As so often happens with our project social cross postings they start out as a concept between Laura and myself. Somehow we have really come to enjoy one and others’ company. I think it’s the blogging/writing which is at the core of our relationship. Laura and I have come to respect each other for the knowledge that we hold on certain matters. So Laura and I come up with a concept and then we email poor Lyn and ask, “Hey do you want write a post about …” More often than not good natured Lyn is game.
Our topic on this post came largely from Laura. It was supoosed to be on biggest challenges facing HR, Wel I took it a little broader and made it about the thre biggest challenges in business today. Partner two Lyn Hoyt has another look at the subject too at the HR Bacon Hut.
Laura lives in the big business world as she works for a multi-national company. While I work for privately held company, that is regional to the mid-west. Lyn often times is speaking on behalf of herself as a consultant; drawing on some past HR experiences. I tell you all of this because our post today is on the three biggest things facing HR/business today. This will no doubt be three really unique prospectives.
As I said I come from a relatively small operations so my view are tempered by this. I don’t see the world so strategically as do some folks. I tend to be more of get the product out the door kind of guy, as opposed to contemplating our Companies employment need in 2013. I wish I wasn’t so much that way, but it is reality for me and many other folks in the 100 to 500 employee range. By now you have probably got the idea that my three biggest challenges are going to be a little less lofty than those of my blogging com padres.
Additionally bear in mind that my challenges are not native to the old HR world but too business in general. The three most important challenges we are facing today are PRICE, PRICE, PRICE and quality – in that order! So actually that would make quality the fourth most important thing. I am in the food business, where we process food products for the wholesale and grocery markets. Thanks to folks like Wal-Mart, Target and Home Depot, they have nearly driven the profit margin out of all things manufactured domestically. That would be why so much of what is sold in those stores comes from off-shore due to pricing considerations.
In the food business most goods move by truck. Trucks run on diesel fuel. You have seen how gas prices have been over the last couple of years. Diesel fuel prices are even more volital, making it nearly impossible to plan for or anticipate changes in cost. Most of our main ingredients are agricultural based commodities. These markets too rise and fall quickly, so you had better not get caught long or short on either end. Employees (myself included) want annual raises, retirement and to not go backwards on health insurance benefits. And then our customers are looking for things like rebates, promotional allowances, and growth incentive programs.
Yeah it is tough. So anyone who dares to manufacture in this country is operating on razor-thin margins, hoping the staff doesn’t mess anything up, for if they do they can take the entire margin out of ones days worth of production, and in-fact turn it into a loss.
Oh and I didn’t mention the other wolves at the door, or waiting just outside: OSHA, FDA, US DOT, EPA, IRS just to name a few. Yeah if you don’t play by their rules they are ready to pounce on you too.
So let’s review the three most important issues facing my organization in business are price, price, price and quality. Stay tuned in a future post where I will discuss how manufacturers are forced to participate in reverse auctions to sell thier goods.
Thanks UCEDE for the photo.