Monday, July 15, 2024

Mills in the hands of the miller – evaluate the outcomes

The Mills, place for processing grain or grist, in other words, the business entity trading in grain processing. At The Mills you find milling machines and the miller who operates the machines and runs the business. It is therefore the miller’s call to provide reputable service and retain his customers. On the strength of the miller’s word and marketing, the customer places staggering amounts of trust on the miller.

The customer looks forward to the right milling yield of flour that has the right texture, color, coarseness and volume. The customer cannot start to concern himself with the operational aspects of either the business or the intricate functions of the machine parts. Operationally, the effect of what the miller did or omitted to do in his own space and time to ensure an effective and efficient milling procedure get displayed openly through the quality and quantity of the milling yield ÔÇô the de facto validation instrument of the miller and the business.

No matter how catchy his marketing lines, if in the first stage his machines prove ineffective in removing primary waste, hull and bran, there is going to be a large flour yield with extremely poor texture, color and scent ÔÇô more like, good quantity but very poor quality. If on the other hand some of the weak grains get expelled with the waste, there would be low flour yield and more waste. On another level,emphasis is made on the right grit size and distribution per volume of the flour. Too large or too much grit makes the flour too coarse while too small and too little makes the flour way too fine.

Sub-standard milling procedures lay bare the lackadaisical attitude with which the miller as the manager not only runs the business but, treats his customers. The business dwindles and summary dismissal becomes inescapable.Possibly, the miller failed to realize that he deals with a sensitive machine in which every moving part gives the next just the right kick to set it in motion with a delicate level of precision and synchronism;the machines requires the right oil with just the right viscosity to achieve that. May be he inadvertently or deliberately used wrong oil in the machine; who knows, maybe he fitted ‘fong-kong’ parts in the machine and thus compromised the general integrity of the machine. It can’t be ruled out that the miller may have compromised the machine deliberately to fleece the customer; cause it to yield less flour and more waste which he then sells for secondary use as a by-product.It’s a whole myriad of possibilities that may prove too hard to trace except subject to speculation and conjecture. However, the output is the ultimate measure and validation.

You can take the milling-miller concept and apply it on any state-government relation in the world. Consider the milling business as the state; the miller and his machinery as the government and the customer as the public coupling as the Board of Directors.Good governance and the serious-mindedness of a government are not measured by the majestic poise of those who wield the power but, by staying true to their word and free from mendacity. The effects of their noble conduct shows through among others, employment creation, credit worthiness, strong earning and purchasing power, reasonable living wage, delivery of quality public services, upgrading of labor laws to provide incentive for public servants, portable water, affordable and access to electricity, free quality education and health care, security and social justice etc. Just like the miller, the effect of what those in government do or omit to do in their space evince and plays out publicly. If it is good, the government can get come commendation for having kept their promise to the public and not squandered public trust.

When the promised outcomes are not forthcoming, it can suggest a whole array of causes like,the governmentremains fixated on unsound ideologies that stifle growth rate and development potential.It can suggest there was spending that does not promote long term growth but instead, there is waste from which some individuals benefit or there blatant diversion of public funds. Another trace may be the general inclination to short term view rather than considering long term effects as may evince through jejune and feeble programmes that lack profundity; financial black holes to be precise. Arrogance that does not reconcile with principles of accountability and transparency ÔÇô the think tank mentality that restricts stakeholder rights to co-determination is well within touch. Constriction of information flow withlegislation that limits the media instead of intervening with alacrity to stall situations whereby prime pieces of land are lost to foreigners despite a good portion of the public does not have serviced land and affordable housing. When the number of uninsured and underinsured lives are extraordinarily high, insinuating that life is consideredcheap and unworthy. Politicization of public service and impetuously stacking high and influential positionswithtrounced politicians and worse, the cabinet may be sittingseatingsome under-performers andspring chickens that do not enhance the integrity of government ÔÇô talk of milling machine pirate parts; implying ‘I hunt with my dogs’ approach rather than meritocracy that yields deficit of intellect and rectitude with woeful debility on the key functions of the government. The possible causes are innumerable but, the general outcome is the ultimate measure and validation of spiritual commitment of a government to its assignments.

The summative effect of the foregoing is subversive to economic growth. To break it down with just one example, the result can beinhibition of inward investment – where multinational corporations invest money by setting up businesses in a state. That increases both direct and indirect employment, spurns on the local businesses as opportunities for local SMMEs to trade emergence. The tax base expands thus increasing wealth to the state economy. There is potential to up-skill the local workforce and up-grade the worthiness of local labor. Inward investment is therefore Holy Grail for any state.

When the outputs of a government are marginal, there is hindrance in large manufacturing and service sector employers setting up in a state because more than political stability and availability of incentive schemes, inward investors seek appropriate and reliable utilities as requisites inputs in their businesses; not where the supply of such are not frequently interrupted. They need reasonably skilled workforce that can only be yielded by a determined education system whose products possess more than the common skills and are indeed and not just in word ready for employment even at pre-tertiary level. Investors seek available suppliers and resource; in other words, an up-on-the-feet private sector. That has mutual benefit to the investor and the local supplier in that the supply chain advantages are exploited locally on the one hand while on the other, it saves the investor all the trouble of cross-border sourcing for his company’s inputs. Inward investors also want a good quality of life in the state; where the earning power and purchasing power inspire retailers to stock more than just the basics, where they are sure of swift and top notch medical attention for themselves and their employees should they require such and where they would not need to look back over their shoulder all the time because there could be and officer coming to serve them with papers that unceremoniously terminate their stay in that state. Investors also need available and appropriate infrastructure to support their investment. This is the prerogative of the government as a manager and failure means abdication or incompetence; the once crystal images in the mirrors of research projects that measure public attitudes on economic, political and social matters in the likes of Afro-barometer lose their quality and the mirrors start to reflect badly.

The public as both the customer and board of directors must shun any excuses advanced by the manager no matter how well couched the language such an excuse is rendered in. For example, nothing can ever be imputed to population. It is the population, territory, sovereignty and a government that make up a state. Using population as an excuse for stunted growth is like an individual applying for a job as a miller or manager of a milling business and then complaining that the business is toosmall for him to manage; it’s quite ludicrous. Applications for the post of state manager if you consider the public as the board of director ÔÇô manifesto if you will, is drawn and spelled out in the context of the state and specific reference to the population. Besides, good management is all about having the savvysavviness to see round the corner and ability to device preemptive and forestalling mechanisms for any perceivable eventualities; including measuresfor that time when the stimulus of the business is subliminal.

The public must be quick to notice underperformance on the side of the manager when the manager starts to apportion blame. The miller who blames the customer’s grist quality or the machine for poor milling yield is just like a government that blames public servants and accuses them of sabotage. Such conduct warrants dismissal and the customer must wear the hat of the board of directors and fire the weak manager. It is the duty of the government to lubricate the conjugate parts of the state with just the right oil and ensure public service delivery, harmony, good governance, democracy and freedom in the economic, social and political spheres.

Those in government and those in the fringes of power are equal members of the demographic that makes the state.Like the milling business and the customer,;citizens trade with the state by virtue of our citizenship and the quality of the trade should not be undermined by a weak manager. A miller who thinks too much about himself and his survival becomes disillusioned, arrogant and corrupt; a thief to be specific.He views himself as a benefactor than a messenger of the business. His bloated ego clouds his judgment. His corrupted view is insidious to both the business and himself. Then, the million dollar question is, ‘do you let the business collapse, customers to hunger and anger or eject the miller so that a prospective miller can be given the reigns toprove his metantle and be held against the promises in his application?’

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