Volume 2, Number 4 - April 6, 2004

While driving in the beautiful country of Costa Rica, my knuckles turned white from my tight grip on the
steering wheel. I was only moving at 5 m.p.h. The problem wasn’t the rental car. It was new and ran fine. The problem was the roads. They were graded poorly and covered with boulders – not rocks, boulders. I couldn’t visit nearly as much of the country as I wanted to. I spent too much time dodging boulders. The infrastructure got in my way.

Your company may have wonderful products. But does your infrastructure make it easy to develop, plan, make, distribute, and support those products? A great product, like a beautiful country, is not enough. Some may make the effort to do business with you, just as some will make the effort to travel the roads of Costa Rica. But many will not. Even a great product may just not seem worth the effort. Your customers, suppliers, and your employees get tired of trying, and begin to look elsewhere.

So get out the orange barrels for your company:
• Take a hard look at your infrastructure
• Develop an overall strategy for your operations; reactionary and piecemeal won’t work long term
• Prioritize improvements to best leverage your critical resources
• Focus, and improve NOW

Dell doesn’t have the best computers; it has the best logistics. Wal-mart doesn’t have the best products; it has the best logistics. Backroom processes can make the difference. Get rid of the boulders in your infrastructure.

Fulcrum ConsultingWorks – helping you leverage your resources.

In 2002, Wal-Mart imported approximately $12 billion in merchandise from China, almost 10% of the $130 billion the United States imported from that country.

Exports to China averaged $12 billion per year during the last 5 years of the 1990’s, but have grown steadily since then to $27 billion in 2003.

China’s share of the US trade deficit is about the same as in the mid 1990’s.

Entirely too many company executives I talk with rarely leave their jobs, except to go home. They do not know their counterpart at the company across the street. They do not make time for high quality seminars, workshops, or plant tours. They work hard, but don’t take time to work hard on improving themselves. If you are not working to make sure you are a better, more knowledgeable leader a year from now, how can you hope to have a better company a year from now? And how can you expect your employees to improve. Get out. Choose carefully, but get out.

Fulcrum ConsultingWorks, Inc. All rights reserved.
For reprint permission, just give Rebecca a call
or e-mail her at [email protected]