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Week of 5 June 2017: Your role in your company

Email Jim at jthompson@taii.com

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Wandering around the industry as I do, I am often amazed at the perceived roles people think they have, as indicated by their actions and words each day. Many appear to have no clue to the overall picture. It is really quite simple.

First, a business exists only to earn a return for its owners.

Then, in its chosen field, a business's job is to keep the invoice printer spinning, which means:

Sell as much product as possible at the highest possible net margin.

Everyone's role comes from this. If you cannot see a connection to this from where you stand (and don't let me catch you sitting!), let me help you a bit.

If you are in sales, this means finding customers, persuading them to buy your products, and feeding intelligence on the marketplace back to headquarters.

If you are in production, your job is all about efficiency. Make as much as the sales department can sell, of high quality and at the lowest possible cost.

If your job is in procurement, it is all about efficiency and margin protection. Get what the business needs in the correct quality and at the best price.

If you are in maintenance, your job is all about efficiency. Keep the equipment running, without unscheduled downtime, at the lowest possible cost.

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If you are in a regulatory role, your job is all about efficiency. Keep the business in compliance at the lowest possible costs; be aware of upcoming regulatory changes and prepare the business to deal with them without interruption.

If your job is in research, your job is about innovation and efficiency. Innovation can take two forms: product (to be the first to the market with the high margin new product) or efficiency (find new ways to make existing products that improves efficiency).

Do you see a pattern here? The majority of the employees of the company are engaged in efficiency exercises and need to be efficiency experts in their corners of the enterprise.

I believe efficiency is a lifestyle, not something you can turn on and off. It must be an attitude that prevails in every part of your life from your arising in the morning, until your lying down at night. The company that can exploit efficiency in every corner of their business wins--without government bailouts, without tariff protection, without special favors or special treatment from anyone.

When it comes to safety, well planned out, efficient tasks, be they a one-time event or a regular repetitive exercise, are often the safest path to take. Accidents start with short cuts (which have nothing to do with efficiency).

Be safe and we will talk next week.

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