Over the years you have worked to optimize the way you work. You may have built up a fairly fool-proof process, despite all that, you still wonder if there are better ways of doing things. Can you make the entire process even faster, and more foolproof? And maybe you are resigned to having to deal with frustrating issues that have become a part of everyday work. Do you suffer from these 5 problems….Is it time to automate your advertising workflow?
What happens: The material instructions provided by the account managers have unreliable information. They may have misspelled the publication names. The ad specifications may be wrong, or completely missing. Even the dates can sometimes be wrong.
What it means: You (or your studio operators) have to take everything with a pinch of salt and do a lot of cross-checking. That’s slowing everyone down and it’s time you can’t afford when you are racing to beat multiple deadlines. Unreliable material instructions require a lot of cross checking by studio operators – time you can’t afford when you’re on deadline.
What happens: Once you have assigned the jobs to your studio operators, they may find that there are major differences between the size of the ad requested, and the actual publisher specs for the ad. This difference may be big enough to require a re-quote for the job. If you are lucky, they found out early in the process while creating the job ticket. If not, they might have found out just as they were sending the completed ad.
What it means: A lot of wasted time and effort. You have to pass the information back to the account manager to get a re-quote or client approval. If you are already dealing with a whole lot of conflicting deadlines, all this passing back and forth messes up your scheduling and pushes other jobs back. The problem is even more serious if the ad in question is under tight deadlines because it means your team gets even less time to work on it, and risk missing the deadline.
Job ticket errors
What happens: When you pass the work to the studio operators, and they create job tickets, sometimes they make mistakes putting in the information, or they fail to catch problems which have been passed on from the original material instructions. Most of the time, your existing work process means these problems are caught fairly early. So there’s a bit of a delay, but otherwise things are fine. On bad days, these errors are not caught until the files get to the publishers, and the publishers will then reject the ad and send it back to be fixed.
What it means: The problem is human error can happen on good days, but they tend to crop up so much more often when we are stressed, on days when everyone is under the pump. That makes those mistakes even more serious, because they just add onto the existing stress points. Depending on how much notice the publisher gives you (and whether you cut it really close when you sent the ad in the first place), you risk missing the deadline for an ad that has been paid for already. That means having to explain yourself to the account manager, an angry client, and probably management. If, by a stroke of luck, you have a few hours to get the ad sent through again, you’re probably going to have to throw the schedule out the window and push the team hard to get the ad fixed and approved again.
What happens: Your team checks and double-checks the finished ads. There’s a double or triple sign-off process. But sometimes everyone overlooks problems which only become obvious when the publisher rejects the file, or worse, after it gets printed. Maybe it’s a font which becomes too small to read after the ad has been resized. Or elements becoming misaligned, or hidden layers showing up in print.
What it means: If the problem is serious enough, this can cost the agency money as the clients will make your agency pay for the cost of the ad, which can easily cost more than what you would have made by taking on the job. These sorts of problems can also see clients leaving your agency, and may even cost you your job.
Too many tools
What happens: To get all the information you need to get your job done, you are switching between many different screens and tools.
What it means: You might be used to having to use these systems, but all this clutter can be confusing at times, and let’s face it, some of the software isn’t as stable or as usable as you’d like it to be. All this adds minutes to your daily work – and this quickly adds up.