Trying to be Impartial

Saturday, 27 October 2007

My boss has just agreed to award our largest printing job of the year to a completely new printer, who beat the other printers flat in terms of pricing, and promised high quality work delivered on time. I personally stuck my neck out for this one, because Han and I have seen her work and also her amazing dedication to excelling her business. So from the original idea of splitting the job between this new company and our regular printer, I decided that it would be best to award the entire contract to the former because that would save us quite a bit of money.

Now, while I think I've done a good job on that side of the situation, it leaves me with a bit of a problem--how do I maintain a cordial relationship with our current long-time printer who has been, in all fairness, servicing us really well and at times even going out of their way to attend to our last minute needs?

My colleague brought this up this morning, saying that she actually had a sleepless night over the matter. I don't blame her at all--she has been personally dealing with the old printer for many more years than I have, and she felt bad that despite the good working and personal relationship we didn't award anything to the guy this time around. 2 days ago I was also in the same frame of mind (before I finally made the decision). I felt so very guilty.

But then something went off in my head, that I should focus on the intentions I had in order to make a decision. I could have fallen off the track by favouring a particular party, or thinking along the lines of awarding the job to the printer whom I know would do things like buy stuff for me if I gave him/her the job.

Consciously or otherwise, my mind was ploughing through the quotations, phone calls and haggling in order to secure the cheapest quote, while remembering quality issues and punctuality. I don't think the final decision would have benefited me--but it certainly would have meant that my company wouldn't have to pay too much for the printed material to be produced. And hopefully it would mean that Datin wouldn't come down hard on us for spending large sums of money, especially my boss.

Yes, it's tough working in a company where we don't have complete control over how we want to run the business, and the key decision makers are so high up in the hierarchy that they mostly don't have a clue as to what transpires down here. They don't have the time to understand us, and yet they don't trust us to do our jobs to the best of our capabilities.

However I'm optimistic that it may not have to always be like that. Perhaps I can say this because I've never been directly involved with the committee that has a vice grip on our purse strings. But of late there were a couple of incidences that left me pleasantly surprised and hopeful as to the possibility of making inroads into this chinaman setup.

From what I gather from those experiences, it seems that clear communication does Wonders to oil the bureaucratic wheel. And a strong conviction about your beliefs, principles and ideas. Putting the company first before self--maybe that would work better rather than trying to safeguard your own personal interests and ambitions first, because I believe that you will ultimately reap the benefits of your actions in time.


That's my thought for today. Oh, coming back to the topic of the printer--I told my staff not to feel bad about not awarding our current printer the contract, since she wasn't the one who made the final decision. If the printer wants to air grievances, he can speak with me directly. In fact, I did end up talking to the owner of the business, and all he said in response to my decision was, "Oh. I don't have any jobs for this period."

Dejected, he was. I really do hope that he can secure another contract to tide him through till the next busy season. But I don't feel bad or guilty, because I know my intention was pure.

One Comment

#1Gravatar imagekOtAk says:

its great when u dont hv to really worry about budgets here in a big co.. the only thing is that we MUST work with our panel printers / vendors no matter what. if we want to work with new vendors, theres a whole load of paperwork & justification 2 b done. we cant really feel bad for the old printer cos thats business reality. he can’t be solely relying on your co. 4 business anyway 🙂

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