Outsource Magazine Issue 25 - (Page 114)

THE BACK END THE LAST WORD days”…) I’ve experienced events in both my professional and personal life that lead me to believe business is going downhill. Worsening quality of products and services; awful customer interaction and service; poor product knowledge; unempowered, indifferent and frankly uninterested (and often uninteresting) staff coupled with an inability to communicate effectively and some really questionable choices about what products and services to sell. Grrr.... But the marketing guys tell us we’ve never had it so good. What’s not to like about getting a flight to Spain for 99p? Why would I complain about seven pairs of socks for £2? Why buy one bottle of well-known carbonated, caffeinated soft drink when I can buy one and get three free? And the humble onion – “The skins on the British ones were slightly too yellow, sir, so we’ve imported these 12,000 miles from Tazmania, just for you”, the Grocery Manager of a well-known supermarket recently told me. Business Class onions? Grrrrr......... Sadly, this is a response to relentless consumer-driven demand for increasingly cheap goods and services. As consumers, we’ve developed a seemingly insatiable appetite for cheap, disposable junk. We want immediate, shiny, blisterpacked gratification and we don’t care about value – just price. My worry is that this mindset, left unchecked, will permeate its way into wider business and make it forget its moral obligations by reverting to lazy, short-term outsourcing, for example, in order to satisfy the demand for lower costs without understanding the long-term value that will be inevitably be destroyed. And don’t think it can’t happen. The banging fist of the consumer demanded cheap credit, unsecured loans and seven-times-salary mortgages. The banks responded and whilst consumers got their new cars, holiday homes and Porsche toasters, some fairly major cracks started to appear in an increasingly hollow society. Of course, both consumer and supplier are to blame and whilst I don’t yearn to live on Walton’s Mountain, I do think that we all need to take a moment to ask ourselves whether what we are about to buy or sell is good for the consumer, business and society. I’m not advocating that we start wearing kaftans and preach peace and love, but I do think that the future will be a much better place if we simplify, collaborate more and focus on value rather than price. The Erosion of Good Business When given the opportunity to have an anonymous rant, the choice of topic soon became all-consuming. Britain’s terrible weather? ‘Popular’ music? My oneyear-old son’s ability to create Jackson Pollock-esque works of art armed with only a single strawberry? After in-depth discussions with our live-in Jackson Pollock wannabe, I concluded that my words should focus on the erosion of ‘good’ business. But before I elaborate, a little about me. My personal ad would read something like: “GSOH, N/S, Partial Head of Hair, All Own Teeth” but I probably wouldn’t add that I’ve spent 20 years working in various outsourcing and supply chain management roles, as supplier, buyer and consultant. So what do I mean by “the erosion of ‘good’ business”? In short, I genuinely believe that business1 is getting worse at doing business2, with 1 being ‘the enterprise’ and 2 being ‘the sale of goods and services’ e.g. The Wonderful Widget Company is doing a worse job of selling widgets and widgetrelated services. Over the last few years (and I accept that recently turning 40 might cause me to reflect wistfully on “the good old OPINION ‘Marvin Cohen’ Would you like to contribute an interesting, provocative – and, if you wish, anonymous – piece to The Last Word? Or would you like to respond to this particular column? Why not drop a line to the editor at jamie.liddell@ outsourcemagazine.co.uk to discuss your thoughts? Consendre mod eugait alit luptati sisisisit would do well to remember that all successful business ad onulla cor ing eumsandre ex elit “Every young man augait num iusti facidunt ipsumsan el eraestrud exerat stands on the atetue tet ulla feu feum niamconEm ea commodiam ad tem dolortio Utat lum quisim et, quissi.Volobore m iurero dolobore. foundation of morality.” – Henry Ward Beecher 114 ●●● ● www.outsourcemagazine.co.uk http://www.outsourcemagazine.co.uk

Table of Contents for the Digital Edition of Outsource Magazine Issue 25

News & Commentary
Making Contact
Taking the Chair
Clinical Outsourcing Strategies
New Worlds
To Share Or Not To Share?
Trends in Outsourcing Governance
The Next Big Idea
Smart Intelligence
Taking the ChairCracking the Wip
NOA Round-Up
Predicting Success
It’s Not The Contract.
Get Productive
Rigorously Agile
Good Relations
Knowledge Sustainability
Racking Up The Wins
Trust Me... I’m an Outsourcer
Top Ten
The Legal view
HfS Round-Up
Online Round-Up
Inside Source
The Last Word

Outsource Magazine Issue 25