Aim­ing at per­for­mance ex­cel­lence

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In these days of tough com­pe­ti­tion, from do­mes­tic as well as in­ter­na­tional players, an or­gan­i­sa­tion has to be on its toes and watch the com­pe­ti­tion care­fully. 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 is 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 ap­proach

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

Con­tin­u­ous im­prove­ment in work cul­ture and cus­tomer sat­is­fac­tion is es­sen­tial to sur­vive in com­pet­i­tive mar­ket.

by D.B.N. Murthy

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 and 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 and skill-upgra­da­tion in view of rapid changes in tech­nol­ogy, ma­chines, pro­cesses and meth­ods of work. Peo­ple have to be em­pow­ered too so that they 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 re­set 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, say, 5 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 or- gan­i­sa­tion 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 and 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 which 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 is there in store for them when the or­gan­i­sa­tion makes a hand­some profit.

Cor­po­rate re­spon­si­bil­ity

An or­gan­i­sa­tion should be known for its eth­i­cal prod­ucts and 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-thetable deal­ings are in­dulged in for short­term gains. Meet­ing pol­lu­tion stan­dards, not us­ing child labour, and em­ploy­ing per­sons with dif­fer­ent abil­i­ties are other so­cial fac­tors of con­cern.

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