Paul Downs has written another great article in the NY Times. It talks about the criteria for evaluating one type of customer relative to another.
(Business and Management Forum)
From contributor L:
This is more of a case of controlling schedule than which customer. They can scream and shout about "having it now" but when push comes to shove they will usually find a way to survive without for another week or two. They just need to know the time frame up front and then decide.
Acceptance of a hot job normally fetches good margin but creates stress on resources which try to meet the due dates of the existing jobs. In the context of a new hot job with a stringent due date, the problem is how to figure out in advance the minimal and cost-optimal capacity enhancement (like worker overtime) for resources over different time intervals and how much of the work can be outsourced to nearby shops or individuals, if possible. An accurate decision on hot job based on the analysis of workflow and resource capacities will reduce two types of risks; greedy and unreasonable acceptance of the job and unnecessary rejection when the job can be accommodated with proper dynamic capacity planning.
If several diverse jobs/projects are in progress simultaneously, needing many shared resources, then simple arithmetic calculations involving available hours and required hours of resources may not help much due to the precedence relations among operations of each job/project. The calculations could become messier when workers have different skill sets and machines are multi-functional. In such cases, the calculations based on scientific scheduling logic can give more confidence in the analysis and decision making. The decision maker can get good help from a production analysis tool that can offer fast and extensive what-if analysis of production schedules and facilitate dynamic capacity planning. The tool can instantaneously do all the necessary number crunching in the evaluation of the merit of each possible decision in production planning. Many people accept hot jobs by experience and gut feeling.