Production Transparency: Tips & Tricks
“Change before you have to.” — Jack Welch
Here are 4 key tips to consider as you implement change to bring about greater transparency with your agency partners:
Tip 1: Create Policies, Procedures, & Guidelines
Many people may believe that production policies are developed to simply prevent issues. However, they offer a true benefit by outlining transparent production practices, creating efficiencies in the production process, and including safeguards to mitigate financial risk. Remember, it’s best when your production policies and guidelines:
- Include the “do’s and don’ts” as well as clearly-defined business procedures
- Address approval processes, responsibilities, and limits
- Have training, training, training – BOTH internal advertiser employees and agency employees should be trained annually and/or during on-boarding
- Are proactively utilized to review/audit for compliance
- Are updated regularly to ensure the latest industry best practices (including the ANA Production Transparency findings) are addressed
Tip 2: Assign Responsibility
It might seem straightforward and intuitive, but many companies focus on tips 1, 3, and 4 but miss this critical element. Having production policies means nothing unless someone is responsible and actively assuring compliance. Also, it’s important to make sure the person(s) you designate has the right tools and resources to be successful; getting the right expertise or training is crucial and should be considered up-front.
Tip 3: Consider Up-Front Analysis
Analyzing costs and overages after-the-fact (or when the purchase order runs out of funds) is simply just the process of approving incremental spend. The most critical decisions which can have a significant impact on transparency (and costs) are made early-on. Having a seat at the table with standard processes, tools, and templates helps ensure transparent discussions between your brand teams and agencies — and can help you avoid any unnecessary spending. With a proactive approach to up-front analysis, you’ll also be better equipped to manage scope changes (while still staying on budget) — or, heck, you may end up with funds that you can reinvest back into your brand.
Tip 4: Review Invoices Prior to Payment
Prior is the key word here. After payment is made, issues are often discovered:
- During an audit
- When invoices come in and there are no more funds available on the purchase order
- When invoices come in and the project is closed
This wastes precious time and money to resolve — and may lead to issues with the agency. Moving this review and “audit” process up before payment is made is the key to success.
There’s never been a better time to take an active role in managing and governing production transparency in your organization. Check out additional articles on the topic:
- Production Transparency: A Good Idea or Baseline Requirement?
- How Production Transparency Can Impact Your Budget
- Production Transparency: 4 Steps to Getting Started
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Written in collaboration with Angela Saferite.