Four Warning Signs that Your “White Space” May Be Costing You Money

Published by Dan Loomis | Topics: Online Publishing

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Professor Rajan Suri, the founder of the Center for Quick Response Management (QRM) at the University of Wisconsin-Madison, introduced the Omnipress staff to a new definition of “white space.”  In the world of production and fulfillment, white space is the wasted time contained in processes which involve too many unnecessary steps in order to fully complete a task.  In the world of page layout and web site design, a place Omnipress understands well, white space is a good thing. But when it comes to managing a process such as producing and fulfilling book orders, white space is inefficient, costly and introduces opportunity for error.

Real Life Batch and Queue

When I first understood Professor Suri’s concept of white space, I decided to take my lesson home. Our laundry process, I decided, had too much white space. My wife and I were handling this chore much like a traditional manufacturing model: a batch-and-queue system. Wash a load, dry a load and dump the clean clothes in a basket to be folded at a later date with other batches. This meant that in order to get from dirty socks in the hamper to clean, folded socks in the dresser, it could be two to three days.

So I proposed that we start folding each load right after the drying time. My socks went from dirty to clean and folded in 2.5 hours, a 97 percent improvement.

White Space in the Production and Fulfillment Process

I wish I could say that this impressive increase in efficiency earned me points at home, but frankly my wife thought I was nuts. But the point is that when an organization examines its white space in a production and fulfillment process, they’re liable to find inefficiencies and wasted steps that add no value to a product yet increase the time and money it takes to get the product into the hands of a customer.

For example, if you have one company printing workbooks, and another company replicating CDs for your meeting, and then everyone shipping the seminar materials to your fulfillment company for assembly, you’re wasting time as you wait for everything to come together. All of this shuffling around is increasing the time and costs associated with a project, and the process has no real benefit for the person waiting on the training material.

Four Warning Signs that Your White Space May Be Costing You Money:

  1. You have multiple vendors managing or handling different parts of your process.
  2. You wait days or weeks between material collection and the day your product is actually usable.
  3. You spend valuable staff time checking on the status of the products.
  4. You waste time and money having to correct errors or removing barriers for the next step to begin.
Free Download: Production, Fulfillment and Distribution


About Dan Loomis

When Dan Loomis took over as a Product Director, he aspired to be like his new role model… Santa Claus. “There’s no one more skilled in fulfillment than Kris Kringle,” Dan more

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[…] This post was mentioned on Twitter by christopher uschan, D. Bradley Kent. D. Bradley Kent said: RT @chrisuschan: Four Warning Signs that Your “White Space” May Be Costing You Money #fulfillment […]


June 7th, 2010D Bradley Kent says:

I couldn’t agree more. As everyone is asked to do more with less, organizations can draw great benefit from working with a quality, single source provider who can help them leverage spend, reduce redundant communications, and have a partner who can anticipate their needs in advance of requests due to their more intimate knowledge of the customer organization.

We see this a lot in our business where we can provide the strategy, creative, and execution for our customers across every aspect of their live events.

Good information!


June 7th, 2010Chris Uschan says:

Not that I have taken the QRM approach to my laundry like Dan has, I have reduced my suppliers on the marketing side which has allow me to use less tools and have less contacts to deal with for managing my process and objectives.

Twitter: chrisuschan


June 7th, 2010matt mcinvale says:

the image in this post reminds me that i need to do laundry, thanks!
matt mcinvale recently posted..Hutter Designs – Landscape Architects in San Diego

Twitter: BillGates


June 8th, 2010Dan Loomis says:

Good to see others enjoying the article. Now if we could just get the airline industry to evaluate their white space…thinking of this as I will soon be flying back home after spending a few days in DC.

Twitter: Dloomis1


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