Profitability: yes, but…
by Seekle, March 15th 2016

  Today at my work, the new boss of our department (a Swedish lady that came from USA to France) insisted “this year, there must be, there will be, a high focus on Profitability”, and… I feel uncomfortable:
- Yes, we are a private company, and we cannot be negative without falling in bankruptcy, with everyone falling in misery. So we must make profit, not like government employees, incredibly free to work very little or refuse work quite often.
- In previous years, the speech was different: “focus on the customers’ needs, the customers’ satisfaction”, and this was not only another good point but this is a complete contradiction. Let me explain.
  Last month, I have seen one of our products (that I use as customer) being changed: with the same product code (and price), the content was different, 24 tubes of 1.2mL instead of 48 tubes of 0.6mL (thus less tubes are used by the manufacture department which means the cost is lower thus profit is higher). The total volume is the same but all changes for the customer's use : the procedure is taking 0.5mL for each set of 8 analysis ; if you have 9 to 16 analysis, you must take 2 times 0.5mL and no matter if you take them from 1 full tube or 2 half-full tubes, BUT if you have 1 to 8 analysis (and this is partly the same for 17 to 24 analysis), you need only 0.5mL and before, you were using only 1 tube, 1/48 of your kit box, but now you must take one tube which is 1/24 of the kit box, the extra volume going to waste. So… the customer sends to waste part of the content, bought (and produced) for nothing, and (needing to buy twice more tubes/kits) loses the related money… in our pocket! (I am ashamed that) "this wastage is very good for our profitability" (says the new management, it seems), while this is bad for the customer, like if we do not care anymore of its needs, no matter its satisfaction, no matter our reputation turning bad…
  Several friends and relatives of mine who are government’s employees here in France say that the private world is just made of cupid wolves, angry to steal money from the poor customer. I thought they were wrong (and government’s employees do not need this only because the government steals money with unlimited taxes, even on future generations to pay back the huge deficit), but I am not sure anymore. Selling seems based on legal robbery, at the expense of the customer, considered stupid as almost always accepting to pay the required price. I have been told that Mercury in antic Roma was the God of bandits and sellers (the only "good" ones being "normal" lazy slavers)... All seems bad everywhere, somehow.

---- --- March 16th 2016, 2 a.m. in one more sleepless night
  Maybe I should destroy this Web-site of mine, because intelligence is almost illegal inside a small employee, in the capitalist world. The leaders think over (they say they are the elite) while ordinary people must obey and applaud, even if they work in a research department where invention is a need... No, (it seems) intelligence is only legal to provide very high salaries to big chiefs and very high income to shareholders, little ones (like me) must remain stupid sheeps. Maybe tomorrow I will take this site off the net, the leaders’ blah will triumph proudly, as usual. It's life. Simply, my brain feels painful, ouch.

---- --- March 17th 2016, 4 a.m. in one more sleepless night
  I see an objection or another contradiction: if we want to increase our profitability, the most obvious/simple way would be to increase our prices. Yes, but that would be so simple/obvious that the customer would be angry and choose another competitor, so… we try to hide the cost increase for the customer, like with this unchanged reference/price for different tubes, only the technician in the lab seeing the problem and shocking waste, without the order department or boss understanding the problem (when the technical cost increases, the technician user will be blamed for "bad work"). Hiding price increase (this way) is what I call dishonesty, but it "works" well (at least for a little time, and our ambitious leaders will be gone elsewhere when customers will understand and complain against us or go away from us)…

---- --- May 17th 2016, Another aspect
   I have heard that our company remove from its catalog insufficiently profitable products, so… customers will be unhappy, losing their routine, maybe without alternative (maybe there is another product from a competitor but not validated by them, so the cost of change will be high for them). So it seems we are no longer partners serving customers but raptors wanting to enrich ourselves at their expense. Maybe this is the goal (not explained this way) and I feel uncomfortable.