Creating Magic with Creative Services

At the Walt Disney Company, creativity is perhaps one of the most highly-prized commodities. It’s hard to imagine the world of Walt Disney as anything but magical… and the sourcing and procurement team plays a pivotal role in bringing the visions of the creative team to life.

During “Partnering With Creative Services to Manage a Packaging Supply Chain” (Session BB), Jim Gomes (senior manager, sourcing and procurement) talked about how his team works with the creative team behind the attractive packaging of Disney products, such as Blu-Ray and DVD containers. It’s crucial to understand the objective of the creative services individual: “We can lose a creative person if we bombard them with all the information we’re (supply management) interested in… If he hears ‘cost savings’ he will think it runs counter to his goals.” And his goal, in this case, was to win an award. The Hollywood Reporter Key Art Award is given out for packaging breakthroughs and excellence, and the creative team member wants to win with his work.

Gomes’ team succeeds by embracing tension and confronting ambiguity that occurs between parties with very different ways of working, and then leveraging skills for best results. Two heads working together is better than one, especially when each head has a different specialty. This can even lead to new insights and innovation.

Interestingly, Gomes mentioned that creativity actually requires structure and a framework to be successful, and supply management principles can help manage that structure. When he worked with a designer on a Blu-Ray case recently, “He saw that he needed us and we helped him create something.”

Working in the studio/entertainment industry isn’t easy; it’s famously volatile. One week there might be a movie that’s a box office flop, like John Carter, and then a few weeks later… a box office hit will change the tone considerably. Effective supply chain management helps secure strong financial results, regardless.

At the end of the session, Gomes asked a few trivia questions about Disney and awarded those with the correct answers with Blu-Rays of movies like Beauty and the Beast and Lady and the Tramp. Did you know Walt Disney won 22 Academy Awards, and was nominated a record 59 times? (Well, now you do!)

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