The Bad Business Club

They aren’t the most trusting couple in town, but as it turns out, they are the most dangerous. Over the past decade, medicine’s leading bodies have been obliged to adjust to the sobering reality that their place in the grand politics of the NHS has changed, and changed permanently. Margaret Thatcher’s abrupt exclusion of the profession from the policy making leading up to the 1991 reforms may have been offensive and uncomfortable, but it launched medicine on a political learning curve from which much has been gained. For the future, and with self regulation now a burgeoning issue, continuing political education is a requirement for all medical politicians interested in career advancement. On average, end-users lose 31 minutes per week due to poor sound quality on voice and video calls. Simple audio miscommunications result in costly extra work, reduced productivity, and serious cost implications for businesses.

Moving engineering offshore along with manufacturing is not a solution; it just accelerates the process. When companies do that, they give potential competitors not only finances and managerial expertise but also engineering skills. Offshore manufacturing is not, then, the only option available to companies under competitive siege.

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In their rush to save money, managers often lose sight of the high penalties of moving abroad. And by continually shifting manufacturing to the areas with the lowest labor costs, they are merely postponing the inevitable day of reckoning when they must confront the parts of the business that really need reform. To be sure, the Japanese in the United States enjoy some advantages over existing U.S. plants.

But managers should question the assumption that it is always right. Chances are, in their eagerness to save money on labor, many companies are giving up more than they bargained for, not the least of which is their future competitive position. Granted, companies can often save money on labor and materials by purchasing or manufacturing overseas, but other costs—some not so obvious—may well offset the gains. Offshore sourcing usually involves larger inventories, for example, and higher administrative costs. Parts made overseas are less likely to meet specifications, so quality costs may be higher. Factor in higher transportation expenses and tariffs, and don’t forget the cost of training foreign workers.

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