As the economy improves, business is improving. Consumers are buying again. warehouseCompanies are buying again.

I am now starting to hear companies complain that they cannot obtain enough raw materials. Their suppliers are late. They don’t have the capacity to handle the increasing volume of business. They cannot find employees.

After the experience of the Great Recession, this is a wonderful problem. We all had hoped we would get here someday; only none of us were sure that someday would ever come.

Thirty years ago, a commonly held belief was that a good salesperson could sell out the factory.

As business became more customer focused, “selling out the factory” only opened the door to competition. So we started to focus on meeting customer demand. We added “just-in-time” manufacturing capacity. We added “just-in-time” delivery. We added vendor-managed inventory. We became flexible. We could produce a year’s worth of product in a month.

When I first entered sales, one of the best pieces of advise I received from one of my counterparts was, “Don’t ever let backorders stand in your way of making a sale. Scream bloody murder at the factory that you need more product. More product is their problem, not yours. Your role is selling and you never, never, stop selling.”

This was the best advice I had ever received.

Focus — Ruthless, Relentless Focus

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