Dodgy headline for a blog or what? Let me explain… Before I was in marketing I did lots of things in the administration side of the business I worked in. I only moved into marketing after nine years of working in the part of the business that speaks to more IFAs in a day than any other part, the admin team.
One of my first lessons in marketing came when we decided to rebuild the pensions arm of the company I worked for at the time. Some people call it business process re-engineering, but I don’t like using big words, or people who use them, so let’s call it getting rid of the trash and only doing good things instead.
My first boss in marketing was a very clever man called Brian. Brian sat me down a few weeks into the role and told me a story about a car manufacturer.
Someone working on the production line one day suggested that they add one more screw into the inside panel of a door in a car being made on their line, as the inside panel was a touch loose at that part of the door. Great idea they all thought. They went away and figured out how to add another hole.
That meant someone – or a machine, changing their part of the production line to drill the hole before the extra screw could be added to make the inside of the door more secure. They then worked out the costs of drilling the extra hole, and the extra screws they’d need.
The costs came to millions of pounds. The extra screw sounded like a good, simple idea to slightly improve things, but would have cost the car manufacturer a fortune. The idea was binned.
Brian told me the story because he wanted to help me to understand the process we went through in writing business and how much each element of it cost in the margin of the product. He must have guessed that number crunching wasn’t a particular forte of mine… told you Brian was clever.
Anyway, I got the message. I’ve not forgotten it either. Which leads me to the morale of this story. At last.
Brian's story was about knowing the value of the things that you do, measuring them and being efficient. Sometimes a great idea can cost a fortune. Sometimes a great idea can save a fortune too. If you measure them, then ideas like the extra screw become easier to evaluate. For some reason though the financial services industry isn’t great at measuring things like this. That was his reason for telling me the story.
When we built Progress we built it with the aim of achieving best practice in every single thing that we do. Here’s a thought…TCF is about best practice too.
TCF is about knowing how to run your business properly and proving that you do those things. Brian told me that story to help me to understand that everything we do has a cost and a benefit. TCF might help our industry to do that too…
Andy Milburn is IFA Market Manager for progress from Royal Liver.The views expressed are those of the author and not those of the company he represents.IFAonline
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