In the flurry of manufacturing articles in January from mainstream media, I read the story of the electronics manufacturer who was whining about many things. I write about this in my February Automation World editorial which will be online shortly.

He said he didn’t move production to China because of low wages, but because of regulatory burden. Of course, the example he cited was not all that convincing.

But let’s do a root cause analysis of the “regulatory burden.” I just picked up a copy of Gary Hamel’s latest book, “What Matters Now.” He organizes this book around some core ideas–the first of which is Values. He states, “As trust [of people in business leaders] has waned, the regulatory burden on business has grown. Reversing these trends will require nothing less than a moral renaissance in business.”

Some business people are immoral. No doubt. I’ve met some, bet you have, too. Some are amoral–they just don’t care. Most are expedient–they do whatever is easy. I’ve been in too many meetings in my career and heard too many of these attitudes expressed. “It’s too hard to figure out how to dispose of this waste. Let’s just dump it.” Or many other examples.

An Apple executive thought it was fantastic of the Chinese that Jobs could make a last-second change in a component of the iPhone and that Foxconn could wake up 8,000 people in the middle of the night, give them a biscuit and a cup of tea, and send them to the shop for a 12-hour shift. What did that old poster say, “Failure to plan on your part does not constitute an emergency on mine.” That attitude reeks of arrogance and a totally uncaring feeling toward fellow human beings. Sounds like slave labor. With those attitudes, no wonder there is so much distrust and even hatred toward business managers.

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