I am of the long-standing firm belief that you never solve a problem by simply throwing money at it.
I saw a brief interview with author Greg Mills discussing his latest book Why Africa is Poor: And What Africans Can Do About It. As his publisher’s blurb explains, he “controversially shows that the main reason why Africa’s people are poor is because their leaders have made this choice”.
In his conversation, he drew plenty of parallels with Asia to help show the way ahead. One of his top pleas concerned infrastructure. It’s also a potential credit crunch inspired angle for healthier account management.
He felt that there are misdirected billions wasted in attempts to increase capacity. Whether it be roads, rail, energy, people, he preaches that it’s all a misguided endeavour. One example that hit home was of border crossings that inexplicably add days, and therefore huge totally unnecessary costs, to the shipment of goods simply due to inefficient, poorly executed and mismanaged procedures. Apparently up to 60% of a cargo’s time can be spent doing nothing at such checkpoints. Ouch.
His mantra was not to increase infrastructure capacity but make the most out of that already in place. There lies enormous untapped scope in getting more out of what’s available but not fully utilised today.
It strikes me as a fascinating additional argument to use with any customer that threatens to put your business out to tender, potentially ending your reign as incumbent. How can you stop them from spending more money on switching, and help them get more out of what they do with you at the moment?