In the later days in Zimbabwe, I would walk into the Greek Bakery (hey, it was called that) and say, “What’s for breakfast?”. Whatever they had, I ate – happily. Samosa and salad. That’s OK. Coffee machine working? OK, tea is fine.
What can you do for me?
It was little different in New Zealand. I taught a massive class of 800 students, and then some. And they all worked. Supermarket, department store, restaurant – the people serving me were students and quite likely my students.
That’s great, isn’t it, though the university had strict rules about accepting favors.
A hop-and-a-step in my thinking told me something else. They were students – smart, obliging, but totally unqualified for what they were doing. They were hired because they were cheap and because the managers thought raw enthusiasm was a sufficient substitute for sound training.
Well, how hard is it to say “Would you like fries with that?”
But it is hard to keep raw enthusiasm done and I soon learned to wave away the menu and decline to “look around”. I went back to my Zimbabwean ways.
Waste no time on over-specified supply chains
I wasted no time on the loss leaders and dramatic deals that might have caught my eye but were essentially scammy.
I wasted no time specifying solutions that the enterprise ‘should’ have delivered but wasn’t going to because the staff weren’t trained and would probably have no idea what I was talking about.
I simply asked what they could do for me.
And so my style of co-creation was formed and practiced.
- This is what I need done and what I can pay for.
- What solutions can you provide?
Supply networks working fabulously
I got good service. Happy service. The raw enthusiasm worked fabulously. I got what was available and what staff could deliver and it was often better than I had looked for in the first place.
This is the essence of supply networks of the 21st century. The customer is not king (or queen). The customer contributes a need and a readiness to pay.
All the players in the supply network scratch their heads and say “ You know what? We could . . . “
By staying in the range of what we can do, we do better.
- First who, then what.
- Whoever comes are the right people. What we decide is the only thing that we could have decided.
- And when it is over, it is over.
Supply networks, co-creation, open technology – tiz all the same.
And it works in scarcity and abundance by being reasonable and collegial.