Jamie folded her arms across her chest. The mood in the meeting room was becoming thick with tension, “We have been tolerating this immature behavior for some time now”.
“I totally agree. I think we can use this incident as an opportunity to make the change,” replied Terence. Already feeling a trail of sweat trickling down the back of his head, he continued, “I do see your point but it’s not like we can control our customers”.
All this is good finding but can we go on with the training? It’s almost 5pm…
“Yes, we don’t control the customers but we can teach them, educate them and share with them the problems we face when they do not co-operate with us,” interjected Lynn who suddenly became animated with life.
Suddenly Carrie felt the need to cut in as well, “It is so ridiculous when we have to reject back the orders just because their order is short of 1 or 2 pieces”.
Terence’s hands were both on the table now, “I see your point but who are we to educate our customers, we cannot just tell them what to do”. He chanced a glancing look to his side at Amber and continued, “Besides, we need to also try to understand their ordering system. They consolidate the total quantity from all outlets into one single order and more often than not, these numbers are not round figures and they do not have a system or program to round up the numbers”.
Great! This is going to take longer than expected. I thought this was supposed to be a training, how did it become a discussion now? When will this end?
“But can’t you tell them that for us, we have a minimum order quantity and everytime the order is short of 1 or 2 pieces, it gets rejected and this affects our customer service”, added Michelle with a scoff.
“It’s true you know, Terence. We are talking about our KPIs here. This is something that can be easily controlled and solved,” uttered Erica in the most innocent manner.
At this point, Terence was hoping that Amber would add a few words here and there to support him. Isn’t she part of his team anyway? But to his dismay, she continued to sit silently beside him.
“But I don’t see why we can’t solve the problem from our end. We can easily manipulate the orders upon receiving to round up to the nearest number as well”, retorted Terence.
Guys, guys! Stop it please, it’s past 5pm now and we are still going nowhere with this. I think I have to take this into my own hands. Should I intervene? Use subtlety? How do I make this end?
Jamie began again and this time with less aggressiveness in her tone, “We can manage it on our end but it is too much unnecessary work”.
“Non-value added as well”, said Lynn.
“Imagine you have to manually edit the orders line by line in the system. How many orders we have in one day from this customer?” queried Michelle.
“About 20 orders for one region…” declared Nina.
“So that is about 100 orders in total!” stated Jamie.
“That is why it’s so much work. Daily, do you want to key in 100 data points?” challenged Rachel.
That’s it. I know what to do now. I’ll just throw them off in a different direction that will lead to the conclusion I want. I can’t take this anymore. This will work.
“I guess that is a lot of work,” Terence conceded.
I saw my chance and started, “I think this is a good discussion. This is definitely an opportunity we can explore for both sides. We need to solve this, so will we be organizing a separate meeting for this?”
Immediately, everyone stopped the discussion and realized the time is past due and we have severely moved off topic. “Let’s follow up with this another time, we need to get on with the training first”, announced Jamie.
Ahh, the power of subtlety and sincerity!
The rest was history. How simple it was. Sometimes it is in front of us but we missed it. Sometimes we must recognize a problem for what it is and act on it but do so with the right state of mind, the right resources, the right commitment and the right timing. If knowledge can create problems, it is not through ignorance that we can solve them.