Productivity—the Japanese Way


Economists are forever telling us that we need to increase productivity in order to improve our standard of living. Productivity is one of those concepts that are so loaded with meaning and implications that is very difficult to define, much less explain. Not surprisingly then, improving “it” is one of the most difficult tasks facing business. More to the point, the time for improvement is quickly running out. Industrial performance is being outstripped at a frightening pace by the Japanese. In fact, it has reached the point where their productivity performance is so superior that they can literally pick any product and any market and quickly come to dominate it.

The idea that Japanese are uniquely gifted in only a few related areas has been debunked by their proven successes in industries as diverse as automobiles and semi-conductors. As well, the facile suggestion that the Japanese are somehow culturally inclined to be productive doesn’t wash. Japanese managers have taken over factories in Europe and the US and greatly improved productivity records. Productivity has also been high in their North American plants.

If corporate managers believe that their workers can be as competitive as anyone else in the world, and technically, there’s no valid reason why they can’t be, then they must find better ways to help their employees realize their potential. In that sense, study of Japanese methods is a jumping-off point that can lead to adaptations that will produce unique ways of improving productivity.

My Consultancy–Asif J. Mir – Management Consultant–transforms organizations where people have the freedom to be creative, a place that brings out the best in everybody–an open, fair place where people have a sense that what they do matters. For details please visit www.asifjmir.com, and my Lectures.

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Subsistence Economy


In such an economy, each family unit produces everything it consumes. There is no need to exchange goods and services. Each producer-consumer unit is totally self-sufficient, although usually its standard of living is relatively low. No marketing takes place because marketing doesn’t occur unless two or more parties are willing to exchange something for something else.

My Consultancy–Asif J. Mir – Management Consultant–transforms organizations where people have the freedom to be creative, a place that brings out the best in everybody–an open, fair place where people have a sense that what they do matters. For details please visit www.asifjmir.com, and my Lectures.

Financing Alternatives


By the time your company reaches its first stage of development, it has probably consumed most, if not all, of its original seed capital. Although business may be looking up, sales are not generating enough free cash to buy the inventory needed for further growth. And, of course, the amount of cash you have taken out of the business for personal living expenses has probably been negligible.

Except in very rare circumstances, a new business needs about three years of steady growth before it generates free cash in sufficient amounts to survive. Working capital to keep the business growing must come from outside the company. Financing must be obtained from banks, other leading institutions, or investors, or the company will stagnate and quickly die.

My Consultancy–Asif J. Mir – Management Consultant–transforms organizations where people have the freedom to be creative, a place that brings out the best in everybody–an open, fair place where people have a sense that what they do matters. For details please visit www.asifjmir.com, and my Lectures.

The Significance of Productivity


The significance of productivity in increasing national welfare is universally recognized. There is no human activity that does not benefit from improved productivity. This is important because more of the increase in gross national income, or GNP, is produced by improving the effectiveness and quality of manpower than by using additional labor and capital. National income, or GNP, grows faster than the input factors when productivity is improved.

Productivity improvement, therefore, results in direct increases in the standard of living under conditions of distribution of productivity gains according to contribution. It would be wrong to state that productivity is the only important worldwide source of real economic growth, social progress and improved standard of living.

My Consultancy–Asif J. Mir – Management Consultant–transforms organizations where people have the freedom to be creative, a place that brings out the best in everybody–an open, fair place where people have a sense that what they do matters. For details please visit www.asifjmir.com, and my Lectures.

Want Satisfaction and Levels of Living


The level of want satisfaction achieved in a given economic society is hard to measure. Ordinarily it is expressed in terms of per capita income—sometimes gross and sometimes net, depending on the availability of data. There may be a great dispersion around the average; and the average income figure may be misleading.  Nevertheless, per capita income appears to be one of the best measures available of the performance of an economy.

Sometimes people judge the performance of an economy on the basis of whether per capita incomes are at a satisfactory level. The implication is that if the level is below satisfactory, something ought to be done about it—that everyone is entitled to a satisfactory level of living. Judgments of these kinds are not very valuable from the point of view of economic analysis.

My Consultancy–Asif J. Mir – Management Consultant–transforms organizations where people have the freedom to be creative, a place that brings out the best in everybody–an open, fair place where people have a sense that what they do matters. For details please visit www.asifjmir.com, and my Lectures.

 

Self-Respect


Self-respect is a rule of successful living. Think about it everyday until you apply it to everything you do.

People respect us in direct proportion to how much we respect ourselves. If you think of yourself as a first-class person, others will show you first-class respect. But if your self-concept is “I’m a second-class nobody,” you will receive little respect. You are headed straight for the land of nobodies.

No store carries a product called “self-respect,” so we cannot buy it. Nor can we inherit self-respect. It doesn’t come with the genes. And we can’t borrow self-respect from someone who has it. It has only the source: One’s self.

Meneius, a wise Greek said 2400 years ago, “A superior person will not show narrow-mindedness or the lack of self-respect.” We do not respect the person at work who belittles other people, rides hard over the workers, looks like a bum, and constantly uses profanity. The behavior of such people tells us they lack self-respect, so why should we respect them? Lack of self-respect is instilled in many people by a negative environment.

My Consultancy–Asif J. Mir – Management Consultant–transforms organizations where people have the freedom to be creative, a place that brings out the best in everybody–an open, fair place where people have a sense that what they do matters. For details please visit www.asifjmir.com, and my Lectures.

 

Personal Letters


Not direct mailings of large quantities of letters and brochures, but simple, personal letters is one of the most effective, easy, inexpensive, and overlooked methods of marketing. Certainly the large corporations don’t consider using this type of communication, because it doesn’t reach enough people to enrich their coffers. But it’s just the ticket for many an individual businessperson. If you can write clear English, spell properly, and keep your message short enough, you ought to be able to develop enough business through this mode of marketing so that you need employ many other methods. Even if you’re a dismal grammarian, professional typists can usually help put your ideas into acceptable form on the printed page.

The primary value of a personal letter is that it enables you to convey a truly personal feeling and reach a special place in the mind of the reader. You can say specific things in personal letters that are just not practical in any other medium except for certain kinds of telephone marketing.

In a personal letter you can, should, and must include as much personal data as possible. Mention the person’s name, of course. But also  mention things about the person’s life, business, car, home, or—if you ‘re in the gardening business—the person’s garden. By doing so, you will be whispering into someone’s ear rather than shouting through a distant megaphone. Naturally, you can mention personal things unless you know them. So do your homework and learn about your prospective customers: their working and living habits, their hopes and goals, their problems. You can get much of this information from your chamber of commerce. You can get more by conducting your own informal research with the aid of a simple questionnaire, or by personal observation. Include in your letter these feelings, and you will be dazzled at the effect the letter has.

My Consultancy–Asif J. Mir – Management Consultant–transforms organizations where people have the freedom to be creative, a place that brings out the best in everybody–an open, fair place where people have a sense that what they do matters. For details please visit www.asifjmir.com, and my Lectures.

 

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