What Grace Fu and political outfits can learn from world class car manufacturers

May 13, 2015

The dry season is slowly and surely creeping in. According to the weather boffins, it’s going to be one of those epic scorchers. I hope they are wrong. As heat and cars don’t go down very well together.

Usually before the onset of the dry season – I conduct a a thorough check on my four by four to see whether anything needs fixing. When things fail in the field, it’s no joke, hence the aircraft preventive maintenance benchmark.

Normally, customers are barred from the service area. But I am not an ordinary customer.

As during my half yearly auto check up. It’s not uncommon for the automobile manufacturers to fly in their experts to interrogate people like me who usually ply the fields on what we would like to see in the next range of 4X4. They care. It’s hardly optional. Because people like me are as real as it gets when it comes to pushing a car beyond it’s engineering envelop – we are like test pilots.

When I tell them this or that needs to repositioned. Or this panier needs to be designed like so along with why and share with them my field experience – 9 out 10, it gets communicated back to the engineering team in Japan and it’s incorporated in the new roll out.

I guess one reason why world class car manufacturers CARE and LISTEN is simply because they can’t afford not to CARE and LISTEN, if they are genuinely seriously about the whole business of staying ahead of their competitors. As that remains the only way for them to continue manufacturing even better products that people are willing to vote for with their wallets.

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‘If you are minister and you say – you don’t care about what others say and think about Singapore. Then my advice to you is go grab your shower cap and sing your own national athem in your jamban and while you are at it, hang out your towel as your flag and declare it as your sovereign state. Better still declare your living room a protectorate and your kitchen the 5th precinct of your own state.

To me that is not only a reckless attitude, but it borders on gross dereliction of duty. A total failure to scale correctly what is really at stake along with wider rammifications of such a corrosive attitude – as I can argue the world is not what it used to be. Attitudes have changed. So has the whole idea of spatial perspective along with how goods and services are now transacted. Granted. The vast majority of people in the world may only think about democracy and freedom as an abstraction. They don’t mind squishing ants and still talk about saving people and planet – but increasingly, the world citizen is becoming more assured of his point of view and contrary to what many may insist, they are not entirely powerless. Neither do they lack the means to prosecute on their beliefs.

For instance if that plushy Persian rug in their living room comes at the cost of poor Abdul being chained to a loom for 16 hours as his eyeballs melt away somewhere in Pakistan – then consumers these days are just going to give it a miss – same goes for the illicit ivory or shark’s fin trade. My point is they have the power to hit back! And never underestimate the cumulative power of the world citizen when he decides to give you the cold shoulder.

This brings into focus the need to cohere with standard norms which are commonly held in the international community.

In my opinion if a political outfit these days doesn’t have the maturity or worst still believes that it can go against the moral and ethical grain of the international community – then, it’s only a matter of time before they will be perceived as unreasonable and unsound.

I suspect the only reason why politicians in Singapore feel they can say ‘I don’t care what others think about us’ so casaully is simply because they have never had the breadth of business experiential knowledge to acquaint themselves with the make and break power of the world consumer. Along with how attitudes, perception and good will can feature in the decision making process to buy or not – to put it another way, politicians have never had to run their own enterprise where they have to serenade the world consumer.

If they did so, then they would gain a valuable observation that the customer is king!

Why do you think every December you will see me cuddling orang utans, feeding sugarcane to baby elephants and serving all these pesky NGO’s organic food.

Think about it!

So once again if as a minister you don’t care about what others think about Singapore – then take that shitty attitude and go run an enterprise where you have to pay out of pocket for all the paper clips and A4 paper and let’s see how far you can go with that pariah dog attitude.

I dare you!’

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