Flexible leadership, Leadership in extreme circumstances and not throwing good money after bad lessons from Stalin, Bligh and Arnold.
Brian O’Neill in his post on LDRLB titled Three Surprising Leaders Who Demonstrated the Importance of Flexibility brings out interesting strategies leaders can adopt in various situations to ensure flexibility and achieve their manufacturing goals.
As manufacturing engineers we have been taught and have implemented flexible manufacturing systems and hence the need for flexibility to achieve agility in today’s industry and its importance is not new to us. The buzz word for today’s manufacturer is “agility”. An agile manufacturer is one who is the fastest to the market, operates with the lowest total cost and has the greatest ability to “delight” its customers. FMS is simply one way that manufacturers are able to achieve this agility. If you are not Agile and hence not flexible, your competitiveness index as a manufacturer , nation or region will be adversely affected. A good example closer to home is the “dying” or “the dead” Zimbabwean Manufacturing Industry. The Zimbabwean industry lacked Capacity linked flexibility and could not thrive in the harsh economic hardships and global competition it found itself facing. The industry could not adjust its quality, production methods or manufacturing strategy to take head on the challenges which it was facing. The comfort zone of quasi-monopolistic dominion was quickly swept away by the dawning reality of an advanced global market with lower unit costs and better quality. Manufacturers found themselves selling at a loss as price determination was now market driven and manufacturers were now price takers. The result is well known, Zimbabwe deindustrialised.
Zimbabwe’s manufacturing competitiveness could have been different had the manufacturers been agile. The time is now for Zimbabwean industrialist to create agile manufacturing systems if they have any hopes of being competitive against their neighbors South Africa.
Some people may argue that the social, economic and political climate in Zimbabwe was a factor for the demise of the manufacturing sector. However I believe we can not blame Robert Mugabe on this. It is the manufacturing philosophy and strategy of a company or industry sector that drives it. In Zimbabwe’s case we found ourselves wanting of manufacturing leaders who could stir the ship in extreme circumstances. It is not too late for manufacturing experts to configure their companies to world class standards and improve the country’s economy.
For more information on the strategies available you can read the referred article on this link..