Wednesday, September 21, 2011

Who Is Your Customer?

Who is your customer? I still remember this question asked by the consultant who coached us to obtain the ISO 9001 certification in 1998.  

Our staff knew the customers well enough to blurt out their names effortlessly. The consultant then stopped and questioned one staff, asking him whether his daily duty was to serve the customers directly, or some other immediate “customers” within our own company? After one round of the same question, our staff finally found that indeed, they had “customers” within the company as well. Even the sales and technical staff that are constantly in contact with our regular customers have other “customers” that serve their priority list within our organization.

Definition of Customer

So, who IS your customer? Eventually, the answer points to your superior within your department, or the peer that you report to in the next department. Anyone who demands something from you is your “customer”. Anyone who has some expectations of your work is your “customer”. The job you’ve just completed and handed over to the next guy - this next guy is your “customer”.

You have to ensure that the quality of your job consistently meets your "customer’s" requirements. I like this definition of CUSTOMER in a wider context. We often hear companies claim to deliver quality products that meet customer satisfaction as their mission statement, but more often than not, we see finger-pointing flying around, with blame for other departments or co-workers for some fault or the other. If the internal “customer” satisfaction couldn’t be achieved within a company, the mission statement is just another blurt-out slogan without any substance.

When our ISO 9001 certificate expired in 2007, I decided to forgo renewing it as the changes and growth in our internal quality system is occurring way too fast to be picked up by the documentation requirement of the ISO 9001. In my view, it wasn’t a big deal to acquire the certification - our blood constantly flows strong with quality management regardless.

This Monday, a group of officers under the Ministry of International Trade and Industry of Malaysia came to our office to conduct an audit-visit, as part of their procedures for the Brand Excellence Award short-listing companies. After the factory tour, one officer observed and mentioned that we should have implemented the 5S methodology. My response to her was that as of now we don’t specify, we have learned and adopted all kinds of good practices that benefit the brand.

With Matrade Brand Excellence Award audit committee 

And that’s the concept of Jeet Kune Do that I have written about in my previous blogpost , ….. style without style, moving fluidly instead of following rigid styles and patterns.

Yes, learn how to satisfy your other “customers” within the company; only then will you achieve the real satisfaction for your customers in a broader perspective.

by Teh Hon Seng, CEO, FingerTec HQ

Tuesday, September 6, 2011

Jeet Kune Do

I have re-acquainted Bruce Lee (1940-1973) from an iconic fighting Kung Fu star to a more complex personality. What was new for me was, he studied philosophy in university, and had a book collection of around 2500 pieces, which was apparently more than mine. He authored 3 books to introduce martial arts. He definitely had the brains AND brawns, ironic to the image we normally know and accept for a Kung Fu star.

My sudden interest in reading his biography was aroused by the new book entitled, “Political Jeet Kune Do”, written by my friend, Dr. Hew Kuan Yau, who has committed himself in the opposition political movements, and is also known as a huge fan of Bruce. 

Political Jeet Kune Do, a book written by Dr Hew

Jeet Kune Do is a hybrid martial arts system and life philosophy founded by Bruce Lee, with direct, non-classical and straightforward movements. Tapping on the cultural symbols that are broadly recognized, and the concept of Jeet Kune Do believes in minimal movements with maximum effects - Dr Hew has definitely picked up a good weapon to attack his political opponents.

And, he is quite successful in this area. A few smartly re-edited and re-dubbed excerpts from Bruce Lee's films that ingeniously associated with some hot political issues have showed a high view rate and plenty of thumbs-up comments on YouTube. Some of his strategies have proven effective in the Sarawak State Election in April, as the head of Publicity Bureau, he had helped his political party make the biggest breakthrough gains in constituencies in history.

A re-dubbed excerpt for Bruce Lee's film 

Dr. Hew, apart from an avid martial arts lover is also a cartoonist, an eloquent speaker and an author for several comics and commentary books. Before he pursued his Master’s Degree in History and Doctorate in Philosophy studies in Guangzhou and Hong Kong, we had the opportunity to co-author and published a comic cum critic book. While in Hong Kong, he led the fan club initiating a project to erect a Bruce Lee statute with a classic pose, at Avenue of Stars, near the waterfront at Tsim Sha Tsui in 2005, which has now become one of the major attractions for tourists to admire the legendary Kung Fu star and definitely a photo op spot.

Unlike most of the traditional Chinese martial arts that highlight specific moves and methods, Jeet Kune Do is not fixed or patterned; it was named for the concept of interception, and it is more like a philosophy and a guiding thought. The techniques of kicking, punching, trapping or grappling are smoothly flowing in whenever they are needed in a fight. Bruce Lee believed that combat was unpredictable and swift, a good martial artist should "be like water", a style without style, moving fluidly instead of following rigid styles and patterns.

Bruce Lee statute with a classical pose in Hong Kong  

One of Bruce Lee famous quotes, I have not invented a "new style," composite, modified or otherwise that is set within distinct form as apart from "this" method or "that" method. On the contrary, I hope to free my followers from clinging to styles, patterns, or molds. Remember that Jeet Kune Do is merely a name used, a mirror in which to see "ourselves". . . Jeet Kune Do is not an organized institution that one can be a member of. Either you understand or you don't, and that is that. There is no mystery about my style. My movements are simple, direct and non-classical. The extraordinary part of it lies in its simplicity. Every movement in Jeet Kune-Do is being so of itself. There is nothing artificial about it. I always believe that the easy way is the right way. Jeet Kune-Do is simply the direct expression of one's feelings with the minimum of movements and energy. The closer to the true way of Kung Fu, the less wastage of expression there is. Finally, a Jeet Kune Do man who says Jeet Kune Do is exclusively Jeet Kune Do is simply not with it. He is still hung up on his self-closing resistance, in this case anchored down to reactionary pattern, and naturally is still bound by another modified pattern and can move within its limits. He has not digested the simple fact that truth exists outside all molds; pattern and awareness is never exclusive. Again let me remind you Jeet Kune Do is just a name used, a boat to get one across, and once across it is to be discarded and not to be carried on one's back.

The easy way is the right way. Ah, how it coincides with FingerTec philosophical guidance, we make things easy.

Be it political arena or commercial world, the environments are constantly and rapidly changing, reacting to the changes shouldn't rely on some rigid methods, and it should be like water, move fluidly within some external constraints, more importantly, maintained a "fighting" spirit. Dr. Hew applies Jeet Kune Do to achieve his political ideal; in fact, the concept is suited to companies that want to expand their brand markets too.

by Teh Hon Seng, CEO, FingerTec HQ