Monday, September 14, 2009

How to get real productivity? Do it right the first time!

This past week, I just took notice of the amount of time that my wife and I spend following up, chasing down mistakes and trying to have them corrected, listening on the phone to on-hold music as we waited for a customer service representative, or their supervisor when we couldn't get the issue resolved. My wife talks about how she loses hours and hours a week just correcting what other people haven't done right in their jobs, and when watching her, she is right. This past week, I took on some of these items and I found a pool guy who didn't come this week, but unless we report it, we will get charged for the visit, which means a preemptive phone call from me and us watching the bill next month. A waiting for a repairman who never showed and then called three days later to schedule something this week instead of last. Dealing with UPS who decided to not deliver a package on time that I needed and having to chase that down, and now wait for the refund and if I don't get it then have to follow up in ten days to ensure that it goes through. Chase down, figure out what is wrong, find out that someone didn't do their job right or thoroughly and take our time to get it all right. I imagine a world where everyone did their work right the first time, there was a belief that customer service was not perfect unless they never had to be called. How different things would be! I suspect that if we could attack this level of productivity loss that we would not only see a big pick up in our ability to manufacture more efficiently, but we would also return to a place where consumers trusted and believed in products. That in itself could impact consumer confidence. It is time to look at this problem. It starts with CEO's and Boards honoring their consumers and customers with a commitment to get it right the first time!

Sunday, September 13, 2009

What Has Happened to U.S.?

In the past two weeks we have seen two instances that has made we wonder, "what has happened to us?" First, the President of the United States takes time out of his schedule to speak directly to he kids in our schools about the importance of education, hard work, and focus. And what do we get? We get school districts and parents who politicize the issue and deny their children the opportunity to hear the President deliver a message that could be the one that shapes and motivates their education and eventual career decisions. Don't we want every child in America to sit at their first grade desk knowing with all of their heart that they could someday be the President of they put their hearts and mind to it? So, what is the message we are sending when we keep our children from being exposed to the President? I don't care if you agree with the politics of the President or not, he is the President of the United States and he is owed and has earned, if only through obtaining the office, the respect that when he speaks, we should stop what we are doing and listen. I am far from being a person who has agreed with any President on all things but regardless of their foibles and positions, if my President speaks and/or calls on me, then I listen and respond. A week later we have an elected Congressman, Joe Wilson, from South Carolina, yelling out "You Lie!" in the middle of the President's joint session of Congress. When I heard it live, I thought I had misheard. I rolled back the TIVO and there it was. In that moment, I felt sorry for our country and was just as embarrassed and ashamed for Mr. Wilson. To hear people later support his outburst only hurt more. We are not a government where we call for lack of confidence votes. We have a President, like him/her or not, for four years and it is our responsibility to not always agree, but to support and do what we can to make things better. Calling our President a liar, or denying him access to children, is not constructive in any shape or form. So, tonight I wonder what has happened to us, what has happened to our U.S.?