Monday, July 23, 2007

"PARABLE"

Parable
A Japanese company (Toyota) and an American company (General Motors) decided to have a canoe race on the Missouri River. Both teams practiced long and hard to reach their peak performance before the race.On the big day, the Japanese won by a mile. The Americans, very discouraged, decided to investigate the reason for their crushing defeat.A management team made up of senior management was formed to investigate and recommend appropriate action. Their conclusion was that the Japanese had 8 people rowing and 1 person steering, while the Americans had 8 people steering and 1 person rowing. Feeling a deeper study was in order, American management hired a consulting company and paid them a large amount of money for a second opinion. They advised, of course, that too many people were steering the boat, and not enough people were rowing.Not sure how to utilize that in formation, but wanting to prevent another loss to the Japanese, the rowing team's management structure was totally reorganized to 4 steering supervisors, 3 area steering superintendents and 1 assistant superintendent steering manger.The also implemented a new performance system that would give the one person rowing the boat greater incentive to work harder. It was called, "Rowing Team Quality First Program," with meetings, dinners and free pens for the rower. There was discussion of getting new paddles, canoes and other equipment, and extra vacation days for practices and bonuses.Next year, the Japanese won by two miles.Humiliated, the American management laid off the rowers for poor performance, halted development of a new canoe, sold the paddles and cancelled
all capital investments for new equipment. The money saved was distributed to the senior executives as bonuses, and the next year's racing team was out-sourced to India.Sadly, the end. But oh, so true. Something else to think about: Ford has spent the last thirty years moving its factories out of the US, claiming they can't make money paying American wages. Toyota has spent the last thirty years building more than a dozen plants within the US.Results:Toyota made four billion in profits while Ford racked up nine billion in losses. The Ford folks are scratching their heads.If this weren't so sad, it would be funny.

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