Saturday, November 02, 2013

of SSDDs, rhinos and phyllostachys vivax...

I am still coping with my retirement oh well, I have actually retired mandatorily in 2010. But the 3 year extension by contract in a way, spoilt me haha. I am still springkleening my old documents to make way for some newer paraphernalia that I hadn't brought home from my office. A collection of no less than 15 years of service...hmmm my last employment and the longest. Its either I was too loyal or I was lazy to move on to another organization..hehehe. Same old wine in  a new bottle as some would say, or rearranging the same old furniture in the same old room, or SSDD as some might have it. Same Shit Different Day hahaha. 

As I was going through folder by folder, I came across a newsletter we did way back in March, 2003, when I was Chief Operating Officer (COO) of MRC Malaysia..whatever that means haha. And I thought it would be nice to have it here in my blog, for posterity, if you may, hehe. Here goes:

From the Chief Operating Officer...It has become fashionable to snicker about the foolish mass hallucination of the New Economy. Everyone so it seems, is making references  every now and then, to the dotcom bust. In the current brutal global economy, business pages continue to report and advise everyone to get back to basics. Some are of the view that as the economy become more interconnected, it is characterized by more structural change and less by cyclical change. And in this increasingly boundary less world, where companies, industries and the larger economy constitute one seamless system, continual exploration and adaptation is often a preferred strategy. From another perspective, the world's best performing companies are responding to the increasing pressure placed on them by employees, customers, shareholders, the media and other stakeholders. They realized that business success is no longer measured by the narrow parameters of the auditor's report. They know that their potential impact is huge. That business is not separate from the rest of society and they actively seek to balance their responsibilities in a way that brings mutual benefit to both business and society.

At MRC, we too are under increasing pressure placed on us by employees, shareholders and other stakeholders. Our fundamental mission will continue to be to reduce subjectivity in motor claims estimation. The consciousness of the need to ensure that vehicles damaged in a collision are safely put back on the road will also continue to be MRC's paramount social responsibility. These can only be achieved through concerted efforts by the industry players as a whole. To that end, I am pleased to report  that much progress had taken place. I like to place on record our utmost appreciation to the untiring support and direction of the Central Bank (BNM) insurance regulation team under the present leadership and PIAM's serving management committee for finally coming to terms and meeting us (MRC) halfway as a way forward for the motor insurance and automotive repair industry. We will continue to  build the replacement parts database and to ensure that it is also timely and updated.

There were times my team and I felt like rhinos on a really hot savannah grassland, charging all over the place trying to put out little bush fires. However, I must also put on record, our sincere terima kasih for the very encouraging support from other stakeholders throughout the value and supply chain. MRC-certified front-end estimating system software houses, vehicle manufacturers,,repairers/bodyshops and adjusters and especially those who were part of the initial pilot program, who had enabled MRC to see light and the end of the tunnel. However, as the saying goes, we are not 'out of the woods' yet!

The sudden upsurge in the usage of our centralized database for repair estimation reminds me of a type of timber bamboo with the scientific name phyllostachys vivax. You plant the bamboo and in the first year it produces a one inch shoot. A year later the shoot is still only one-inch tall. You begin to worry. "Does it have enough sunshine? Has there been enough rain?" In the third year, the shoot is still only one-inch tall. The fourth year its the same! You wonder, did I buy a genetically deficient bamboo?" In the fifth year the bamboo grows 90% in just six weeks. The question is: did the timber bamboo take six weeks or five years to grow 90 feet? The answer is five years.

Most of the time was spent laying the root system that would support the stumping growth. I would like to think if at all, this parable (that I stumbled upon while reading 'The learning Paradox', Jim Harris, 2001) had any similarity with our organization, but I hasten to add that we have had other problems as well like putting out little fires here and there as I have mentioned earlier. But I think in our minds, we were quite focused on winning the war and was quite prepared to lose a few battles here and there without compromising our efforts at bridging the local motor vehicle repair industry! A win-win-win situation was always preferred. I believe this approach should continue to be our guiding light.

I'd like to conclude by sharing with you, Richard Dawking's classic book "The selfish Gene" which contends that species are only important as survival mechanisms for their genes. If a chicken is just one egg's way of making another egg, then, following Dawking's argument, one might say that a company is just an idea's way of making another idea. In the fourth wave learning economy, its not the company that's important, it's the people and the ideas in it that must go forward and reproduce."

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