Do you know your organization’s obligations? Regulations, Customers, Stakeholders, Corporate,… they all impose obligations on you. Do you have a master list?
As they say in Latin, “Temet Nosce” “Know thyself”. As an organization the first step should be to identify and understand all of your obligations. As basic as this seems, very few organizations have accomplished this task. Obligations to various groups – regulators, customers, stakeholders and others are scattered in a myriad of systems, emails, excel files and who knows where else.
Highly complex industries are even more prone to the risk of missing an obligation – be it quality or safety. In the automotive industry, where gasoline cars have thousands and thousands of components, a mistake in the identification of your obligations or the obligations of your suppliers can be terribly expensive. I recently asked an automotive parts supplier which OEM assembler they preferred to work with. WIthout batting an eye they responded, “Toyota!”.
Probing a bit deeper, they explained that once Toyota gave the specifications/obligations for a part that the supplier was building, the specifications never changed. In other words, there was clarity on the obligations that the supplier had towards Toyota. This clarity is what has helped Toyota build its reputation of high quality and affordable cars for decades. Anyone who has studied Lean manufacturing will know, getting it right the first time is much less expensive than rework. The same can be said of quality, safety, hr, environment and other business challenges we all face.
When it comes to clarity about Obligations, most organizations still do not have this part of their business nailed down. If you solve this challenge of identifying your obligations, you can then focus on bigger issues. It is not an easy journey, but it is a project that will help you reduce your risks, improve your operations and add value to your business.