Trends versus transactions – a foolproof way for organisations to grow


To build a resilient culture – one must become an organisation that continues to learn from its experiences. But first, it is imperative that we understand the types of issues that an organisation faces.

There are essentially two kinds of issues:

  1. Transactional: These type of issues seem like one-off problems; an exception to the norm that repeats itself often but in different ways to make managers feel they are living in an ‘uncertain’ environment.
  2. Trends: These issues fit a pattern. If we are willing to invest time, these issues can actually help us leverage the very uncertainty we deal with and make the environment easy to manage.

Let’s take a step back and see if any of these seem familiar to the environment you are managing:

  • Orders are always delayed
  • Costs are very high
  • Customers are always unhappy
  • There is a last minute push to complete the order
  • We have invested in capacity, yet our shop floor is always full
  • Our manpower always appears to be understaffed
  • Right skilled people are never available (only for us, the rest of the world is doing just fine!)
  • We are growing, but our funds never seem enough
  • Our profitability is much lower than when we were a young organisation
  • Our cash to cash cycle time has lengthened though we have more experience and our technology has improved significantly
  • We continue to work overtime

Does the list sound familiar? Does it seem endless?

Every new outcome that is different from what we expect it to be gives us an opportunity to step back and evaluate whether it is a trend or transactional issue.

The transactional nature of issues has forced many companies to invest in developing ‘firefighters’ and ‘multitaskers’ who in turn become the most important element of the organisational delivery system. These firefighters and multitaskers are the backbone of the system, the most critical resources who can help achieve anything that the company aspires for!

Should we feel proud that we are such a company, and reward people with such ‘unique’ ability to firefight and multitask or are we actually creating a system which is short term success, long term failure?

For most of our history, Fabtech has faced most of the issues illustrated above. Like any growing organisation, we encountered the dilemma of short term versus long term. We were also forced to invest in building up critical resources – firefighters and multitaskers who can be described as ‘pillars’ of our growth.

However, as we transitioned from a growing to a maturing organisation, we realised a need to step back and asses. Was it wise to continue using our critical resources, so integral to the growth trajectory of our organisation in the same manner as we had been? As we matured as an organisation, shouldn’t they also be maturing in their roles to continue adding to our strong foundation rather than weaken the very basis of our growth story?

We realised there was a pattern to all that we have been doing as a team and as an organisation. However in our constant struggle to manage transactional issues, we missed seeing the commonality that ran through them all, and how they were linked to a few basics that needed to be improved.

Our analysis of this trend paved the way of our managers to evaluate and come up with simple and implementable solutions across the organisation that would not only improve the way we handle situations but also foster a sustainable culture that is repeatable and therefore scalable.

Our investment in a way of working and systems such as FabAssure for Project Management, has an inherent advance warning ability that helps managers focus their energies on the right solutions for trends, while transactional issues are managed by their teams.

By implementing critical changes in policy and identifying the ‘right’ systems and measures, we are ensuring a seamless transition from a stress-filled, fire-fighting environment to a stress-free, advance warning driven culture that puts people first. We will continue to work hard, we may even work late at times, but when we do it will be because our efforts are directed at the right places to meet our goals.

Now that we have established a strong foundation and are entering a phase of profitable growth, we are able to help managers discover their potential by empowering them with the right processes, systems and tools to enable them to work and engage their teams in a stress-free environment.

These investments have been made with the sole purpose of building a culture that will make our partners and clients feel proud to be associated with us and to ensure we provide them with high-quality solutions, on time, every time.