Tap into the power of your Value Chain.

As we all know operating a sign company can be a daunting task, to say the least. Building and keeping track of all the materials, inventory, parts & sub-assemblies, LED lighting components, engineering, drawings and specifications, structures, paint schemes, graphics, and permits, etc. organized and flowing smoothly through the shop without a hitch is quite a feat, not to mention the labor coordination and scheduling of outsourcing, fabricators, artisans and installation crews…. I could make the list twice as long, just proving the point here!

Oh – let’s not forget about the business of the business such as finance, banking, payroll, HR, accounting, operations, general management, sales, marketing and on and on…how the heck does all this work get done?

Customer satisfaction has its own challenges, in our business it’s not one client it’s three or more…you have the owner, the architect and the contractor all banting power and influencing outcomes that effects profits, cash flow and your reputation. No wonder so many sign shop owners and managers are a step away from a nervous breakdown and crying poor.

Whoever coined the phrase “The devil is in the details” must have been thinking about a sign company!

Pulling it all together to achieve on time, within budget and looking beautiful can put the best managed shops to the test. Navigating the gauntlet of all the little things, the hundreds of details that will for sure put a project in jeopardy if one piece or step gets tasked out of place.

I’ve witnessed first-hand how even the most “sophisticated” big-name shops with all the fancy ERP data systems and the best computer operated equipment have a tough time performing to the level they promise to their clients. The shops (big or small) that have it right share a few things in common, most importantly – A well-managed business ecosystem where vision, goals, strategy, plan, structure, communications, processes and people are connected in harmonious balance. Sounds like a myth, but it is possible through understanding the advantage your “value chain” will provide to unlock the potential in your sign shop, in other words the map or pathway that helps guide you to success.


Your Value Chain Advantage format interlocks (there’s where the chain part comes in) the owners vision with a strategic business plan with the organizations departmental hierarchy (org chart) with what each person does (position guides and job descriptions) with the rules of the road (employee handbook) and with the operational work flows (process maps). When the effort is managed and performed responsibly by each team member within the departments of Finance, Marketing, Sales, Operations, Design, Engineering, Fabrication and Installation predictability is assured and the goal is achieved.

The six building blocks of the Value Chain Advantage are:
1. Foundation (purpose, leadership, management)
2. Marketing Pathway (product development, promotion, lead generation)
3. Financial System (money, accounting, inventory)
4. Operational System (internal controls, quality, people)
5. Sales System (client relations, design, lead conversion, order processing)
6. Production System (procurement, PM, fabrication, delivery)

The glue holding the organization together is principle centered leadership dedicated to maintaining quality performance systems and an unyielding continuous improvement attitude that embraces employees and customers first. This along with an acute awareness of the importance of real-time communication and reporting systems round out a well-managed a Value Chain Advantage company. When accomplished the customers and employees are happy, the owners make a lot of money and go on vacation while the business profits and has sustainable growth!

Wow, who would have thunk? …Something to think about.