A Workflow Overhaul
NAMED ONE of the decade’s top 10 most recognizable corporate icons, the lovable Aflac duck, featured in television and print commercials, not only makes us laugh, but delivers a powerful message about our financial future.
Headquartered in Columbus, Ga., Aflac (short for American Family Life Assurance Co.) utilizes an enormous and diversified array of printed material to support its high-profile icon. To produce the hundreds of millions of printed pieces Aflac needs each year, the company relies on a wholly owned subsidiary called Communicorp.
Located on one of the Aflac campuses in Columbus, Communicorp’s 117,500-square-foot printing facility operates in a 24/7 mode, and is dedicated to Aflac’s marketing needs. In addition, Communicorp produces work for numerous commercial clients—from national accounts like Porsche North America and The Ritz-Carlton Hotel Co. to local customers like Realtree Outdoors and Synovus Financial Corp.
With such tremendous work volumes involving a diversity of printed material, Communicorp officials knew they needed a new and more efficient workflow. Both customer service and profitability were targets for improvement. So Communicorp undertook a multi-year project of systems and software upgrades.
Communicorp CEO James Woodall created a mandate for change within his organization. Biweekly, pre-dawn meetings began, assembling all officers and managers to discuss the need for improvement and to assemble a team to make it happen. It was during one of these sessions that Woodall suggested contacting an industry workflow consultant for assistance in achieving a lean manufacturing posture.
The first step suggested by the consultant was to perform an in-depth assessment of the company’s strengths and weaknesses. A SWOT (Strengths, Weaknesses, Opportunities and Threats) analysis was made, and the current workflow was mapped. Communicorp’s consultant worked in tandem with a senior management team to define and build an effective and efficient integrated workflow.