If you missed either of the two earlier parts of this series, check them out here:
Bringing It Home
Put in the best pitcher for the batter - In some cases, an LBCM like your own may not actually have a relief pitcher to put in. As mentioned previously, though, your large-batch clients might, from time to time, need to get back to the fundamentals and request a particularly small batch order. In this case, you can make a call to the bullpen for an SBJS to handle this order in a straightforward "Kit & Deadline"-type contract scenario. But the door swings both ways. Perhaps the SBJS has a small-batch customer who is having a particularly good day, and needs a large contract manufacturing batch order completed. While the SBJS may not be equipped to handle the job, they can sub you out as a consultant as well.Once the relief pitcher has been added to the roster, it's time to talk contracts. What type of relationship do you expect the SBJS to have with you and the team? Establishing agreements and expectations from the get-go will help you to play a successful game and bring it all home. Here's a look at your options:
- Play up your strengths - In baseball, even a professional athlete may have skills that require special work and attention. In order to help him to become a more successful player, he needs to focus on his strengths. The same is true in contract manufacturing. Let's say that one or more of your "star athlete" customers have the need for a certain product line or recurring small batch order that you are unable to efficiently or effectively take care of. In this case, you might hire an SBJS to act as a specialized product line steward, meaning that all demand for that particular product will be diverted to the SBJS. This frees up your time to focus on the broader needs of the entire team.
- Bring in the relief pitcher - This is the scenario in which you entrust your small-batch clients to the SBJS relief pitcher. Their orders may not be large enough yet to make them a good fit for your starting pitcher, but they do need someone specialized for the job. An SBJS will work closely with these clients, nurturing their needs and helping them to continue to grow. So what happens when these customers have large batch orders that are better suited for your starting pitcher than the relief pitcher? In this type of contract (Hand-off & Hand-back), you establish an agreement that states your order or dollar amount criteria that your reliever will handle. Once the small-batch customer’s orders hit this threshold, your SBJS hands that client back to you so your starter can deliver. In this way, you're giving business to a specialized contract manufacturing company, and allowing small-batch customers the opportunity to grow while at the same time you're providing quality service to your large-batch clients and keeping yourself open to expanding your team. Everyone wins!
- Teamwork - What about customers who are caught "in-between" needing small and large batch orders? The batters whose needs are not always black and white? On some days they may be really consistent with the batch orders that they require, whereas on others, they may be inconsistent with changing order sizes. In this case, they may require the assistance of both an LBCM and an SBJS in order to succeed. Here, you establish an understanding that some of the client's needs will be met by yourself, whereas the small batch contract manufacturing company will handle others. This type of "service partnership" can be a bit tricky, as both companies are invested in the customer, but when you work with an SBJS that you can really trust, the agreement can work out quite nicely.
As a contract manufacturing company, you want to deliver the best to all of your clients, and bringing in the right pitcher at the right time can ensure they will. If you try to use your starting pitcher throughout the entire game, his arm will get sore and he won’t be as effective handling the hitters that he’s normally really good at facing. It's only when you come to the realization that you can't and don't have to go it alone that everyone can step up to the plate and play their best game.
Taking the time to select the right SBJS relief pitcher is well worth it for all parties involved. By carefully negotiating your terms and establishing agreeable contracts with your SBJS, both small and large-batch customers can get the very most out of the contract manufacturing industry.
How could a partnership with a reliable SBJS help your business hit one out of the park?