of the starter. Notice that you're not handing your clients off to a competing team, or contract manufacturing company, but instead, are allowing a teammate to take on the responsibility of delivering the small-batch orders of your customers. Your chosen relief pitcher (or bullpen of relief pitchers) should be chosen and brought into the bullpen because they have the expertise, time, resources, and ability to service the small batch orders efficiently and effectively. No one meets this criteria better than a small batch job shop (SBJS). By focusing solely on small batch orders, an SBJS is able to help large batch contract manufacturers (LBCMs) like you decide which pitcher to bring in and when. Here's how: First, you need to decide which of your pitchers is best suited to handle the customer orders in the lineup. If the start of the lineup consists mainly of large batch orders, you’re likely to serve them with your in-house team, or your regular starter, fulfilling their orders and continuing to provide quality contract manufacturing services. As the game progresses and your starting pitcher (i.e. your internal team) works through the orders, an occasional small batch order may pop up in the lineup. It’s a good idea to establish the criteria around which orders your team is equipped to handle, and when it’s best to bring in another pitcher from the bullpen. Establishing these criteria such as number of pieces in the order or dollar amount of the order will act as the dividing line between large and small-batch orders and help you to decide which pitcher is best suited for the job.
- Give your arm a rest - When you don't have to worry about pitching the entire game, you have time to focus all of your energy on completing large batch orders efficiently for your clients. This keeps them satisfied with the speed and quality of your contract manufacturing services, and enables them to enjoy success in their businesses and grow even more.
- Bring your reliever in at the right time - Sure, those smaller-batch orders offer great potential for more large batch work in the future, but how can you expect them to grow if their needs aren't met? Without proper attention, these orders can take longer than necessary to fulfill, causing constraints on that customer’s end-users. This can cost your customers current and future business. With the expertise of an SBJS for their small batch orders, you can provide a great experience for all of your customers’ orders – allowing them to best service their customers and continue their growth. It’s a win-win.
- Back to the basics - No matter how experienced a player is, there may come a time when he needs to go back to the basics, focusing on skills that he’s perfected along his career. In the same way, you’re going to have these needs for smaller orders come up with your regular customers from time to time. You’ve established that this is an important customer, and don't want to put them off, but handling such a customized order isn't in your area of expertise, and could significantly reduce your efficiency. Time to call in the reliever! The SBJS can step in for this one order and handle the basics so that you can continue focusing on what you do best – hitting the big orders out of the park.
So how does all of this work, exactly? Before anything else, you need to know what to look for when recruiting a relief pitcher. The primary thing to insist upon is that your teammate is, in fact, an SBJS, meaning that they only work on those small batch orders. The last thing that you want is to hand off a potential power hitter to a pitcher working for a competing team. It's important to also seek out established businesses with industry experience, who are passionate about growing players with specialized talent, and who have an excellent track record for customer satisfaction. After all, you don't want anyone less than the best coming in to assist with the win.
Stay tuned for Part 3 of this series: Bringing It Home, coming soon.