There are several matters for the management to take action so that it is in a good shape to take on the competitors. Some think that by improving technology they can find the market friendly. Others lay stress on their human resource development.
What is important to understand and appreciate that the organisation has to show an all-round improvement if it has to survive. For instance, if it improves the production process but fails to improve its marketing and service, customers are not impressed. They would go in for suppliers who can meet their requirements faster, better and at affordable prices.
A few of the factors that an organisation has to work and achieve improved performance are listed below:
Customer-driven: It might sound elementary that an organisation survives because it has customers. However, a few of them still behave as if it is a protected market. Their attitude towards customers of ‘take it or leave it’ is the real hindrance to their progress. Each and every employee starting from the CEO down to the lowly helper has to focus on pleasing customers, in order to meet the goals of the organisation.
Continuous improvement: What was good enough yesterday may not be enough today and certainly not tomorrow in view of market trends for improvement. Status quo is taboo as the customers expect better value for their money in terms of additional features or improvement in performance at the same price. That is why organisations have set up quality/productivity/safety improvement teams whose objective is to lay down, implement and monitor improvement in parameters of products/services which concern the customers the most. The culture of improvement has to become a way of life in an organisation where everyone strives to improve upon past performance.
Employee participation: It is the people in an organisation who can improve not just machines or technology. The employees should be trusted as valuable members of the team whose willing participation in every affair of the organisation spells success. They need periodical training/re-training/skill-upgradation in view of rapid changes in technology, machines, processes and methods of work. People have to be empowered too so that take up additional responsibilities wholeheartedly.
Fast response: A factor which is not receiving much attention is the quick responses to market demands. “We cannot supply that item because we have to re-set our machines and processes. Let the customers wait for a little longer,” kind of responses are no longer acceptable. If an organisation cannot supply, others are waiting to fill up the vacuum.
Once a customer loses his trust and confidence in a particular supplier, it would be difficult to regain it. It would take then greater efforts to woo them back.
Flexibility: Along with fast responses, flexibility in operations is vital for survival. If a customer wants a, say, five pieces of a particular product, he should get it without much delay. Then only he will have the interest to go back to that organisation for a repeat order or for a new device. Flexibility in operations means the organisation is tuned to the customers’ wavelength and not merely interested in delivering what it has produced.
Results oriented: At the end of each quarter, it is the bottom-line that counts and not what the organisation has achieved in terms of, say, employee training and development, induction of new process, lowering of stock, though each of these is important. Some managers are obsessed with techniques as if these are the be all and end all of matters. One has to focus on results without compromising on the integrity of the process/product/service. There are no short cuts to achieving results.
Leadership: The top managers have to be talking and walking examples of leadership that can make a big difference to the fortunes of an organisation. The leaders inspire their teams who in turn are enthused to be part of an exciting journey towards excellence. Merely paying adequate compensation and expecting employees to work with their heart and soul is asking for too much. They need a reason, apart from money, why they should work so hard and what’s there in store for them when the organisation makes a profit.
Corporate responsibility: An organisation should be known for its ethical products/services. At the same time, the stakeholders would like to be associated with an organisation, which has a social responsibility towards its shareholders, employees, vendors, government and the public. The image will suffer if under-the-table dealings are indulged in for short-term gains. Meeting pollution standards, not using child labour, and employing persons with different abilities are other social factors of concern.
The writer is Consultant at Q & M