Monthly Archives: July 2013

Superficial management

Let’s suppose that you are a general manager in a company, and one of yours employee (let’s call him man1) comes to you and said that he cannot solve a task because another employee from another department (let’s call him man2) do not made his job and man1 cannot solve the task because it is block by the man2.

In some of the companies in this situation GM said that man1 solve the problem because he have the task and he must to solve it. This is a very bad management decision because the man1 cannot have the tools to motivate or force man2 to made his jobs. In this case man1 will become frustrating in very short period of time and GM can put him in a very difficult situation. In most of the cases man1 do not solve the problem and he try too hide this till someone ask again how the task was solved. This is the worst situation for the company and for clients because one problem witch is not solve in time will affect clients soon.

Another situation is when a man1 identify a problem and said the problem to the top management but this problem cannot be solve easily by man1, but can be solve with less effort by man2. Because the man2 it is not so involved in the company business like man1 the GM give the problem to be solved by man1 (the same person that identify the problem), in most of the case this person have more information about the problem than any other person in the company because he collect some data before to tell the problem to senior managers. I face with this kind of decision many times in my activity. This is another examples of bad management decision. In this case man1, witch is a employee who want to solve the problem that he saw in the company, next time when he saw a problem do not tell this problem to the management because he know that he must to solve the problem even it is not in his primary focus and in his job description.

Also in this case the company loose because this problem affect the client or you spend more money to atop the problem to affect the clients. In many cases the top managers do not know this kind of problems and they don’t think that kind of problems exist in their company.

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How could I know ……?

Last year I have a project with a large company from Romania, and the General Manager ask me how can he know if things going well in his company? He want something fast, very easy to see from a single sight, not to study days different reports.

I give him a simple solution witch can give you an idea if things is on the right way in your company: if sales manager, purchasing manager and logistic manager have a goods professional relationship this can be a sign for the owner of the company or GM that the things are not working well in the company.  When I said good professional relationship means that they do not fight for things like this for example: sales manager want deliver every quantities to every distance every time, but the logistic manager can’t do that because of the costs and they must to have some fight on this subjects; purchasing manager want to have more stocks because he wants to avoid out of stock, but the logistic manager do not have enough space in the warehouse etc. If they do not have fight like this inside the company and if they do not discuss this king of things in the meeting something wrong happens in the company because it is clear that every of them hide this kind of things, and, finally, this is wrong for company.

If your sales manager, logistic manager and purchasing manager do not have fight like this, this can be a good sign to go deep inside the organization because somethings happens wrong there. Actually every department must a control factor for other department and they always must show the problems that have in daily operational activities.

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Small things

In my consultancy projects i have a basic rule that i respect every time. This rule said like this: “erase every thing that you already know about the subject and ask every thing like a new born child”. In some times people think that i am stupid because they think that I must know everything that is happens in the logistic and supply chain and some questions they consider that it is stupid questions. For example: I have a small audit to a company and I ask the fleet manager how he calculate the fuel consumption for cars. And that guy look on me with a strange face and said to me: “You don’t know how you calculate the fuel consumption and you want that i lean you this? “. I said “Yes”, and he was very surprised. After 1 hour he saw that my question it was not a stupid one.

But not for this situation I want to talk in this post. Few moths ago I was involved in a logistic project and i recommended to the client to buy a pallet truck with scale because they have a fix scale and they need space in the warehouse. This pallet truck must have a serial port to connect to a computer, or bluetooth or radio device to transmit the weight to the computer. We find one who have a radio device witch is connected to the computer via RS32 port and i ask the IT support to see if it is ok to capture the information on the computer. We talk with the supplier to let us the pallet truck 2 days for test and in this period of time the guy from IT department must see the device and told us if they can connect to a computer or not. The guy from IT department come on the warehouse, see the device, see that the device have RS32 port and said that it is ok. So, we decide to buy it.

When the pallet truck comes to use it in the warehouse we ask the it guy to connect to the computer. After 3 days of test they said that they cannot connect to the computer because the device it is not compatible with the transmission standard. I ask them why they do not test for the first time to see if the device can connect to the computer, but the mistakes is not on their side,the mistakes was mine because i trust them and i do not ask them to show me the device connected to the computer, when the pallets trucks with scale was in tests.

This cost us 2 weeks and another 200 euro for some special cable and labor. If we know this for the beginning we negotiate with the supplier to put that cable in the initial price. Small things like this can cost you money ant time and my advice is to act like a new baby born every time and test everything if you want to be sure that the things is happens like you desire or you can accept to not make all the tests and loose money and time.

For those who wants to know we loose another week block in some technical fight between IT departments and supplier regarding the transmission standard, port standards and more other things.

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Procedure or result

A general manager of a company ask me last week what I prefer: procedure or result. I ask, with no doubt, that I prefer result through procedure. I think this is the best way that the managers must use. A result without procedure is a result cannot be replicated and it is a happy hazard.

Many small companies look to obtain result in any conditions without procedure the process through obtain the results. A procedure give you the assurance that you can obtain the same result every time, and the results is independent by the man who execute the procedure. If you made procedure you may reduce the dependence of the employee and you can replace a employee who leave the company in short term.

Even in the small companies the replicable results is obtain using procedure, but this procedure is not formalize and it is not in a standard format. In many cases the procedure is bad or it is not followed and because of that the desire results is not achieved. In this case the management is disappointed and and employee is and employees are demoralized.

You need another secret ingredient to obtain results through procedure: discipline. Discipline and control give you the assurance the the procedure is followed, and a good and followed procedure give you the assurance that you will achieve the same results every time.