How Mudd Advertising Fine-Tuned and Streamlined Its Operations

How Mudd Advertising Fine-Tuned and Streamlined Its Operations


Taking a new position at Mudd Advertising six years ago, Senior Advisor of Digital Technology and Performance Dave Meindl did not have any system on the ground to work with—not even paperwork documentation. He had no idea how procedures were executed within the organization. Left to his fate, he was determined to make things work. With existing knowledge of the importance of standard operating procedures in a business, one of the first items on his list was to create a system in order to make his team more efficient. In search of an effective workflow management software, he discovered SweetProcess. He speaks to us about the positive strides made by using the system. Before going further, let us have an overview of the organization.

Dave Meindl Senior Advisor of Digital Technology and Performance.

About Mudd Advertising

Mudd Advertising is a top advertising agency in the United States, specializing in the automotive industry. For over 30 years, the company has worked directly with dealers across the country, servicing no fewer than 3,000 accounts annually.

With an array of experts on its team, the organization offers full marketing services in the areas of direct mail marketing, digital marketing, production services, and database management. Thriving on the “gung-ho” philosophy, Mudd Advertising takes pride in its work, aiming for excellence and celebrating its wins.

Headquartered in Cedar Falls, Iowa, the company has earned a reputation as a leading automotive advertising provider in the country, with over 150 employees on its payroll.

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Discovering the Biggest Pain Point

Coming into the organization to head its digital activities, Dave had a big responsibility to fulfill. But with no existing system in place, their business processes were far from organized. Allowing things to continue on that path, according to him, would be chaotic. First, he needed to understand how things were done and why they were done that way. Dave would spend a lot of time putting the pieces together to figure this out:

“They had no system for keeping track of how things were done. I’m assuming it just sort of happened by word of mouth or something. As soon as I got there and saw that there was no way to keep track of these processes, I immediately said we needed to solve this problem otherwise there’s going to be complete chaos.”

Systems help to lay a solid foundation for success. When built strongly, they make an organization easily adapt to change, be it in the hiring of new employees or withstanding unprecedented situations.  

Signing Up for SweetProcess with Optimism

As much as Dave recognized the need for a system to be in place, he was also aware of the financial implications. With a fairly small budget at his disposal, cost was a major factor to consider in getting a solution without compromising on effectiveness.

“The buying decision process was basically me knowing that I had to do something that wasn’t going to cost hundreds of thousands of dollars, but that would get the job done, that would allow us to move quickly on changing, modifying (and) creating processes. Once I found SweetProcess, comparing it to the other options that were out there, I made the decision myself and said hey, I’m going to get this because we absolutely need it,” states David. 

Interestingly, he was not skeptical about the ability of SweetProcess to meet their business needs:

“I think that I was pretty confident in its ability to do basically what we wanted to do, which was we wanted to document processes quickly. We didn’t want to have to go through a lot of old-school very rigid, all sorts of diagrams and whatnot.”

So, did SweetProcess meet his expectations? We are about to find out.

The Positive Ways SweetProcess Impacted Mudd Advertising 

The work environment is a hub for high productivity when employees have the necessary tools to be efficient in their job. This was the idea behind Dave’s decision to adopt SweetProcess. Although he was optimistic about it from the onset, there was no guarantee it would work for the company. But soon, the results started to prove themselves.

SweetProcess has helped the organization to function better in the following ways:

1) Instill efficiency via proper documentation

Employees have a duty to be efficient in their jobs, but there is so much they can do beyond relying solely on their individual skills. The workplace thrives on collaborative efforts. When everyone works in line with defined standard procedures, the results are great and consistent.  Echoing this line of thought, Dave says:

“If you don’t have a standard system for doing things, the first problem is that it’s just ridiculously inefficient. You are going to have all kinds of back and forth and mistakes and people not knowing what they are doing and lots of questions. The ball will get dropped. Clients become upset, or things aren’t done right, or a bunch of money gets wasted in some area where it shouldn’t have been spent, for example. All kinds of issues arise when you don’t have a process documented.”

With SweetProcess, Dave and his team were able to create standard procedures for every task, and that helped to nip inefficiency in the bud.

2) Save costs by preventing avoidable expenditures

Running a business is cost-intensive. Organizations try as much as possible to reduce costs by cutting off unnecessary expenditures. Narrating the impact of the organization not having a system in place before his arrival, Dave laments on the financial losses that may have been incurred:

“I wouldn’t say they spent (money), but they probably wasted hundreds of thousands of dollars a year on things that weren’t done correctly, people not knowing how to do things, all this sort of inefficiency that is created or naturally occurs when nobody knows what the standard operating procedures are, or the steps that need to be taken to execute something successfully.”

Inefficiency accounts for some of the biggest financial losses in business. When workers cannot perform their tasks well enough, the organization loses money directly or indirectly.

3) Ensure high-quality performance with a reference document

Employees do not know it all. They need some sort of guidance at some point. While the level of guidance needed among employees may differ based on their skill set and experience on the job, it helps to be guided instead of going ahead to make mistakes.

Asking superiors questions about confusing tasks is the first thing that comes to mind. But it is only a matter of time before those being asked numerous questions get tired of answering them, especially when their hands are full.  You can save everyone the trouble by documenting your business processes in a centralized system. If workers need any information, they can simply go to the documents without disturbing anyone, just as it is in Mudd Advertising now. Dave describes SweetProcess as “the bible” for the organization:

“Now that we have SweetProcess, it’s the bible for us. Digital stuff can be quite complex. Even seasoned people who have been here for years still use SweetProcess. They go through the steps to make sure that they don’t miss anything or unnecessarily do something the wrong way. It’s really the bible for us now.”

4) Fast-track employee onboarding and training

Organizations are saddled with the responsibility of training both new and old employees, keeping them abreast of the latest practices in their industries. New employees are taken through an employee onboarding training to learn the procedures they will be executing. This can be challenging for employees, especially if it is a new territory for them. As a result of this, a lot of time and resources are spent in the process.

But it does not have to be a painstaking experience.

Organizations can leverage productivity systems to simplify the training process as in the case of Mudd Advertising. For Dave, this is one of the highlights of using SweetProcess:

“I don’t have to hold people’s hands as much. I don’t have to, in a lot of cases, even train people. Once the documentation is fleshed out enough, a person can go in there without any real training and follow the steps and execute whatever it is they need to execute successfully. In a way, I’m able to focus more on bigger picture things.”

How to Walk Through the Documentation Process with Ease

Documentation is considered a tedious task by many people. Understandably, it is not a walk in the park. But when done right, it can be a lot easier. Having handled the organization’s documentation process himself, Dave shares some insights. According to him, it was not an individual effort. It was done collectively with his team members: 

“I sat down with the people who were executing the things that needed to be documented and created an outline of the major steps or milestones that had to be accomplished, and those became our procedures. And those would be bundled up into a process. After that, I or the people who would be executing these processes and procedures would, as they went through those steps, they would document the more specific steps and add details.”

Effective documentation is not a one-off activity. Even after doing the initial documentation, they continued to improve on it, voicing their observations and pointing out things that needed to be improved on. Dave reveals that he was still getting “tapped” on the shoulder after the initial documentation, but for good reasons.

“As far as getting tapped on the shoulder, I’d still get tapped on the shoulder after having something documented but those taps on the shoulder were an opportunity to add something or improve something or change something in the process after the facts,” says Dave.

Focusing on the Next Big Goal: Automation

With its current business operations running smoothly, the organization can now focus on achieving their next big goals without worrying about things falling apart. Gone are the days when they had reasons to worry over the efficiency of their workers. According to Dave, they have sorted that out:

“The next big thing we want to accomplish is automating more of what we do. We’ve got the people side of things handled. Now, we need to focus on automating those things that don’t necessarily need to be done by a person.”

Looking to systematize your business?

Mudd Advertising was able to transform its business operations by making a simple decision to systematize. After taking that step, things began to fall in place. Do you want to experience the same developments in your business? Sign up for a 14-day free trial on SweetProcess.

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