At Springfield Remanufacturing, a company in Springfield, Mo., that overhauls truck parts, production problems do not sabotage the sales forecast. CEO Jack Stack makes sure to prevent disappointment by having sales representatives deliver the sales forecast to the company's various divisions.
"The key ingredient of any forecast is passion, which comes from a sense of ownership, a feeling of personal responsibility for the results," says Stack. "Use your salespeople to link your workforce to the marketplace. Make sure they understand that jobs depend on their forecast. I want salespeople to be thinking about what impact their numbers will have on the lives of their fellow employees. I also want our inside employees to appreciate the competitive issues we're dealing with. Who better to teach them than our salespeople?"
Each fall, the sales department meets for two days to hash out the numbers. Salespeople chip in what they've learned--everything from new products that engineers should be working on to what the competition is paying for labor. After the marathon meeting, the salespeople report back to their respective divisions. Since 1993, the system has enabled Springfield Remanufacturing to meet its goal of 15% growth annually. In 1997, sales approached $120 million.