Building Quality Organisations: Sri Sathya Sai Perspective

There has to be balance of knowledge. What does balance of knowledge mean? The demand for the products in the market may fall because of two reasons: decline in product quality and over production. When one produces more, one cannot sell it in the market unless some value addition is there. When quantity of production is more, unit price will have to be reduced so that the overall sales will go up. This would result in increased revenues for the organisation. Likewise even the cost per unit will also come down because of increased demand and economies of scale. Organisations should neither over produce nor under produce. This is referred to as balance of knowledge. 

How is this balance maintained? Managers want to get a good name, earn a high salary and cut down quality. This amounts to ‘killing’ (misuse) of knowledge. Instead, if managers put their knowledge into practice for beneficial outcomes, then knowledge would be converted into ‘skill’. Should managers ‘kill’ or ‘skill’ knowledge?  When one kills knowledge, balance is lost. Insight or intuitive abilities will be lost if one focuses one’s senses towards the phenomenal world outside. Everything is a matter of attitude when viewed from a higher altitude (perspective). This will be known and understood only through personal experience. When it comes to issues of quality, managers should be unyielding. Quality comes as a result of positive attitude. 

Suppose there is a chief engineer and a junior engineer of a lower rank and designation in a construction company. What is the difference between the two of them? An ordinary engineer constructs a building with INR 30 lakhs but the chief engineer takes INR 40 lakhs for the same. People think that it costs INR 40 lakhs because he is a chief engineer. One should bother about the quality of construction of the building and not the designation of the engineer. What should the engineer do to reduce the expenses? The building should have a long life, should be convenient for the purpose meant and should also be moderately priced. One who ensures all the three would deserve to be appointed as a chief engineer. When the expenditure is too low, the life span would also be short and the building may be unsafe owing to the inferior quality of construction. How can such a person with doubtful credentials be a chief engineer? So it is the responsibility of engineers to make sturdy structures providing all facilities and amenities at moderate costs and charges. 

Likewise, in business also, we require quality production, quality raw materials, quality workers and quality contractors to ensure overall quality. One should first consider the quality of raw materials used in the production process. After that, one should see to it that there is no wastage of raw materials. If the quality of raw materials is not up to the expected standards, it may lead to lot of wastage later. There should be quality everywhere. For example, there is a mill where threads are made of cotton. This requires humidity in the climate to maintain wetness in the thread. If the threads are not wet enough, they cannot be used. In dry weather, threads become weak and break. Despite its proximity to Ooty (a hill station in the state of Tamil Nadu in South India), the climate of Coimbatore (a major centre for textile manufacturing in India) is very hot. Therefore, they keep coolers in the factory in order to guarantee the wetness of the threads. Product quality can be improved by creating certain additional facilities even if it means extra expenditure. 
Textile Mills in Coimbatore
Educated youth should be aware of the importance of inner quality and should pursue good quality processes and initiatives with a steady and single-pointed mind-set. They should not work for money but should work for the welfare of the company and the society at large. They should explain all the problems to the key organisational people in the organisation in a polite manner. 

After the completion of studies, some students may get jobs in various organisations. When they meet their seniors in the organisation, they start comparing their salaries with them. This is not correct. Nowadays, management graduates are working for money and not for quality. When a management graduate gets a particular amount of salary, he should not compare it with others. Instead, he should examine his conscience and put the following question to himself: “Is the work I am doing for the company proportional to the salary I receive? Am I doing work worth a salary of INR A? If I do not work worth a salary of INR A, how can I desire a salary of INR B? So, the current level of salary is enough for me even if it is a smaller amount. However, I should never compromise on quality of work.” In this manner, if one develops one’s own quality, very soon one will become entitled for one’s expected salary. Certainly one will get that much and even much more. But for this, one should develop such confidence. He who has much satisfaction is the richest person. So, with full contentment one must do one’s work and render service for whatever salary one gets at that point in time. 

A manager should not think that he is getting less salary and because of that he should change his job as he has been in the present organisation for over a year. Even if the salary is less, it is good to continue in the organisation for a longer time in order to strengthen one’s work experience. But if one indulges in ‘job-hopping’ for the sake of salary hike, one would lose trust of organisations in course of time. The management would say, “Hello sir”, but nobody would believe such managers considering them as unreliable candidates for any important position. The management would not share important organisational information with such managers. When managers win the confidence of the senior management executives, they would share all the confidential organisational matters. So, one should be loyal to the organisation wherever one is employed. 

Managers should always think of ways and means of improving the quality of products in the factory. The workers and senior management executives will then gain confidence in such managers. Managers should not sit for long time in the office room in an idle manner. They must visit the shop-floor or undertake field work (in case of marketing and other staff functions) often and observe how workers are working. When everything is in balance, the manager will get value. 

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