Friday, July 16, 2010

Weathering Storms

Due to the typhoon that brought down heavy rain and strong winds in the wee hours of July 14, we lost electricity for almost 24 hours.  It wasn't as bad as Milenyo of 2006 which brought about more than 3 days of black out, but it's not the ordinary 1 to 3 hour brown outs we get every other time a storm passes by.

With our increased usage of technology for our company operations, from accounting and requisition to inventory and sales, and service tracking, our customer and product databases, as well as our everyday use of email, computers, fax, PBX, and mobile phones, we have become fearfully dependent so much on electricity that we get into a disorderly mess to put our operations back "online", if only on paper.

We have not been able to formally draft contingencies on brown out situations or other unusual circumstances for that matter.  Fortunately for us, we had a generator in our storage room, courtesy of last year's Ondoy.  We also had people who know how to use and wire them.  They just needed a little mobilization, and by late morning, just shortly after our PBX UPS gave up on our phone lines, we were running on diesel, and operating somewhat decently, albeit without email and mobile phones.

Moving forward, we should be planning ahead to prepare backup and redundant plans to keep our operations smooth and durable.  This means redundant internet services, backup servers, adequate supply stocking, and documentation.  We lasted a day without much hiccups.  Next time, we can do even better.

Monday, July 5, 2010

Uniform Colors

Today marks the first day most Amici office people get to wear uniforms to work.  The rationale on the new regulation set down a month or so ago regarding uniforms is not clear to me.  An unlikely possibility is the reason that schools used to give to enforce uniforms -- to lower the average costs of clothing of students.  More plausible is to ensure everyone's at the minimum presentable and to diminish the chances of people standing out for good or for bad, thereby instigating envy, ridicule and chaos.  Perhaps it aims to foster internal solidarity, or to present a unified front to outside folks.  Or perhaps someone saw a sales team from a competing company in some nice uniforms and thought they looked fantastic.

Our uniforms wouldn't be lowering the average costs of clothing for employees.  One, we've been wearing clothes for the past number of years and everyone seems fine with it.  In fact, that a lot of people have invested on so many inexpensive Amici polo shirts over the last two years actually may mean a net loss of investment for them.  Two, there's actually an instituted penalty slash fund raising program for not wearing uniforms.  (I'm not very fond of monetary penalties for personal ethical reasons ).  But at least funds raised out of uniform penalty will go towards bonding moments.

Our uniforms are supposed to make everyone presentable.  It's a given however that the style of our uniforms will not win a fashion contest.  Moreso, the colors have the misfortune of being bland and, well, quite similar to a lot of uniforms everywhere.  No single person needs to be a point of an ugly joke anymore. Now, it's us making fun of ourselves.  We may have traded our freedom of expression for a united colors of dubious blue.  Say goodbye to the Fashionista award. 

Uniforms have their purpose.  Judicious use of uniforms go a long way towards improving our appearance as a company.  Uniforms convey discipline.  Practically, they make the role of their wearers easily identifiable.  When uniforms convey roles, it adds to the professionalism of a company and gives a close knit sense of belonging in and out of each team.  Creative designs lend creativity to our company asset.  Nevertheless, too much reliance however may indicate a disease in bureaucracy, inflexibility and martinet leadership.  A bad looking uniform says a lack of creativity, or worse a half-baked approach to getting things done.

A graceful execution of this uniform project will have a lot of benefits to our company.  Supposing our underlying aim is presentation, we should actually be satisfied with the appearance of our uniforms.  Perhaps a dress code maybe better in the long run as it balances unity and individual expression.  Uniforms then will have distinct roles to play, used to maximize their benefits.  And when we wear them, it is with pride that we show where we belong.