THE VIEW FROM THE PERCH
The eagle that we
are using in our word picture is seated high above the terrain on a
perch or soaring over the land. This is analogous to the leaders of
our companies. The perch is the fancy comer office or the
mahogany-paneled boardroom. What is the primary focus that emanates
from this perspective?
What occupies our
leaders' thoughts? What is their vision for the immediate and long
This vision should
focus on generating profits from the manufacturing process as
outlined above. The generation of profits from get-rich-quick
schemes needs to be replaced by manufacturing excellence and meeting
There are several
methods to ascertain their real focus. One way is to analyze the
company's mission statement. How much of the mission statement is
focused on profits and the guiding principles that have previously
been articulated? All too often the mission statement deals with a
number of secondary issues, thereby compromising the process from
the outset. Do the leaders actually know the mission statement and
use it to direct the affairs of the corporation?
Another test of
focus is to study the actions of the leadership. What does their
walk indicate? If their words pay homage to the pursuit of profits
and the guiding principles, does their walk validate this
illustrates this. A recent call to a technical support line for a
major corporation provided a personal message from the vice
president of customer support. He extolled the company's commitment
to supply timely and competent support to all their valued
customers. After this speech, the customer is on cloud nine. What a
great decision to have bought the product from such a company
committed to my success.
This euphoria is
short-lived, however. After a brief pause, another recording tells
you how to get an answer via the Internet or a fax, because they
are not able to answer the phone due to too many valued customers.
Before you have a chance to digest the inconsistency of the moment,
you hear the infamous dial tone as they have disconnected you. Who
is fooling whom?
Forward or backward
integration, mergers, or spin-offs also reveal leadership's true
focus. How many of these corporate gyrations have profit and the
guiding principles at the core? How much of their actions go against
profits and violate one or more of the guiding principles?
of proper focus is whose needs are paramount to the leader. Is the
leader's focus on meeting the needs of Wall Street, his or her own
street, or Main Street? All too often the focus is misdirected or
blurred at best. Main Street represents earning a profit by meeting
customer needs. The rest will take care of itself.
The message to the
corporate executive suite is loud, clear, and simple. First things
need to be put first. The only valid focus needs to be reinstated,
intensified, or maintained as the situation dictates. Without a
clear and valid vision, the company is unrestrained and doomed to
eventual extinction. The same is true for corporate leaders.
THE APICS LEADER
We, as APICS
practitioners, have a responsibility to focus on profit. In fact, it
is time, or past time, that we view ourselves in a new dimension.
Instead of thinking of ourselves as practitioners, we need to
become leaders committed to the success of our leaders and our
company. This paradigm shift moves us out of the CPIM world and
thrusts us into the CIRM environment.
As we have
endeavored to lead out and promote, implement, and enhance the APICS
body of knowledge, unfortunately we have sometimes encountered some
pitfalls. These pitfalls continue to plague some efforts to kaizen
utilizing benchmarking, cycle time reduction, employee involvement,
ISO 9000, manufacturing cells, master scheduling, SMED, supply chain
management, and TQM, to name a few.
There are five
major pitfalls: broken promises, excuses, unsound theories,
reluctance to change, and having our own agenda.
leaders have a right to expect us to demonstrate the character
quality of responsibility. Responsibility can be defined as knowing
and doing that which is expected of me. There are five expectations
that they want us to fulfill. When we consistently accomplish these,
our walk will finally match our talk.
• results versus
• timeliness versus excuses
• reality versus theory
• future versus past
• loyalty versus own agenda.
To Be Continued