The marketing manager spoke. “I think the problem lies in how much the competitors are doing. They are putting in many efforts, devising new strategies to stay on top of the game.” He paused and brought out some papers from his file. “Looking at the figures here, which is that of ours standing side by side with that of competitors, we can say that we are lagging behind in devising new strategies to beat our competitors. Business and competition cannot do without the other. They’re very important working close, side by side, and it helps the efficiency of the business.”
Chancellor was a little bit irritated, and it made him ask, irritation deep in his voice, “What idea have you offered to salvage the situation? What plans do you have? Bring it up, throwing the issue of competition at me and rubbing it on my face without any solution is as good as nothing.”
The operations manager interrupted, speaking slowly like he was trying to pacify. “For me, I think the problem lies in the way we have been operating. Some clients have called complaining that some of our drivers aren’t communicable and some of their goods get damaged …”
“That is not quite true,” the marketing manager interjected. “There are some clients who call to complain of damaged goods, but then when we spend money in going to know if it is the truth, it is not our fault most times. The majority of the damaged goods they complain about are from their suppliers. 90 percent of the time, we don’t have anything to do with their broken goods.”
“Marketing manager, are you sure of this detail?” Chancellor asked. He stared at the marketing manager. “You know if what they are saying about us and their damaged goods is true, then we would be losing lots of customers. The issue of the unresolved and untreated problem of damaged goods handled by truck and delivery companies has caused a lot of businesses to fold up.”
“I know, boss. I am sure of what I am saying. We have gone to confirm over fifty such cases, and most of them aren’t caused by us. Their suppliers damage the goods without letting their buyers know. Then, our clients ignorant of such, attach the issue of the cause of the problem to us.”
“How do they take it when you tell them the discovery? Do they agree or do they feel you have overpowered them as a company and shut them up?” Chancellor asked.
The marketing manager shrugged. He looked towards Chancellor. “Well, they see it as the truth even though some of them still grumble. I do my best to try and convince them that what I am saying is the fact. In all, you can’t succeed in convincing all of them. It takes a lot to convince them totally.”
Chancellor turned toward the general manager and asked, “What do you think is the problem as the general manager?”
The general manager was the quiet one. He rarely spoke much. He was far older than the two other managers, in his 40s, and quite experienced as well. Chancellor had employed him because he managed a successful truck and delivery business before he fell out with his boss and got fired. He worked with his former boss to build the company from scratch, and after 16 years, when the business was doing well, he was axed.
The general manager spoke slowly. “I have always said our problem lies in checking out what the competition is doing, and doing it better than them while bringing in innovative ideas. The same problem brought up by the marketing manager …”
“Is it about your former company? I hope this is not about your former company?” Chancellor asked.
The general manager banged his hand on the table lightly. “Damn it. This is why I don’t like talking much around here. How can it be about my former company? You never listen to me, you never listen to anyone, and that’s the problem!”
Chancellor kept quiet. He looked around and his managers all stared at him awkwardly. Maybe they were right, he indeed didn’t listen to them. He preferred doing things like he was in it for passion, all these talks about strategy, competition, and market forces, bored him. Possibly, he needed to do something else. He should probably pursue his passion for science and technology.
He breathed in and out. “See, I apologize for how deaf I have been all this while to the changes you guys have been clamoring for. I think it is best you do what is good for the business without seeking my total approval. What I want to see in the shortest time is the turnaround of the fortunes of this business. You should put in enough work and make vital decisions that would help out.”
The general manager nodded. “Yeah, that’s a good one.”
Chancellor ignored what the general manager said and continued with what he wanted to say. “Since you guys think the business is suffering from similar problems, you can harmonize your problems and make plans on how the business would turn out well. If I get what you all said, then the major problem is studying the competitors and seeing how we can do better than them, right?”
They nodded in unison.
“Fine. You should do just that.” He paused and then continued almost immediately. “What other problems do you think should be looked into to make our income better?”
The operations manager rearranged his files and spoke up. “We should also look at the possibility of making an app and connecting it to a tracker where the client can log into and track the movement of the truck and his goods. Then, there would be no complain of unreachable drivers.”
“Good. Do that then,” Chancellor said.
The operations manager continued. “I think we should re-train our drivers on the matter of service delivery and customer service. For me, I believe the drop in requests and why we aren’t expanding is due to the attitude of our drivers. To most of these clients, they’re the face of the company.”
“Good. Call for a re-training then.”
The general manager spoke next. “If we can sacrifice to get funds, maybe borrow, let’s re-brand. Repaint our trucks, our building, run radio jingles and all …”
Chancellor lost his cool. “Where is the money? Where do we get the money to do all that, where?” he asked, his eyes wide-opened, and he was panting. “I may not know how a business works deeply but I have managed the finance of this business and grown it to this level and this far to be careless with the spending and finance.”
“All right,” the general manager said.
Chancellor stood. “See, you should identify all the problems, bring up the plans, and harmonize your plans. Our income should be improving very soon. Please, no plans of yours should be a strain on our lean resources. It should save us money and be very productive.” He walked out of the boardroom, his managers not looking at him.
Chancellor tidied up what he was doing at the office to go home. The whole office and business stuff bored him. He needed to cool off. He would need to be in the science and technology field to deal with the stress this business and work were putting him through. He needed to be somewhere else apart from the office. He sensed that if he remained for too long in his business building he might go crazy with all these absurdities happening around him.
He packed up his suitcase at about 3 PM and walked out of his office. On the way out to his old model Mercedes, the only person he spoke with was his secretary. “Help me arrange a meeting with the drivers on Wednesday. When passing the message and memo to them, write that it is compulsory for them to show up. I need to see all of them,” he said to his secretary.
“Yes, sir,” she had replied still focused on whatever she was typing on her office laptop.
He got to the front door of the business building, opened it, and walked out. He got to his car, opened the door, got in, and zoomed off, his tires screeching. He drove absent-mindedly, and knew he drove that way; he just prayed that he shouldn’t end up hitting someone.
There was no sort of traffic as he drove home. At home, he parked the car in the only space he could find in the parking lot. His home was a flat in a ten-floor residential building occupied mostly by young tech geeks who were always at home. Sometimes, he wondered how they felt that they never stepped out but did all of their jobs at home. Well, he was older than most of them, and they were mostly his friends.
While choosing to get an apartment here, he had been glad to be in a building populated by people in tech. It gave him the feel of his younger self, the desire and the need to be in science and tech. He had always felt he was chasing the wrong dream be running his truck business.
Yes, he had loved truck and delivery, but he still wasn’t satisfied. There was still this fire burning in him, leading him on. He could be something else. He could chase the passion of his childhood. He could control the desired tech company or product like some of his friends in his residential building–the cryptocurrency field possibly. He could be as big as he wanted.
His mind ran wild and he sat in the car, the air-conditioning of the old model Mercedes was not working properly. He sighed. He was confused. What would he do to save his business? What would he do to find fulfillment in his career or business? Maybe he needed to find a new path for himself.
He got out of the car and went up to his apartment. He really needed to talk to someone. This someone can put him out of this misery.
* What will happen next? Will he find the solution to his problem? Discover this in Episode 3.