Wednesday, February 9, 2011

Greener Campaign

I was not a fan of the term “Going Green” when we decided to reduce the use of papers in our operation. I personally felt that we were trying to wear too big a hat but actually doing too little to preserve the environment. I also observed that too many companies loosely use the term “Going Green” as their marketing campaign without having real substance to the environment; this fact bothered me too.

Truly love green?

But when we finally decided to stop printing manuals, I didn’t stop my COO, Ms Norana from using the term. I said yes to "Going Green" with some hesitation. My submission was due to the following reasons:

Firstly, I always thought life without a larger meaning is a waste. The same goes to activities. Activities can only be lifted to the height of a campaign by some underlying values or given meanings. Larger meaning is always associated with larger responsibility, and I thought, if our staff are willing to bear a larger responsibility, I shouldn’t discourage them.

Secondly, we did not simply dump everything into a DVD without any concern of its presentation to our clients. Users would find our content in this single DVD much more comprehensive than what they can hope for in a single user manual. All in all, it took the Brand Building Department three months to complete the task.

Thirdly, once we want to upgrade an activity into a campaign level, the "Going Green" concept should also be enlarged to a wider scope, not just confined to user manuals and boxes; hence, it will slowly be extended to products and system process in the company level, in order to cultivate the lifestyle in one’s own private life. You have to lead by example; that’s the way I count it.

Going Digital

Fourthly, “Going Green” for user manual means “Going Digital”. Besides the digital format in DVDs and in websites, we should also think of extending it into an eBook format too, which can be accessible by an iPad, a Kindle reader or any tablets that are using Android (Honeycomb). That should be our next step.

But irrespective of all the above reasons, when Ms Nisha, our copywriter forwarded me the draft announcement to be printed on the inlay of the DVD cover, I needed to confess that, “Years ago, we began this discussion on "Going Green", but eventually dropped the idea for we thought that without a printed user-manual in hand, we may cause some difficulty among our users. But when eBook/digital books were reported outsold hardcover books in the year 2010, this idea of Going Green quickly rekindled.”

And the money we save from this Going Green campaign would definitely be used to enhance and speed up some of our FingerTec Practical Branding process which I’m very much looking forward to!

by Teh Hon Seng, CEO, FingerTec HQ

Monday, February 7, 2011

Immeasurable Growth

(This article is rewritten based on my speech at the FingerTec Annual Dinner, which was held on 28th January 2011)

FingerTec achieved a 30% growth rate last year. And, growth is the keyword for which I would like to share with you here.

We like to measure growth. The measurable growth is normally compressed to become a figure or a rate. For example, in measuring physical growth of children, we would measure how many cm they grew taller, or how many kilos they grew heavier each year. The growth rate of a company is always established by referring to the revenue you make in a year corresponding to the previous year, and of course in the form of money.

But this is not the growth that I want to share, instead I would like to talk about the immeasurable growth, the abstract growth or biology growth or system growth that can’t be measured by any ruler or scale or any measurement instrument. Just like we grow older every year, which can be measured by age, but do we grow wiser as well? Whether or not you become any smarter when you grow older is hard to measure.

Are we grow wiser when we grow older?

I have read a book Obliquity written by John Kay, in which he promotes a concept of why the goals are best achieved indirectly. He says, paradoxically as it may sound, many goals are more likely to be achieved when pursued indirectly: the most profitable companies are not the most aggressive in chasing profit, and the wealthiest men and women are not the most materialistic, and the happiest people do not pursue happiness. This is the concept of ‘obliquity’, if I translate it to fit into my topic, it means the measurable growth should be best pursued through the immeasurable growth.

In a company, besides the measurable growth, there are a lot more immeasurable growths people tend to overlook. And I treat these growths as more important than the measurable growth like sales revenue or net profit. Because, the money you made could easily be utilized, the immeasurable growth is the added value that’s always going to stay to create a brighter future.

Without these immeasurable growths, I don’t think a company can sustain future measurable business growth.

What are those immeasurable growths that I’m hoping for in this year for FingerTec? Or more specifically, a goal for each department to achieve.

I had a growth list with me.

For Sales & Marketing Department, growth means they should add more marketing substance in their sales approach.

For Logistics and QC Department, growth means they have to upgrade their discipline to a military level in their day-to-day operation.

For R&D Department, growth means they should accelerate the maturity process for the two new products – Webster and TimeTec.

For Brand Building Department, growth means they should be more text-sensitive on top of being image-sensitive.

For Admin and Finance Department, growth means they should achieve the integration of our account and inventory system with the FingerTec support system to improve automation.

For Technical Support Department, growth means they should build a formidable admin & monitoring system into their support system.
Visionary companies or pure profit driven companies?

Jim Collins and Jerry Porras say in their best-selling title, Built to Last, “Visionary companies pursue a cluster of objectives, of which making money is only one – and not necessarily the primary one. Yes, they seek profits, but they’re equally guided by a core ideology – core values and sense of purpose beyond just making money. Yet paradoxically, the visionary companies make more money than the purely profit driven companies.”

To me, the measurable growth of FingerTec is just another evidence of our immeasurable growths were achieved all these years. And this year, it would be no difference too.

by Teh Hon Seng, CEO, FingerTec HQ