Thursday, April 15, 2010

Vertical integration – a WIN WIN deal

Did you ever look around your office or cubicle and just wonder “where did all this stuff come from?” I mean we have really come a long way since the day’s of our primitive ancestors were taking dictation on the back of a flat rock with a piece of charcoal. It was not all that long ago that we were typing term papers on REAL typewriters and making purple copies from dittos. I honestly don’t miss the lack of technology of the old days , but I do miss some of the space (and the smell of those purple dittos!).

It is so commonplace now to cram all that precious space with a computer, multiple monitors, a scanner/fax combination, clocks, phone, routers, files, books … well you know, you live with this stuff everyday! When did everything become so complex and BULKY? In fact however, many things have become LESS complex. It is just that we are far more vertically integrated as office rats now. We do more jobs and have a broader knowledge of the total work required to get a job done, therefore we use more desktop to accomplish it all.

I remember when I was young, my father would have to call a ‘typesetter’ if he wanted a special font or graphic for an art project he was working on. He would reference books for the right typeface he wanted, order the copy, and then have to wait a couple of days before driving to pick it up. That entire process is handled at your desk now in minutes not days. The same has happened for photo printing and even frame matting. All of those jobs required a separate vendor to get the task done just a decade ago. Now with smaller, inexpensive consumer grade equipment, we can do all of those jobs and more without ever leaving our office or homes.

In general, I support the ideals of anything that I can teach or do for myself. I do not seek to replace ‘the professionals’ because in most cases for bigger jobs, the pros can almost always do a job faster, better, and at a lower overall cost. If you don’t believe me try drywalling a ceiling sometime – it is a humbling experience. But I do promote vertically integrating your people and offices as it leads to a renaissance understanding and appreciation of the way things AND PEOPLE work towards a common goal. So all that vertical integration stuff on your desk DOES have a higher purpose. While you’re busy being self-dependent, you actually have learned to communicate more effectively and better appreciate your work, and that produced by others. Now that’s what I really call a Win-Win deal.

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