Dear Colleagues! This is Asrar Qureshi’s Blog Post #766 for Pharma Veterans. Pharma Veterans welcome sharing of knowledge and wisdom by Veterans for the benefit of Community at large. Pharma Veterans Blog is published by Asrar Qureshi on WordPress, the top blog site. Please email to firstname.lastname@example.org for publishing your contributions here.
Continued from Previous……
We explore reasons why organizations fail to perform up to mark and become tired.
Alan Greenspan, the long time and more famous head of Federal Reserve in the US, recounts in his book ‘The Age of Turbulence’ his early days of work. According to him, they used to have large size registers in which they made data entries manually. The same data was used for analysis. Now US has the most advanced technologies in the world. I remember, the banks in Pakistan used to have huge registers for maintaining information of account holders and their transactions. Every time, a customer deposited money or wrote a cheque, it was entered in that register. Statements were made from the same registers. Now, the monster registers have been replaced by computers. Technology has come up as the fiercest force which has taken over the world in all departments. The most recent GPT-3 (Generative Pre-trained 3) is making the internet chatter crazy.
Tired organizations are averse to technology adoption, and this becomes a big reason for their constant slowness and inefficiency. It is a vicious cycle; low productivity, high wastage, negative balance, further low productivity and so on. Adopting technology in personal life is a personal choice. For example, if someone does not want to use mobile phone, it is fine, but refusing to adopt or upgrade technology in the organization is not personal, it is professional mistake which affects all the people in the organization. Being a pharma professional, I had the opportunity to visit a large number of pharmaceutical manufacturing plants in many parts of the world. These included the high-end and low-end units both. The lowest end units are so poor in technology that it surprises how they work. The decades old, worn-out machines still churn out tablets, but how can they ensure content uniformity, consistency, dissolution, and other important characteristics which have direct bearing on the effectiveness of the product? The old machines were designed for old products which had large content in it, hundreds of milligrams. The entire manufacturing components were imprecise, and it did not matter. Now, the active content is few milligrams or even micrograms. Their manufacturing requires precision equipment which would ensure that each tablet shall have the same content, no matter how small it is.
Technology aversion also means that these organizations simply cannot do the same type of work which others do. They cannot launch new products, for instance, they cannot offer customer service, and they cannot upgrade existing products. In some businesses, conventional, old methods may still be surviving, but in other industries, technology has entirely replaced the old methods.
We keep coming back to use of computers, but it is inevitable. Go to the offices of any old, tired organization, you will see some computers, very old, very slow machines which keep stalling every now and then. No one calculates the waste of time they cause, and no one calculates the cost of wastage, which brings us to the next reason.
Lack of Sensitivity about Time
Time is now considered to be the most important resource, more important than capital and land and all. The jobs are becoming more stressful because more work is expected in shorter time. The pace of life generally has become quite fast. When you travel in the developed countries, you see everyone running, trying to make the most of the time. The situation in countries like ours may not be the same, but it has changed drastically all the same. Firstly, we evolved from agriculture-based society where physical effort was followed by waiting for nature to do its work. Life was physically strenuous, but the pace of change was negligible. Some Muslim communities were into business, while most businesses were run by Hindus in our part of the world. After partition, many people took over shops and businesses of departing Hindus and became businessmen by chance. We carried the same thinking to business of doing everything slowly. The old business communities whose generations have been in business are much more successful than later day, accidental businessmen.
Sensitivity about time generally lacks in our people, employers, employees, anyone. Our habit of wasting time is simply horrible. Young people spend productive time on mobile phones doing non-productive things; older people probably do not have much to do and hence sit idle. Workers in production and assembly areas where the machines force their speed are busy constantly, but office workers waste their own and others’ time in useless discussions and gossips. They are neither interested in their own growth nor acquiring new skills to improve their employability here or elsewhere.
The relatively more modern looking entrepreneurs are extremely interested in all things digital with complete disregard to the capability of their people. They would force ERP, and other softwares which rather than facilitating, become a pain. It is another waste of time in another way that I have seen happening. Without assessing the organization capability, programs are started which do not fit with people. This is particularly the case when the new generation comes in who are eager and ambitious to do more. The result of this activity is mass disturbance, loss of valuable information, and disorientation which takes time to correct.
Lack of sensitivity about time is most evident in decision making. There is no timeframe for taking decisions and of course decision making is not delegated so everyone must look up to the chief and wait for his actions. What is not understood is that every decision has a cost and delayed decisions cost much more. Even otherwise, we display an uneasiness and abnormal behavior in decision making. We have too many preconceived notions about everything, we carry mistrust at all times, we mostly think negatively, we harbor many fears, and many obsessions. Two things sit on top of everything else: one, is the utmost effort to not own the consequences of decisions; two, seeking guidance from people who may be wise but have no clue about the matter at hand. The result is that either we decide too quickly or too late, both cases not desirable.
In the next post, I shall complete the reasons and then move to solutions and cures.
To be Concluded……
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