A doctor complained about a courier service because over a period of time, he received four parcels (of another doctor with same surname) and one of his own parcels got to the other doctor. He blamed it mainly on the courier company's staff and partly on his own for acknowledging receipt without ensuring that they were the correct recipient as stated.
To ensure accountability as well as to cover themselves from any future claims, he instructed his staff to insist on a memo from the courier company for acknowledgement of receipt of a parcel when their staff come for it. To his surprise and annoyance, the guy said it was his company's policy that it was unnecessary for such a procedure! But Dr. insisted and he had to come back another day before he could get back the parcel.
I read in The Star days ago, a letter from a reader complaining about the monorail stoppage which was not announced to the passengers as well as those waiting to board the train at the station. It was the most basic thing to do under the circumstances, yet the company's staff failed miserably. He even noticed fire brigade stopping at a wrong station which he presumed to be due to the poor communication. He attributed the problems to poor work culture.
Last new year's eve, I happened to be alone. I decided to take a walk to town, looking for dinner. I walked past restaurants opened for business, while some other businesses were closed for the day as usual. It was a long time since I had pizza in BG and I decided to have one at Pizza Hut. I looked at the menu and chose the most basic for one person which came with a cold drink. This outlet is known for its good business in supplying to students in nearby Petronas University. It took a while for someone to take my order and longer than usual for the pizza. But till today, I cannot understand why no order slip was given to me. When I asked a waitress, she said receipt will be given when I make payment at the cash counter. I found it odd and when I paid in cash, no receipt was given. Even though this could be an isolated case (still improper for internal control purposes), I could not help thinking if some small orders were deliberately left out of the system!
This reminds me of a close friend who told me about his bus ride just before the bus company was officially taken over by his company. He found the attendant not giving out tickets for all passengers. He had a word with the driver without revealing his assignment, but gave enough information for him to know that he knows all about the company. Word got round about the take-over and the takings doubled as a result of less thefts by attendants!
Business may appear to be very good but what is important is the bottomline. Unless there is proper control at every stage, a business can lose money with the boss wondering why. Food business depends on correct portion sizes. Unintentional (ignorance) or deliberate (sabotage by staff) serving of bigger portions and extras means costs exceeding sale proceeds. A lone sales assistant not issuing a receipt to a customer buying a pair of shoes in a hurry (happened to me) means she could have pocketed the money. Cashiers at car parks using the old system could easily pocket fees of drivers who did not wait for their receipts. I have actually found one pretending to activate the register with the sound of a 'ting' but had to do it again when I asked for a receipt! The list is endless. Some new to running a business, found to their disappointment that it is not what they expected, as in getting rich from such ventures. Looking back, they could have avoided all the hassles and losses, had they knew it was not so simple.
Someone complained about generation Y's attitude at work. He said it is difficult to find anything which could motivate someone who has everything he needs: a house with all the utilities taken care of; some with servants taking care of housekeeping and food; a car provided with petrol allowance; and many other things paid for if only he asked. Do you think he could be motivated with an increment of a few hundred Ringgit?
Then there are those who stick to working hours and not willing to do any overtime. In the past, getting a chance to do overtime meant more money and opportunity to learn more. Then, bosses used to test an employee's honesty by deliberately leaving small sums around or checking small items which had been taken. But these days, nobody bothers about small sums and little gestures.
But I have observed how poor work culture has brought down what used to be great organizations. Franchised businesses rely on maintaining standards which the customers expect of them. If control is lax, then it is a matter of time before it loses its original appeal. The customers are now spoilt for choice with the increasing number of businesses offering all kinds of foods and services.
A poor work culture in the Police could have been one of the causes of the high rates of criminal activities. For example, turning a blind eye to a crime means less work. Even if a suspect is caught with stolen goods, it is easier to let him go (with personal benefit if offered a bribe) than to take him in to make a formal report, and later might have to ensure the case can stand up in court. It is not uncommon to hear of snatch robbery victims being told not to report so as not to increase the statistics. Now it seems the statistics could have been cooked up. To add insult to injury, our Home Minister revealed to our horror that crime prevention had never been Police's top priority until recently! Then we gathered that only a small percentage were directly involved in crime prevention. Instead of redirecting other sections to crime-prevention, he suggested using Mat Rempits! Sorry to say, Mat Rempits and their antics on public roads have a bad image among the public. With the increasing incidents of gangs of bikers attacking and robbing motorists and bikers involved in snatch robberies, how are we to tell the good from the bad?