Pittsburgh and Time Management

Fort Pitt TunnelI'm a big fan of procurement professionals. Are you one?

As a salesperson for many years, I learned a great deal from you on performance metrics, supplier value and most importantly, time management.

I feel your suffering every time the caller ID is blocked and a telemarketer tries to earn their next 15-minute break; with no research, planning or relevance; nor the intuition that unless we get to "value" quickly, the 22 tasks I need to accomplish today get louder with each passing second. 

During a recent customer visit near our Pittsburgh plant, as we waited for our host, a young salesman gallantly strode through our Fortune 500 customer's front door.  After the receptionist told him an appointment was necessary to "speak with the purchasing agent," he asked for a name he could contact.  "What are you selling?" she asked, as nicely as she could.  I felt their pain. 

Donald Rumsfeld famously said, "If you're working off your in-box, you're working off the priorities of others."  Yet smartphones and tablets connect us at all times to value-analysis/value-engineering progress on complex weldments, quality system reporting, fabrication team management and so on.  Does planning the next new product launch ever get trumped by an urgent email, and then crunched into next week's tasks?

We control a very limited amount of time in our day.  With strategy, goals and objectives, we create productive environments.  If you're burdened with a "reactive" schedule, a partnership with O'Neal Manufacturing Services can align with your challenging environment and create time.  We are a supplier of metal fabricated components, subassemblies and weldments that supports OEM production projects through strategic alignment, a vertical communication structure from C-level to tactical Buyers, and a process-controlled metal fabrication environment.

I recently launched the OMS Linkedin page as another way to connect with us. Depending on your activity level, you might gain time by connecting.

In addition, reposted below is a favorite "Dear Seller" letter I came across during my years in sales, penned by Jill Konrath of Selling to Big Companies.

Trash Talk & Delete Buttons: A Candid Letter from Your Prospective Customer

Dear Seller,

I only have a few minutes, but I understand you're interested in what you can do to capture my attention and entice me to want to set up a meeting with you.

Let me say this loud and clear right now - you have no idea what my day is like. You may think you do, but you're missing the boat. Until you understand this, my advice to you makes no sense.

I got into the office early this morning so I could have some uninterrupted time to work on a major project - something I can't seem to squeeze into the normal business day, which is filled with back-to-back meetings.

But, by 9 a.m. all my good intentions were dashed. My boss asked me to drop everything to get her some up-to-date information on a major reorganization initiative. Product development informed me that our new offering won't be available for the upcoming tradeshow. Sales is already in an uproar because they have customers waiting for it. Then HR tells me that one of my key employees has been accused of cyber-stalking.

Starting to get the picture? Welcome to my world of everyday chaos where, hard as I try to make progress, I keep slipping behind. Right now, I have at least 59 hours of work piled on my desk, needing my attention. I have no idea when I'll get it all done.

Did I mention my how many emails I get daily? Over 100. Everyone copies me in on everything. It drives me crazy. Then, add to that at least 30 phone calls - many from vendors who want to set up a meeting with me. And the pile of junk mail I get each day is ridiculous.

In short, I have way too much to do, ever-increasing expectations, impossible deadlines and constant interruptions from people wanting my time or attention.

Time is my most precious commodity and I protect it at all costs. I live with the status quo as long as I can - even if I'm not happy. Why? Because change creates more work and eats up my time.

Which gets us back to you. In your well-intentioned but misguided attempts turn me into a "prospect," you fail woefully to capture my attention. I'm going to be really blunt here: I could care less about your product, service, solution or your company.

To read more of this article, visit Jill Konrath's blog here.

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