Saturday, November 24, 2007

day 24

dust storm
Originally uploaded by greens n cornbread
Got buffeted around a little this morning coming to work. The wind is up and dust is everywhere. This picture really didn't capture the amount of dust in the air, but those dust drifts in the road were really moving, and constantly replaced.

I didn't take the half day off I was entitled to, I had some system changes to take care of. So, next Friday?

I have had an interesting experience working with the staff here. 90 so-odd percent of the people I am working with are Pakistani. They are very hierarchical. If I am telling someone how to do something and their boss happens to be in the room, they will look to their boss for approval before doing as I instruct. However, if I am the only one present, I become the boss and there is no problem.

When the training session is over in the plant, I am offered tea (on a saucer, of course). It is usually cardamom tea with cream and sugar. If I am in one of the main offices and tea time comes around, I am brought tea with some crackers and/or cookies. There is a person whose job it is to bring and serve the tea and crackers and to take away the empties. This is done twice a day. Yesterday it was well past tea time, but the clerk I was training insisted that he get me a cup himself and wouldn't take no for an answer. He didn't have any (I guess he had had his earlier) but by god I sure was. I am told that the plant manager, should he have a visitor, will peremptorily order any of his subordinates - including his deputy - to go fetch tea and/or any refreshment. Last year there was a celebration here at the plant during Eid al-Fitr (celebrating the end of Ramadan) and one of the plant managers (a Pakistani) asked his boss the general manager of operations here (an American) if he enjoyed the lamb he had just finished. Being told yes, the Pakistani yelled over to his deputy-plant manager, who was eating, who immediately got up and fixed a big plate of lamb and brought it over to the general manager and waited until he had tasted it and got approval.

This also means that all decisions rise to the top. Everything here is approved by a plant manager. Purchases are approved 3 times, and receipts 2 times all by the plant manager and any supervisor whose department the purchase is for. Invoice payment is approved 3 times. Authority rests with just a few people. Part of my job here is to eliminate most of the bottle necks involved with this process and to devolve the decisions to the level that purchases can be managed effectively with little delay. Their current system is little more than a means to manage paper. With my system, there is no paper, no signatures, no middle-men.

I have my job cut out for me.

3 deeply creased, dogeared comment(s):

amusing said...

Poms poms -- made of red tape -- still waving wildly cheering you on!

Anonymous said...

Let me get this straight...

You're supposed to change a culture?

You are so not getting paid enough.

liv said...

what de said.