when was the last time?
by: Sanjeev Dhawan
The procurement chief of our major customer was coming. His last two visits made us work for months.
The affable procurement chief started the meeting by complementing us on our achievements in delivery & cost improvements.
The whole room broke into a spontaneous applause. After all this time he appreciated our work & did not exhort for usual price cuts.
As the sound of claps died down, came the bombshell that everyone was dreary of.
The customers are very demanding. In spite of higher raw material prices, we must reduce our prices significantly, to keep our volumes. As our partners, we expect you to work hard & bring down your prices significantly.
The meeting became tense.
You could hear the sound of heavy breathing & also the sound of the thoughts.
Customers are always demanding. But this was getting too much.
We had reduced the prices twice in the last year. And now they want more. Can’t they understand that it cannot be perpetual?
They need to understand that we have been working on these products & processes for years. We know what can & cannot be done.
We have already reduced the breaks & increased the work time, reduced the costs of processes by cutting on waste. We have reduced the vendor margins. Any further cuts will directly impact the operations.
The rest of the words were lost in the thoughts.
Sounds too familiar?
Let us separate the myths from realities.
When was the last time that you learnt formally?
Whatever be the answer to this question or, whatever be the reason, the desirability of learning can not be underestimated.
Experience shows that computer-based educational methods can lead to much faster rates and higher quality of learning, which is more inter-active and motivating for students at all levels of education from pre-school to post-graduation. It is extremely effective even for some sophisticated professional courses.
in_cr_ove TQMschool self study & classroom training courses have built in qualitative improvements encompassing several dimensions, including:
The time "when many of us acquired our major professional qualifications to now" runs into years. Since then, a lot of new techniques have become popular for their proven effectiveness & results.
Though the demands that I face today are new, my learning remains old in comparison.
Although it isn't easy, professionals should shed their fear of the unknown and display childlike enthusiasm for radical ideas. They need to ask tough questions even if there are no answers to them (yet). In business, Changing the manner in which customer needs & processes are defined and the way processes are run is fast becoming the norm. It also involves rethinking perceptions about what can & cannot be done.
As it is, executives tend to gravitate toward their zones of comfort as they grow older and then wonder why the magic has disappeared from work
They usually believe they have all the answers and that their ways of doing things are the best. However, leaders must accept the fact that they don't have all the answers and re-program themselves for a world of infinite possibilities.
The greater that knowledge and skill, the higher will be the productivity, the better the quality, and the lower the cost of the products and services we generate. Similarly, the better the quality and lower the cost, greater will be the comparative advantage and market potential.
For people in business, especially those who graduated a long time ago, it's time we went back to learning.
That's the only way we will learn to challenge all that we have so far accepted as time-tested truths.
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