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A Modern Parable about the "Big 3"

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December 11, 2008 – Comments (11) | RELATED TICKERS: GM , F , TM

 

A Japanese company and an American company decided to
have a canoe race on the Missouri River . Both teams practiced long and
hard to reach their peak performance before the race.

On the big day, the Japanese won by a mile.

The Americans, very discouraged and depressed, decided to investigate
the reason for the crushing defeat. A management team made up of senior
management was formed to investigate and recommend appropriate action.

Their conclusion was the Japanese had 8 people rowing and 1 person
steering, while the American team had 8 people steering and 1 person
rowing.

Feeling a deeper study was in order, American management hired a
consulting company and paid them a large amount of money for a second
opinion.

They advised, of course, that too many people were steering the boat,
while not enough people were rowing.

Not sure of how to utilize that information, but wanting to prevent
another loss to the Japanese, the rowing team's management structure was
totally reorganized to 4 steering supervisors, 3 area steering
superintendents, and 1 assistant superintendent steering manager.

They also implemented a new performance system that would give the 1
person rowing the boat greater incentive to work harder. It was called
the 'Rowing Team Quality First Program,' with meetings, dinners, and
free pens for the rower There was discussion of getting new paddles,
canoes, and other equipment, extra vacation days for practices and bonuses.

The next year the Japanese won by two miles.

Humiliated, the American management laid off the rower for poor
performance, halted development of a new canoe, sold the paddles, and
canceled all capital investments for new equipment. The money saved was
distributed to the Senior Executives as bonuses and the next year's
racing team was outsourced to India.

Sadly . . . The End.

Deej

11 Comments – Post Your Own

#1) On December 11, 2008 at 11:10 AM, TDRH (99.66) wrote:

The US canoe was also very expensive and made of concrete. The single rower also to carry a large number of retired workers who were not able to row.   No matter how hard he worked or trained the deck was stacked against him.

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#2) On December 11, 2008 at 11:32 AM, viconquest (< 20) wrote:

haha, I wish the Big 3 execs would read stuff like this

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#3) On December 11, 2008 at 11:42 AM, GNUBEE (24.82) wrote:

Columbia1 had the same thoughts, A Modern Parable !!! Ford vs. Toyota

Yours has pics though :)

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#4) On December 11, 2008 at 11:43 AM, 4everlost (29.53) wrote:

I saw a slightly different version:

Not sure of how to utilize that information,  but wanting to prevent another loss to the Japanese, the rowing team’s management structure was totally reorganized to 4 steering supervisors,  2 area steering superintendents and 1 assistant superintendent steering manager.

 

They also implemented a new performance system that would give the 2 people rowing the boat greater incentive to work harder.  It was called the 'Rowing Team Quality First Program,' with meetings, dinners and free pens for the rowers.  There was discussion of getting new paddles, canoes and other equipment, extra vacation days for practices and bonuses.  The pension program was trimmed to equal the competitor's and some of the resultant savings were channeled into morale boosting programs and teamwork posters.

 The next year the Japanese won by two miles.

Humiliated, the American management laid-off one rower, halted development of a new canoe, sold all the paddles, and canceled all capital investments for new equipment.  The money saved was distributed to the Senior Executives as bonuses.

 

The next year, try as he might, the lone designated rower was unable to even finish the race (having no paddles,) so he was laid off for unacceptable performance, all canoe equipment was sold and the next year's racing team was out-sourced to India.

Sadly, this is not The End.

Ford has spent the last thirty years moving all its factories out of the US, claiming they can't make money paying American wages.

 

TOYOTA has spent the last thirty years building more than a dozen plants inside the US.  The last quarter's results:

 

TOYOTA makes $4 billion in profits while Ford racked up $9 billion in losses.

Ford folks are still scratching their heads, and collecting bonuses... and now want the Government to 'bail them out'.

 

IF THIS WEREN'T SO TRUE IT MIGHT BE FUNNY

 

 

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#5) On December 11, 2008 at 11:50 AM, HansHauge (32.57) wrote:

Deej, your truth is like a knife.

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#6) On December 11, 2008 at 1:21 PM, JTShideler (78.33) wrote:

I like this parable but disagree with PoliticalStray

1.  Businesses do not exist to provide jobs they exist to make money.

2.  The Camry that you buy here in the U.S is as American made as the one that is made in Detroit.  If you ever looked at the slip most of the car is made in Mexico and final assembly is done in the U.S.

3.  Just because a company is bankrupt does not mean all those jobs go away.  How many times has the airline industry gone bankrupt and they still keep flying.  (maybe a bad example since I think the airlines have gotten Federal help before)

I own a Ford Fusion and love it, so I don't by the line that American can not make great cars, however, a company has to be profitable first.  America is not France, we should not have to subsidize industries.  Bad businesses need to restructure and become profitable or go away.  Propping up a company with public dollars is not a longterm solution to their problems.

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#7) On December 11, 2008 at 11:00 PM, Option1307 (29.96) wrote:

Hilarious, yet awkard cause its so true and real.

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#8) On December 12, 2008 at 10:07 AM, Timh0rt0n (92.35) wrote:

The “Big Three” will never succeed. The reason is corporate culture and there inability to adapt. Car companies that are American or run in America or as good could be a good as any thing out of Japan or Germany. Just like our great American companies. The problem is companies like GM/Ford/Chrysler are from a “simpler era” with simpler demands and less competition. A car today requires hundreds of man our hours to design and build and the top down approach they used in the past just does not work. Toyota uses input from everyone involved in the design and manufacture or its products to improve its cars and this keeps the US car makers’ one step behind.

 

The bottom line is America needs New car companies with a New corporate culture. If Google or Apple starts making cars am sure selling American cars would no longer be a problem.

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#9) On December 16, 2008 at 1:43 AM, Alwaysgolong (< 20) wrote:

Sounds like the ten million dollar ink pen Nasa developed for zero gravity.

Russia used a pencil....

 

 

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#10) On December 18, 2008 at 10:52 AM, Timh0rt0n (92.35) wrote:

Well since i mentioned a computer company making a car I remembered this.

 

Microsoft Car

At a recent computer expo (COMDEX), Bill Gates reportedly compared the

computer industry with the auto industry and stated, "If GM had kept up with the technology like the computer industry has, we would all be driving $25.00 cars that got 1,000 miles to the gallon."

In response to Bill's comments, General Motors issued a press release stating, "If GM had developed technology like Microsoft, we would all be driving cars with the following characteristics:

1. For no reason whatsoever, your car would crash twice a day.

2. Every time they painted new lines on the road, you would have to buy a new car.

3. Occasionally your car would die on the freeway for no reason. You would have to pull ove r to the side of the road, close all of the windows, shut off the car, restart it, and reopen the windows before you could continue.

For some reason you would simply accept this.

4. Occasionally, executing a maneuver such as a left turn would cause your car to shut down and refuse to restart, in which case you would have to reinstall the engine.

5. Only one person at a time could use the car unless you bought "CarNT," but then you would have to buy more seats.

6. Macintosh would make a car that was powered by the sun, was reliable, five times as fast and twice as easy to drive -- but it would only run on five percent of the roads.

7. The oil, water temperature and alternator warning lights would all be replaced by a single "general protect ion fault" warning light.

8. The airbag system would ask, "Are you sure?" before deploying.

9. Occasionally, for no reason whatsoever, your car would lock you out and refuse to let you in until you simultaneously lifted the door handle, turned the key and grabbed hold of the antenna.

10. GM would require all car buyers to also purchase a deluxe set of Rand McNally Road maps (now a GM subsidiary), even though they neither need nor want them. Attempting to delete this option would immediately cause the car's performance to diminish by 50 percent or more. Moreover, GM would become a target for investigation by the Justice Department.

11. Every time GM introduced a new car, car buyers would have to learn to drive all over again because none of the controls would operate in the same manner as the old car.

12. You'd have to press the "start" button to turn the engine off.

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#11) On December 23, 2008 at 1:20 PM, guiron (23.12) wrote:

Japan is hurting, too.

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