All most traffic systems do, is just progress-chase work through the creative dept.
So their main function is to make life easier for account men.
I wanted a traffic-system that worked for the creative dept, instead.
So it had to have 2 functions.
1) Create more time.
2) Make better use of the time.
As regards creating more time, you can’t put the airdate back.
But the problem was that traffic didn’t start until the brief went in.
So, if we can’t put the airdate back, put the brief date forward.
Get all the suits to predict when work is due on their accounts, a year ahead (75% of work is seasonal or tied to media schedules).
Give these predictions to the traffic department so they can chase briefing dates and get them in earlier.
So get the briefing dates on traffic’s timing plans12 months ahead.
Then traffic should give the suits deadlines for their briefs, the way they give creatives deadlines for their work.
Next, if you give a creative 6 weeks to do a campaign, when will they start?
That’s right, the beginning of week 6.
So make every week the last week.
All work going through the department gets reviewed on a weekly basis.
And if there’s no progress on it, it gets switched to another team.
No argument, no exceptions.
That helps concentrate the mind.
Finally every single creative has their own wipe-clean board in a public area.
Concept work is written up in red.
Production work is written up in black.
So everyone can see what everyone else is doing.
If you’re lazy, it’s on public view.
If you’re working flat out, it’s on public view.
If you’re a junior, once you’ve turned all the red on your board into black, you can work on any of the red on anyone else’s board.
This gives juniors a chance at better briefs.
And it stops the seniors getting lazy.
Of course there are many more details: timings, forms, signatures, but the core thinking is as follows:
1) Reverse the concept of time to create more of it.
2) Include the entire agency in traffic, not just the creative dept.
3) Create a system designed around recognising and rewarding hard work and initiative.
4) Be completely open and transparent.

And that’s the best traffic system, which produced the best work and the best people, I ever worked with.