January/February 2004

Distributor Dilemmas

It’s All About Communication
Every Department Must Be in the Mix

by Richard Kahn

In October while attending the Association of Millwork Distributors (AMD) (formerly the NSDJA), convention in Orlando I was fortunate to have met the publisher of SHELTER magazine, Brian Welsh. Brian had asked me if it would be OK if the magazine quoted me on my thoughts of the convention. I told him I would be delighted to offer my input.

Soon thereafter, I received a call from SHELTER’s editor Samantha Carpenter and provided her with a short quote for the upcoming issue. (For a review of the convention, see the November/December issue of SHELTER magazine. In passing, I mentioned to Samantha that I was working on an article, and she suggested I send her a copy when I was done and that maybe it could be included in an upcoming issue. 

I was working on an article on communication in the workplace as I had been troubled by the lack of shared information between the different departments in my company. I have witnessed programs suffer because one department lacked communication with another to the extent of complete program failure and loss of market share.

We have all heard the expression, “The left hand doesn’t know what the right is doing.” It’s no fun being the target of that comment.

Well-thought-out, effectively communicated and strategically implemented campaigns usually result in successful and profitable product launches. All the various departments from purchasing, sales, marketing and advertising must communicate with each other effectively. 

Too often programs fail due to the lack of inter-department and intra-department communication. One might have the best intentions and a great idea, but if there is poor communication, the program is doomed from the start. The old adage, “Fail to plan. Plan to fail.” once again shows its face.

So the question remains … how do we reduce the risks of product failure and increase our overall success rate when launching new products and programs? One thing we must do is increase overall company awareness so that the right always knows what the left is doing. We must increase the frequency of company meetings. Every department must be kept in the know. When all departments are brought into the mix, the result is greater productivity, greater success and greater profits. 


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