He Who Adds Value Survives
The economy over the last several years has challenged all of us. Our personal lives and our businesses have been impacted. Without a doubt, many of the results have hurt people and organizations, and in some cases been devastating to them. With that being said, I happen to believe the effect of our economic environment is an extremely important natural occurrence….particularly for those of us that believe in free enterprise.
Throughout my formal education experiences, I remember considering the concept used in economics referred to as “utility.” I always thought it was an interesting term. It is defined as…”the ability of a good or service to satisfy one or more needs or wants of a consumer.” In other words…utility is the value added to the person or group of people that pay to own or consume it.
But we…the people…aren’t always rational or logical. Sometimes we get lazy and sometimes our priorities get messed up. When everything’s going well, we often fail to pay attention to the details, and don’t work hard enough to be efficient. We…individuals and companies…become arrogant. We believe that the successes of our past will necessarily translate into our future success. This perception and belief lacks humility and is focused on what’s good for ME, rather than what adds the most value to the entire system.
We find ourselves today dealing with the results of this arrogance. The failed businesses and the repossessed homes are the natural cleansing process of our own inefficiency. The laws of nature dictate that the strong survive…we aren’t more powerful or above those laws!
Many have asked me…why would you start a manufacturing business that is dependent on the commercial construction market now…are you crazy? I don’t think I’m crazy. I have certainly learned (the hard way) the value of humility over the last 5 years. And I have witnessed the eventual self destruction that arrogance brings. But I am confident that my cumulative experiences…my successes and my failures, put me and Orazen Extruded Polymers in a position to add significant and real value to our customers, our suppliers, and our employees. I also understand that whatever value OEP adds this year will be irrelevant next year. It takes constant effort and an open mind to new ideas to stay relevant over the long haul.
In the end, it’s the market that will determine our success and the utlity we create today, next year, and twenty years from now. And though I once struggled with it, I am now more than happy for the market to keep score!