"Time is of the essence," is a clause that lawyers insert in contracts when the date of delivery plays a crucial role. In those cases, even one day of delay might determine that commitments have not been satisfactorily fulfilled.
Keep the money, I take the time
When heavy contractual penalties apply,
the whole undertaking could become a nightmare for the party who has
incurred the delay. The experience of 50 years of Japanese management
techniques only serves to confirm that speed has become a critical
success factor in all fields of human endeavour.
exchanging value, whether physical or psychological, is the fundamental
reason why people interact. In this sense, purchasing commercial
products and services is not that different from enjoying conversation
with friends or family. It all boils down to giving and receiving some
kind of value.
You can often deliver more value just by increasing the speed
Five decades ago, Japanese firms began to develop a
management style based on extreme cost-awareness. Their experimentation
with different techniques quickly led to the conclusion that the best
way to deliver maximum value was to increase the end-to-end speed of
processes. This principle applies equally to design, engineering,
factory organisation, and sales.
In the case of car
manufacturing, this approach has resulted in a relentless shortening of
delivery times. In Japan, for example, the period elapsed between the
order placed by a customer and the date of delivery of a new car
specially made for him is often under 20 days.
The constant drive
for improvement has led, at the same time, to progressively better
working conditions in that industry. The manpower required to
manufacture some vehicles has already fallen below 40 hours, which is
the standard weekly working time in most of Europe.
Velocity and frequency are redefining success
private lives, speed and frequency have also become part of the
definition of success. Wide-spread inexpensive Internet connections
determine in part how often we call up parents or relatives who live far
away. Low-cost airlines allow us to visit them more often. On-line
dating permits contemporary men and women to meet potential partners
outside their circle of acquaintances.
In our age, speed is taken
for granted in most products and services. Nobody has the time to wait.
In many fields, providers can no longer charge premium prices for
preferential attention. Immediate availability has become the first
criterion that might lead us to try out a new supplier. If you cannot
offer that, your company might not survive for long.
Should we be
reluctant to allow time-consciousness to drive our actions and choices?
In my view, we have reached a point where one seldom has the
alternative to do otherwise. In every business and profession, speed is
of the essence.
For more information about rational living and personal development, I refer you to my book The 10 Principles of Rational Living
[Image by Mike Johnston under Creative Commons Attribution License. See the license terms under http://creativecommons.org/licenses/by/3.0/us]