19-20/2016 Leave the light on
Save time and avoid standstills – these principles are amongst the most important precepts underlying efficiency, also in the logistics field. It is these ways of wasting time that result in avoidable emissions, idle technology and underutilised employees. Any attempt to optimise processes has to address these issues.
When you’re offering a service, however, the maxim can become slightly diluted, as has frequently been observed in practice. A client sometimes considers the uneconomical use of a resource to be a special service that is well worth its while. Thus a good customer will definitely appreciate the fact that a service provider disregards the paired flow of goods in a particular trade just this once, for example, or does not wait for a partly-loaded truck to be filled, if his specific delivery – unplanned but urgent – is carried out immediately. Similarly, we won’t hesitate to deploy the driver the client wants, the special vehicle he needs, or strive for the extraordinary delivery time that he has asked for – even if we’d really like to put this specific resource to good use elsewhere, and might possibly have used it more efficiently to boot. We’ll gladly seize this opportunity to prove our service above and beyond the call of duty – and simultaneously hope that we’ll be suitably rewarded when the next tender for contracts is on the table. We also hope that we’ll be considered for the job independently of the price under scrutiny or the objective criteria at hand – for haven’t we proved that we were at the client’s call when he urgently needed us?
The principle of efficiency is best inverted, however, when dealing with our near ones and dear ones. No one has ever won any brownie points with the most economical present – quite the opposite! The cheapest ring is definitely not always the most appropriate one.
It frequently takes a great effort to convince grandchildren of the need to pay regular visits to their old grandpa. They see better choices of how to spend a sunny weekend, but have to learn that there are other rules governing our behaviour too.
In the end the two principles come full circle here. The unconditional cohesion in a family, for example, is not conditioned by genetics, after all, but is rather the result of many – sometimes small – acts of faith. Such efforts make great sense – even if they don’t comply with the principle of efficiency. So – why not leave the light on for your partner again one of these nights...