Last month I addressed the need for strong and consistent accountability in the workplace. Last week I was in China visiting a packaging plant that are a current supplier to a well-known Australian manufacturer of dairy products. It was my first trip to mainland China, and I wasn’t quite sure what to expect, though knowing that at least a modicum of due-diligence had been done by the client to select this company.
I was pleasantly surprised, but probably shouldn’t have been. The Chinese company was in fact owned by a joint venture between a Japanese company and an Italian company proficient in packaging technology, and many of the systems and processes were inherited from both parent companies. Many of the clients and suppliers were also the same as the parent companies. So, a large portion of the operations was a replica of success elsewhere.
What could not be transferred from the parent companies though was the culture, yet the culture in the business portrayed efficiency and success. I was able to see strong responsibility and accountability at each area and layer, clear communication of expectations, good engagement of workers, and consistency in meeting requirements. The business went out of their way to provide a positive working environment for their employees to feel appreciated and satisfied with their work, no matter how mundane.
The business has been in operation for 20 years, increasing production and the number of clients each year. Automation has increased, though the increase in throughput has enabled the business to maintain and increase its workforce. Sure, some of the processes and implemented requirements were antiquated by “our standards”, yet met the needs of the business and its clients. They focussed on the issues that mattered in delivering a reasonably efficient service and high-quality product. Applying the same fundamental principles will provide success in most organisations.
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