FOLLOWING management trends in the United States and Europe,
South African companies have been so busy unbundling,
downsizing, re-engineering and restructuring that they've
forgotten the real reason they're in business.
This is to find out what customers want and to give it to
them where, when and how they want it at a price they can
Nobody knows this better than foreign business people
sitting with the bitter fruits of over-production in saturated
domestic markets. To them, the elimination of sanctions, the
fall of punitive import tariffs and a receptive and growing
market, make South Africa appear to be the answer to a prayer.
So, as you trim your overheads to cut operating costs and
pare your staff complement by eliminating levels in your
corporate hierarchy, don't go overboard. Slimming without
respite can lead to anorexia, a potentially fatal condition.
Anorexic companies will be too weak to defend themselves. It takes energy
and resources always to give customers the right product at the right time
in the right place at the right price. It takes even more energy and
resources to top up the package with World Class Customer Service.
Product, time, place, price and World Class Customer Service form a
combination that's difficult to beat. Many foreign-based raiders will
quickly retreat when they come up against this sort of defence strategy.
There is, of course, another effective defence strategy.
Carry the fight into your enemy's territory. Threaten his market share. But
that's another book.