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“It’s in the system!”

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As the traffic manager, I buzz around quite a bit and have the opportunity to catch a lot of conversations that go on around the office. One of the little ditties I hear quite a bit is “It’s in the system!”

I admit that the system is my tool. Without CurrentTrack, I’d be mired in paperwork and job bags, buried under piles and piles of contact reports, purchase orders, change orders…the list goes on and on.

So, I’m the last one to complain at all about our team putting stuff in the system. BUT, hearing “It’s in the system!” still sends a chill up my back! The system hasn’t eliminated the need for human contact – just because it’s in the system does not mean you can’t answer a question when asked verbally.

CurrentTrack should never be a defense mechanism or a way to shirk responsibility. No matter how efficient our system is, we can never eliminate verbal communication or physical interaction. The system is a backup to verbal communication, and a great one at that. But, you may very well need to discuss complex details that are hard to explain in a progress report. The notes need to be in the system, YES, but you’re response should never just be “It’s in the System!”

From a productivity standpoint, relying strictly on the system can also slow down workflow. If a designer or media buyer reads a progress report and doesn’t understand, they may put together an entire creative piece or media buy with an incorrect perspective. What happens then? They have to start over…easily prevented with a short conversation to make sure everyone understands the same concepts.

Since many of us still learn by example, here are a few great ones:

Print buyer – “What is the qty. for (whatever) job?”
AE – “It’s in the system!”
SCREECH! (That’s the sound of brakes squealing on the road)
The answer should have been:
“10,000. I may have forgotten to copy you on that progress report.”
See? Look what’s happened there. You’ve provided the answer, but also gently reminded the print buyer that there is a report in the system that can provide them with the answer, plus many more.

Art director – “When do you need to see that?”
AE – “It’s in the system!”
EHHHHHHH! (That’s the sound of the buzzer from Wheel of Fortune)
The answer should have been:
“Next Wednesday would be great if possible. I believe I put in a progress report with all of those details, so give that a look. If you have any other questions, I’m happy to answer them.”
Again, you’ve given the answer so the work can advance, but you’ve also given a small nudge back to the hard work you did putting that stuff in the system in the first place.

So, let’s all remember that the digital advancements we have certainly don’t eclipse the need for human interaction.

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