Monthly Archives: August 2014

In the Name of Efficiency the Value Add is Doomed.


More and more I am conscious of faceless corporations sucking the “humanity” out of the system in the name of efficiency. This is particularly evident when it comes to the notion of value add. You know that special contribution that makes things special or compelling, that burst of energy from nowhere, the X factor as that eponymous TV show insists. But there is no place for value-add in a “corporatocracy”  because there can be no KPI (i.e. a key performance indicator must be quantifiable). "Efficiency" doesn't appear to recognise value-add and in a top down world, you provide what you are asked to provide …. nothing more – nothing less.

Recently I read a story about an efficient local firm that appeared to be buying screws from five different suppliers at varying price points. How could that be efficient asked the writer who had been a part time employee at the local manufacturing business. This is the reason local businesses cannot compete he ventured. But the reason that this writer’s old employer bought screws from five different suppliers may have had more to do with keeping them all in business and the town going than raw cost efficiency. He may have had to face several of the suppliers at the local golf club every Saturday or at the local business man’s club on Tuesday evenings. Whatever the reason, it made sense outside of the brutality of efficiency at any cost. Before 1971, and the rise of BigCorp, local business people would not be actively seeking to put half the township out of a job for the sake of a 5% improvement in efficiency because the shareholders were more than likely his family. These feelings are human and these decisions are made with the community in mind. Where has that humanity gone? Why are we making decisions affecting people's lives purely on the basis of "efficiency" although I find it hard to believe that putting half a town out of work by buying off-shore screws or screwing the local suppliers down to a point where they go out of business, could ever be really that efficient in a community sense. Efficiency is the enemy of humanity if you want my honest opinion folks! Not that I am championing inefficiency .. just a little caring for our communities and our fellow workers maybe. Ah that was before the “great globalism” took root all in the name of greater efficiency. Bollocks I say! We were warned about this by Sir James Goldsmith in “The Trap” back in the early nineties although it had been planned well before then. Global-mindedness – yep, all for it! Globalism ..that's just a screw job for the fat cats. An uncaring system predicated on the creation of credit to deliver wealth is constantly demanding economic growth and that economic growth must come at any cost. In contrast, a system based on savings does not necessarily need growth to be successful. In the face of a seemingly endless array of corporate silos and all of their associated intrigues, we have inefficiency justifying itself in the name of efficiency. Nuts!