Do you expect table service at McDonald’s?

Ridiculous right?

The dining experience at fast food restaurants isn’t about the dining experience at all. It’s about the price, the availability, and the consistency no matter where you are in the world. The value proposition is clear, you serve yourself, you’re encouraged to clean up after yourself, and clearly by the comfort of the seats, you aren’t encouraged to linger.

We don’t expect table service at McDonalds because the value of the product is in alignment with the service provided. Self-service is part of what makes McDonald’s able to provide you a meal for under $5.

Why then do we in the print industry continue to provide full-service in the form of dedicated sales/account representatives on all orders, even the ones that are dangerously close to the cost of a McDonald’s meal?

Do you see how out of alignment this business proposition is? You can’t afford to offer table service to every one of your customers. Time and again, I see print companies supporting a raft of sales representatives whose primary daily activity is order taking and order processing. This is an unsustainable business model. Would you pay more to have table service at McDonald’s? I doubt it. Customers are not willing to fund the full-service model, this means you’re paying for it.

Customer’s preference overall across all industries is trending towards self-service. More and more customer’s try self-service channels first and then resort to full-service channels only when they can’t accomplish what they wanted themselves. The print industry has been focused intensely on the time utilization on the production floor – it’s time to look in front of production at the labor you’re consuming before the order becomes a job.