I have a friend who works for a big company. Big is an understatement. It is a global, classic Fortune 500 Company. One whose presence or streamlining has made or broken towns.
My friend works in the supply chain on a particular type of product line (which I can't disclose without disclosing the specific company). Many of the customers/clients for this specific product line are Fortune 500 themselves. We are talking products with six-figure price tags.
My friend's job is basically to fix orders that were messed up by an over-eager sales person, messed up by a last minute change by a customer, need tweaking to standard packages, related issues or a combination of similar factors. (We won't even get into the messes that "out-sourced" staff make.) My friend is a liaison between the sales person and the manufacturing plant. I'm not sure what percentage of orders go through smoothly versus what percentage needs some assistance from my friend's group, but my friend is keep very busy. Furthermore, there are only two full-time and one part-time person in my friend's group, which makes things interesting when someone is on vacation.
Now to look at the what appears to be the new (past decade?) corporate paradigm - MBAs are valued over experience. My friend has experience. A lot of it in many areas of the company. My friend's supervisor is a wet behind the ears MBA with only a handful of years with the company. The MBA has no idea what my friend's group does. He has no idea what is involved in doing my friend's job. Because he doesn't understand, he under values, doesn't account for the specific demands of my friend's work, and asks for my friend to write progress reports to contain information not readily provided to my friend. The MBA also makes it perfectly clear that he is in competition with his colleagues and that he expects his staff, with no promise of any sort of reward, to make him look good.
If the three people doing what my friend does were to all walk out tomorrow, the MBA manager would be screwed. The orders that need special attention would sit there and some very large companies would be pissed.
My question is: Is that any way to run a business? Shouldn't a supervisor have the most basic understanding of what his/her assigned staff do? Shouldn't all of management more concerned about helping the company stay competitive than how he or she looks compared to his or her colleagues? We are in big trouble in this country. CEOs get obscene salaries and/or bonuses. Management is more concerned with playing with numbers for the appearance of making money in this quarter then they are in long-term planning for bigger profits a year or two from now.
I'm not sure what they are teaching future MBAs in business schools these days, but it doesn't seem to be what worked for this country during its hey-day. It doesn't matter what theoretical business model someone applies, unless they know the product, they don't know the company. If they don't know the company, how can they possibly know what are good choices for the company.