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.
I developed an appreciation of the best deal on offer and the loyalty of traders who give me the best deal they can.
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.