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Tuesday, 17 September 2019
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Publications, Blog

Robust, flexible, cheap – but: what is satisfactory?

Thursday, 8 November 2012

Our whole economic system is based on development. And the target is always: improving everything. That’s our mantra.

Improvement means that economic data show a bigger plus at the end of the year. From the technical perspective it means the improvement of standards;  coatings for example should longer withstand corrosion, they should be robust like diamonds or, instead, become even more flexible. This can lead to higher incentives, extra dividend payouts or higher share prices, which makes us feel successful.

Proposing improvements doesn’t necessarly lead to a positive development

It seems to be insane that companies introduce improvement suggestion programmes, thereby creating a duty that everybody has to propose improvements . Departments have to show a minimum number of suggestions in this system which I doubt leads to real improvements. I think that even really good suggestions get lost in the amount of papers in this programme.

Those who desire too much have to live with disappointments

The exchange with customers is always a kind of suggestion programme, too. Everybody expects an improvement. At the beginning of a product introduction the customer wants to get the special, all-in-one-coating for all purposes. Something like a long-lasting anticorrosive super-flexible coating. During the talk both parts, customer and supplier, make concessions, thinking about what is really necessary and what might be a good thing to work on to have it realised.
My experience was that this scenery was quite often achieved in technical talks. Everybody wanted to get the best, but one party was also able to understand the other.
Sad but true, but where only figures count, this understanding and the satisfaction with less than desired before gets lost. Although technology is one of the foundations for the figures.
And at the end: figures are what our economy is looking for – satisfaction is not included.

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