By Chic Hollis – Philosophical Musings
There is a sensible warning given by the elders in primitive tribes that live in the depths of the jungle: “The first one to see a poisonous snake slither onto the dirt floor of the family’s hovel must rush out and find someone to kill it!” That edict I adapted in business so that measures would be promptly taken by my employees to protect what was going on in our company.
This simple wisdom should guide the day-to-day activity of any human hierarchy of a serious institution, especially a for- profit business. Of course, no human expects a dangerous serpent to crawl onto a factory floor or onto the worn carpet of an office in a business establishment.
The metaphor I am using is aimed at identifying and eliminating anything that remotely threatens the welfare of the company: a bad practice or procedure, a mistreatment of a customer or a worker, an effort to “cook the books” or hide the truth about quality, or an act or promise to achieve a sale that could be considered by competition improper after the fact.
Pro-active employees should be encouraged to be on the look-out for anything that is interfering with efficiency. They should be trying to enhance quality control, eliminate unnecessary costs, and speed-up production through-put. Their individual goals should be well understood. Smoothing out the production schedule by eliminating part shortages caused by delinquent suppliers, improving “on-time” delivery of a well-finished product to the company’s customers, and reducing the causes of making scrapped pieces in the production process are essential activities for every member of the workforce.
Industrial Engineering’s advice about how to utilize manpower most effectively and create an optimum production schedule must be followed-up to insure that good ideas are implemented promptly on the production line. Customer service can’t be handled by TV’s remotely situated “Peggy” who can’t speak the English language very well and isn’t totally dedicated to achieving post-sale customer satisfaction!
Workers know what the various reasons are that cause production slowdowns. There are many snakes crawling around everywhere, and the most dangerous ones should be handled by experts. Trouble-shooting and ridding the production and sales processes of harmful procedures and lackadaisical responses to fix them is the prime job of management! Ask your workers where the snakes may be hiding and what needs to be done to eliminate them. Conscientious workers know.