The phrase ``friendly fire'' is a military term used when troops are inadvertently fired on by their comrades or allies. All too often, there are casualties, frequently resulting in fatalities.
Why? What went wrong? During a war or police action, there is more than enough death and destruction. Most often, friendly fire is the direct result of faulty communication:
* Wrong coordinates were given or transposed upon receipt.
* Out-of-date information regarding troop movements or positioning was utilized for the strike.
* The wrong shell load was selected to fire the projectile, causing it either to overshoot or fall short of the intended target.
Whatever the reason, the victims and their families suffer loss. As it was a time of conflict, might they have become victims anyway? Who can say? However, had the error not been committed, the damage would not have been done.
What does friendly fire have to do with industry? It is true that a large portion of the prospective market share has found its way overseas. This ``enemy'' causes a good deal of damage and destruction to our economy. However, a true assessment of our business practices would reveal that we frequently shoot ourselves in the foot! Friendly fire would seem to be a fitting term, due to the fact that poor communication ultimately results in loss. This time, however, the victims are businesses and the families of the employees.
At this juncture, it seems there is very little that can be done to alleviate the overseas threat. To the untrained eye, the wheels grind slowly. However, there is a good deal that can and should be done to improve our own market share. Might we focus our time management in a more productive way? How could our communication skills be improved?
All too often, the ``If it ain't broke, don't fix it!'' attitude prevails. Certainly, there are enough demands on our time, attention and resources to keep us occupied. However, in this day and age with the global economy what it is, could any business afford not to invest in the future?
The term invest strikes terror in those controlling the already-stretched-to-the-limit purse strings. It not only denotes allocation of funds, but also invokes the idea of venturing into the great unknown. However, the vast majority of the improvements can be done with little or no capital. It will require commitment and follow-through. So that everyone is on the same page, some training may be needed. Once the direction is set, you must stay the course. Would it not be worth additional effort to greatly reduce glitches? Most businesses would see immediate as well as long-term benefits from implementing such improvements.
If they are not doing so, most likely they will not have to worry about it long! They are like lightning rods in this thunderstorm economy. Sooner or later, lightning will strike! Hopefully, it will not be a total loss. When such a strike does occur, is it an act of God? Much more likely, the resulting damage is due to preventable friendly fire!
Kellems & Coe Tool Corp.