Sunday, July 15, 2012

Brown M&Ms

You may remember a story from the 1980s about Van Halen and browm M&Ms.

The story goes that the band demanded in their catering contract that no brown M&M we're allowed backstage.

This story has been re-told many times in the context of a ego-maniacal hair band abusing their power at the peak of their popularity.  However, this take is incorrect.

It turns out that Van Halen used this as barometer for how much the concert venue and promoter paid attention to their overall requirements.

Van Halen was one of the first bands of the Eighties that took concert production to the next level.  While other bands showed up with a couple tractor-trailers, they showed up with nineteen sometimes.
They knew they were dealing with a technical house of cards, and they needed to make sure that everyone was on the same page about the importance of all their requirements to have a successful and safe show.

We all have our "brown M&Ms" as customers.  It may be the price of orange juice at the supermarket, how quickly your order ships, or how long it takes your account manager to respond to issues.

As a supplier, you need to understand that your customers are evaluating every part of the business relationship.  A minor detail to you may be a major indicator to your customer.

You know the weak links in your business.  They don't exist on an island, thus the word "link".
It may be a process, a person, or a policy.  Address it today.