Why will the DM principle ensure the success of a service level agreement?

Red?
Yellow?
Green?
Stripy?
Plain?
Spotty?

These are the decisions with which my young daughter struggles every day.  Every day she agonises over which pair of socks she should wear.  For her socks are as a confusing but important issue as a service level agreement can be for print buyers.

Writing a service level agreement is something that many print buyers agonise over.  The print buyer often puts pressure on themselves to create the perfect service level agreement.  They need a service level agreement that should cover every aspect of service from their printer.

The printer should be equally capable of writing a service level agreement

Using socks as an analogy for choosing who should write a service level agreement for the print and printing industries

Choosing the right pair of socks can be as difficult as deciding who drafts a service level agreement

A service level agreement is indeed sometimes better started by the printer.  The printer will understand the process flows that are involved in complicated work.  Work that may involve the scheduling of multiple streams of information.  Or co-ordinating input from a number of suppliers.  Or defining how data should be laid out.  Work for which the printer may have very specific requirements.

These requirements may mean that the printer is best placed to start defining the workflow in the service level agreement.  However, the workflow and other issues may all be relatively simple.  Simple enough for either printer of client to be the author of the service level agreement.  For this type of service level agreement, the DM principle can apply.

So what is the DM principle?

The DM principle is easy.  DM stands for Doesn’t Matter.  And it doesn’t matter who produces the first draft of a service level agreement.  What matters is that a first draft is produced.  And when the first draft is produced, it is then important that everyone involved in the agreement is given an opportunity to view and comment on the document.

The comments from this stage will be vital in making sure that a service level agreement works.  A service level agreement works best when the document is produced with input from everyone involved in the project.  The project will then run smoothly because all those making it happen will have helped outline the process.  The process is the key to making a realistic service level agreement for both client and printer.

Is the printer’s place to tell the client what to do?

Absolutely!  Clients should be prepared to accept advice and direction from their suppliers.  Their suppliers have often had many years of experience of knowing how to make projects happen.

A project happens when both sides collaborate

There had been no collaboration on one project I was recently asked to help with by a client.  The client had used a standard service level agreement.  The service level had, without consultation, been inflicted on the printer.  And the printer tried to make the project work.  But the project didn’t work:  it failed.

It failed because the service level agreement bore no resemblance to what actually needed to happen.  The printer tried to make the project happen, but they also tried to keep to the requirements of the service level agreement.  And the requirements were unrealistic.

To create a realistic service level agreement, follow these three steps

Step 1 – Make sure a first draft of the service level agreement is written.  It doesn’t matter who writes it.  Apply the DM principle

Step 2 – Get everyone involved in the project to comment on the service level agreement

Step 3 – Make sure the service level agreement is produced collaboratively.

It is the collaboration the makes a service level agreement work – it doesn’t matter who writes it

Just like it doesn’t matter what colour socks my daughter wears.

======================================================
P.S. If you have found this article useful you may also be interested in Print & Procurement’s training in supplier managementClick here to find out more

Leave a Reply

Your email address will not be published. Required fields are marked *

You may use these HTML tags and attributes: <a href="" title=""> <abbr title=""> <acronym title=""> <b> <blockquote cite=""> <cite> <code> <del datetime=""> <em> <i> <q cite=""> <strike> <strong>

Free Buying Advice
Download the E book

Download "Ten Common Print Buying Errors and What To Do About Them" (worth £25/$41) absolutely free, and receive regular practical articles on print buying.

Client Testimonial

I have worked with Matthew for just over a year now and he has delivered a number of highly successful training events for the IPIA during that time. He is very organised and produces seminars which are full of

Read the testimonial from Andrew Pearce
Client Testimonial

Matthew provided an excellent “Print Processes” training session for myself and some of my colleagues.  The feature that I liked most about the training, was that the day itself was very interactive – which not only

Read the testimonial from Rhoda Day
Client Testimonial

If you think you are on top of your print buying you might be in for a surprise! We asked Print & Procurement to undertake a print audit. Matthew said ‘’If we do not find savings sufficient to earn back our fee

Read the testimonial from Rod Fletcher
Client Testimonial

Matthew is a consultant who is totally committed to his clients and to delivering on his promises.  He has an excellent understanding of both the challenges of the print channel and the opportunities it presents. As a

Read the full testimonial from Jacky Morgan
Client Testimonial

Apart from being a thoroughly decent chap Matthew is scrupulously professional, ruthlessly efficient and always delivers excellent results.
I genuinely have no hesitation whatever in recommending Matthew. He

Read the full testimonial from Simon Lewis
Client Testimonial

In an industry renowned for its pressure, Matthew Parker delivers a very gentle but insightful intelligence about the ways of print. Somewhere between art and science there is a place that defines the balance of what

Read the full testimonial from Andy Dowen
Recent Posts

Four ways automated print pricing can make a buyer’s life easier (and how to choose the right system)

Do you struggle to find enough hours in the day? Whether you’re a full-time purchaser or managing a more general administration role, the pressure on your [more]

Why beating printing companies down on price is not the best way to reduce costs

For me, few things are better than standing on the summit of a mountain The route up a mountain is hard.  There’s a lot of work [more]

Three reasons why print buyers should challenge supplier choice

My daughter was about to burst into tears I had asked her what flavor of ice cream she would like. She gave me the same answer [more]

Why print buyers who stick to cost-cutting are failing to do their job

Wouldn't a garden look bare without anything in the flowerbeds? My wife is a keen gardener. One of her most regular jobs is the weeding. It's [more]

Three specification questions that can reduce the cost of printed items by over 30%

The print industry is dying There are huge amounts of overcapacity. Printing companies are tendering suicidal prices. So all a print buyer has to do is to [more]

Three questions print buyers must use to challenge process and prevent 30-address syndrome

Can you imagine writing the same address over 30 times? Wouldn’t it be a complete waste of your time? Aren't there are so many better things [more]