obvious there’s a gap developing between the client’s expectations and the direction of the project. There’s no question that Jennifer is busy. Twenty business-development appointments a week is a lot of work. And then there’s the travel—a lot of travel! But the interesting thing is that Jennifer loves working in this environment. There’s no stress. She doesn’t feel like a juggler with a hundred balls in the air. The clients are happy too. They understand where her responsibilities begin and end, and they always know exactly who to talk to if something appears to be going wrong. All Jennifer has to do is show up at meetings and talk to people—and she’s really good at that. The selling looks after itself.
Matthew is one of James Sanders’ two sons. He’s in charge of operations and sales. Sales wasn’t previously under his purview, but it is now. In spite of the fact that the JSG sales function has more moving parts now, it’s actually become simpler to manage. Matthew chairs a weekly sales meeting. The meeting consists of a review of a simple dashboard. The team’s primary concern is the size of four critical queues of work. There’s a queue of forward-booked meetings in Jennifer’s calendar, and there’s a queue of sales opportunities upstream from David and from each of the two inside salespeople. Matthew knows that the profitability of the firm requires a steady flow of work to the plant. He also understands that the primary driver of this flow is the volume of selling conversations performed by his sales team. Any hiccups in sales activity will result in idle machines and workers in a month or so. Matthew keeps an eye on other indicators too. He scans run charts, looking for unhealthy trends, and scrutinizes cycle times for critical activities to ensure that protective capacities are being maintained.
The Machine (First Four Chapters)