Sunday, July 09, 2006

The key is PLANNING dammit

Firstly, allow me to apologize for cursing outright in the title.
I am a little frusfrated at what happened. Let me tell you about it.
As usual I was consolidating the monthly results of my company (or rather the company I am working with). And the first thing that I saw was Overtime went up 5 times the usual. "Hmm thats weird" I thought. I quickly make a check on our production volume and what awaits me is our production volume actually shrunk by 40-50%! That does not make any sense! I scrambled an analysis of Overtime by Dept and found that 90% came from Production!!!
Okay, let me get this straight - Our production volume went down by 40-50% but our Overtime increased by 500%? Hmm, there is only one possible explanation I thought - Machine Breakdown. That must be it - so I check the Repair and Maintenance Account and the Spare Parts Usage Account. Normal expenditure. No major expenses.
I rang the production manager's extension and enquired about this anomality. He told me some bullshit story about overtime incurred for briefings and meetings. I went up to meet him and show him the figures. Then, after some rallying of excuses, he finally told me the real reason - A lot of his staff went on their annual leave. That imbecile! He approved more than 50% of his workforce to go on their annual leave without planning on who would be operating the machines!!! A big hoo-hah then ensued but that is another story.
My point was simply this, Planning Dammit. If you were to know that by approving all those annual leave would leave your workforce decimated to huge overruns in overtime, why approve them in the first place? Plan your workforce's annual leave. Approve their carrying forward of annual leave instead of threatening to enfore the forfeiture of their annual leave. Yeah, we have another dumb policy of forfeiting any outstanding annual leave unless approved to carrying forward after a year.

I am currently also deeply involved in our Budgeting for 2007 to 2009. It appears at first glance we were using Zero Based Budgeting which basically means Justify all the expenses required. However, some heroes in certain departments merely uses Incremental Budgeting which is basically adding a certain rate or amount to previous year's figures. E.g. 2005 we spent 100K. 2006 we re expecting to spend 110K due to 10% increase in expenditure/inflation. So for 2007, just add another 10% making the expenses expected to incur to be 121K. No rocket science here. Yeah a darn simple way to budget. Problem is, how do we control the expenses then? How are we to improve our spending?
I do agree that to a certain extent, inflation plays a big part. But I do believe that we have our current inefficiencies which led to the current state of expenditure. Now if we were to merely increase the budget by a certain percentage then how the hell are we supposed to improve? We are actually condoning all our current inefficiencies!!!
The government agencies may do this, we as a commercial organisation in a cutthroat competition industry should never never be near this method of budgeting. All expenses MUST BE JUSTIFIED and be PLANNED in advance. Yeah, in this fast changing world, nothing is going to happen as planned. But if it does not, then I have no qualms throwing the variances out and justify the reasons why the particular occurence is not foreseen or budgeted.
Also, show me your supporting documents or your justifications. Do not simply add a 10% or even 5% for the matter of fact. How would you be able to control your actual expenses if you do not even know what you're budgeting for!???
Plan them, monitor the results, then we can talk about what action plans needed to be taken to improve.
Over and out.


Anonymous said...

Hi MaxForce,

Congratulations!. Nice blog. I came here by following your signature link on the Platinax Forum.

If you ever think of exporting anything from Malaysia to UK then I am your man.


Maxforce said...

Thanks Joel, I ll remember that. Is there anything in particular you're sourcing?
Actually I am thinking about importing from UK!! Motorola phones. But still in VERY early stages of market study.

Joel said...

I'm at present looking at sourcing electronic products such as portable TV and DVD that have Freeview capability. Just in case you are wondering what freeview is then visit

The UK’s TV broadcast system is changing to digital in a process called ‘digital switchover’. Compared to traditional TV, digital switchover will bring many exciting new ways to enjoy your TV such as, extra channels, improved quality of your TV picture, and new features including on-screen TV guides, true widescreen, interactivity and digital radio through your television.

Digital switchover process will be happenng between 2008 and 2012.

As for importing mobile phones from UK (or Europe) please be careful with whom you do business with. There is a big VAT fraud (referred to as 'carousel fraud') happening in that industry. Take a look at the link below:

Kind regards,


Maxforce said...

Thanks Joel for the advance warning. I shall remember that by heart.
I ll look around for the freeview portable devices though I must admit I am not too knowledgable in this area.