Rush Jobs: The New Reality
RECENTLY AN item was posted on the IPMA listserv entitled "Rush Jobs." The posting pointed out the headaches caused by constantly shrinking deadlines. There were quite a number of responses to the original posting. It is a subject all of us deal with on a regular basis.
So what were some of the points brought out in this discussion?
- Rush work is often the result of poor planning on the customer's part. And the turnaround times demanded are getting shorter and shorter.
- Proofing delays by the customer are a major cause of rush work headaches.
- Short turnaround dates are sometimes overstated by the customers in order to get a built-in margin of safety.
- Customers demand a rush turnaround date and then leave the finished job sitting for a day or two after the "deadline." This is particularly hard on in-plant morale, in addition to the routine stress associated with producing rush jobs.
- Shouldn't we be able to charge overtime or rush charges for these jobs?
- Ultimately we have little choice but to try our best to meet these rush deadlines since there are typically hungry commercial printers out there willing to turn the job around.
So what conclusions can we draw? Of course, there is no single solution. For one thing, in-plants vary considerably in terms of policies, equipment, capabilities, etc. But I did get the sense there was some level of agreement among the various responses on this hot topic. Allow me to offer my thoughts.
Is It Just Poor Planning?
I don't believe that rush work is always the result of poor planning by the customer. What I do believe is that the latest information is the most accurate information. And who wants to print information that is inaccurate? Often, decisions can't be made until late in the game. This means our time to produce a printed piece is sliced down to nothing. But it is either that or don't print it at all. Personally I'll take the rush work (since I can't retire yet).
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