Managing the Springtime Flood to Avoid Summertime Sadness
Many of the rivers in this part of the country experience a natural flood which occurs every spring and helps the ecosystem of the river and the surrounding area. Even rivers that are damned up will have an artificial flood during the spring in an attempt to maintain a natural system that requires this influx of water to grow and thrive. It’s kind of refreshing to know that nature has these times where too much of something is required to keep things normal and functional. I say “refreshing” because springtime means a “flood” of business, especially in the events industry, and it has the same effect on us as it does in nature- although I’m not sure the Discovery Channel will be covering this phenomenon any time soon.
Speaking from many years of first-hand experience, springtime at VDA is one of the busiest times of the year. Trade shows , corporate meetings, product launches, as well as commencement ceremonies and themed events come flooding in! *See where I am going with this?* And we all, planners, designers, fabricators, project managers, get prepped to handle the flood. As Director of Production, we build a giant ark and load up all the teams at VDA...Kidding. My name is Derek, not Noah. Ok - we get ready for this influx in a number of ways that I feel translate well across many disciplines.
When you have an increased workload, the obvious changes you can make to stay ahead of the flow and keep your head above water:
- Increase your workforce - more bodies to help build your figurative ark!
- Increases hours - a few longer work days and things really start to get checked off this list.
Makes sense, right? Preparation is necessary to coming out on the other side of the flood better than when you started. Did you know? We (VDA) begin hiring freelance workers as early as December of the previous year and will hire in new employees early, before we get really busy in order to bring them up to speed with how we work, and our process. We also stock up on our most used materials increasing our stock by more than double. We may not be able to predict what our clients are going to be asking us for, but we can make a educated guesses based on design trends and known client preferences.
The first raindrop falls...
Here are a few more tips to staying organized, keep up with planning, and assigning responsibility- all are critical to succeeding and surviving the flood:
- Assign responsibilities - It is very important that the team continues to carry the load and do every part of their job effectively.
- Instill heightened awareness - Every daily responsibility becomes more critical at this time, from making sure the tools are calibrated and blades are sharp to ordering specialty materials.
- Meet - Hold them daily (briefly) so everyone stays on the same page and doesn't jump ship.
- Have some fun! A busy environment where people are cheerful and eager to get the job done quickly is a better place to work.
As with any flood, whether it is long and drawn out or short and seemingly overwhelming , the waters eventually recede and life goes back to normal, or in some cases improves! Strive for improvement post flood. After projects have loaded out, things have calmed down and things are back to our normal, have meetings to discuss what worked and what didn't, what can be improved on for next time. For the teams at VDA, most of theses processes are time-proven, but there is ALWAYS room for improvement and upgrades. The next flood could be the big one! Be prepared!
I am available should you have any questions or comments about this post. Contact me at firstname.lastname@example.org or by calling 617-628-1200
Till next time!