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Creative Production Supply Chain: What is it?

Posted by Nish on August 05, 2014
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The creative production supply chain is the future of managing creative production teams. I’ve said it before, and I stand by it: this is what we’ll see smart marketing and creative teams moving towards in the next few years, even given the challenges inherent in the approach. Some teams are already working on implementing it, and others are actively planning it.

But I’m getting ahead of myself.

What is the creative production supply chain?

In January, I published an article defining what I see as the creative production supply chain, and why it’s the next step for smart marketing and creative teams who are trying to stay ahead of the curve in the way that they manage their creative production. As I defined it then,

“It’s a bit of a mouthful, and it might seem overly complex, but it’s not. The creative production supply chain is really just the coordination of people, activities and information involved in producing the assets that fuel all marketing activities.”

That coordination is a challenging task, however, as anyone working in creative production can tell you. The traditional approaches to coordinating everything that goes into creating marketing assets aren’t going to work going forward, thanks to trends like big data, hyper-segmentation, budget pressures and the increasing complexity of assets.

That’s why taking a supply chain approach to managing creative production is so crucial over the next few years. To produce enough assets, quickly enough, while complying with your required review and approval structure, creative operations managers will need to take a page out of the playbook of traditional operations managers, focusing on things like metrics, measurement and continuous optimization of their processes.

“The days of solving a production problem by throwing more people at it are over for marketing.
Since the challenges facing marketing teams can’t be solved with more people (because it won’t scale) or more money (because it’s not always available) that’s where the creative production supply chain can be leveraged as a competitive advantage. It’s also why we’ll be seeing more (smart) big brands design, deploy and continuously optimize their creative production supply chain.”

Want to find out more about what the industry is saying about creative production supply chains?

When my original piece on the creative production supply chain was published, Ralph Winsor of DAM News wrote an insightful article covering the opportunities and the risks of the creative production supply chain approach. He raises some key points about the challenges inherent in apply a supply chain mindset to creative work, especially regarding the human element of creative work.

“The second issue is the personality of those involved in the supply chain. I know a few people in logistics and manufacturing (both professionally and personally) and irrespective of how far up the management food chain you go, all are highly process-oriented individuals who both like to plan things and also see others doing it too. By contrast, the picture among my marketing friends and business associates is rather more mixed (and there is no clear difference on either agency or client side before anyone decides to raise that point). Some share the predilection for planning and attention to detail that my manufacturing friends do, while others are your archetypal ‘fly by the seat of their pants’ types who veer from one crisis to the next.” Ralph Windsor, DAM News

His article is a must-read for anyone beginning to explore the concept of the creative production supply chain. Once you’ve taken a look, I’d love to hear your thoughts – have Ralph and I captured the value of the creative production supply chain, and the challenges facing teams who implement it?

I’ll be writing more about this topic over the next month, and I’d love to hear from you. Is this something that resonates with your strategy for managing creative production? Let me know on Twitter or shoot me an email.

Topics: Creative Operations Resources

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