Changing concept of efficiency

Efficiency should be an easy concept to grasp: fewer moving pieces, more energy focused on the goal and achieving the desired end.
We strive for this everyday in business, doing more with less, reducing wasted effort, using new technology to do more with less, anticipating and preparing for the future as you see it, constantly adjusting and changing with an ever changing world, learning from experiences, applying what we’ve learned to future endeavors, and hopefully transferring that knowledge to your crew and co-workers for a mutual gain and competitive advantage.

It is a practical exercise in evolution and survival of the fittest, the most efficient, and most innovative with change that have proven to be both cost effective, practical, and safe.

We work to be the best and collect those around us who are the best at what they do so we are constantly improving. It is the basis of caplitalism.

In contrast we present the following:

The other day we caught a glimpse of congressional coverage where some committee or subcommittee was grilling a banker with Chase, seeking an explanation to their sudden market loss of several millions of dollars on some international stock trade. The gist of the committee member’s disgust was aimed at how Chase could have lost all that money.

The irony wasn’t lost on this viewer. 

Here we have a member of congress finding fault with the banking industry for losing money on an open market trade and at least implying the bank had insufficient controls to assure such trades would always be protected from loss. Granted, the bank in fact lost money, certainly not by design: in business you either make a profit or cease to exist, thus the incentive to make rather than lose money. You’re not rewarded for failing in business, you’re fired or you’re no longer in business.

Thus this congressional committee, part of that august body that is congress, the vast majority of whom have NEVER signed the front of a check, commonly swap votes for projects and legislation they’ve never read, and consider a reduction in the rate of automatic increase in a budget as a “cut” as prudent business to find fault in the business practices of this bank is laughable. 

The lesson lost is simple: for congress to oversee anything they must first DEMONSTRATE their own ability to oversee and control themselves in dealing with the public’s business.

As a nation we’ve come through a pretty horrendous plummet off the financial cliff, cratered the economy, losing a huge number of businesses, jobs, and homes in the process. The inefficient, poorly funded, poorly positioned, inefficient and unprofitable companies have been pruned, leaving the strongest and most efficient to rebuild the economy, which we are now doing not because of but In Spite Of this congress, this administration, and the collective of state legislatures.

The reason our system of government has survived and prospered over 237 years is due to design that retains political control at the local level, where accountability is up close and personal between the public and our elected representatives. Where the model goes awry, as we are seeing, is when accountability is lost to size and distance from the electorate.

Insuring “someone’s” future

Health care, health insurance, and the legislated realities of the “Affordable Care Act” (a.k.a. Obamacare) has been a major topic at the Oregon Logging Conference, and the recently completed Washington Contract Loggers Association Annual Meeting, and with good reason: the law’s timelines are moving forward, and agreeing or liking it is incidental. It’s the law, which as we’ve seen before is far easier to start than it is to stop. 

The one potentially good thing to come of this has been a uniform computerization of medical information by health care providers, which should give immediate access to one’s medical history, rather than having to fill out countless forms, at least that’s the theory. Our own physician has been at this for a few years and noted that there are benefits both for his practice and for us patients. Ring up one for the plus side of the ledger.

The delay of information on the “Affordable Care Act” aside, it’s up to you, and whomever you work with on insurance, to get yourself up to speed and in compliance. Ignorance is never a good defense, and you cannot ignore this “away.”

Make no mistake about it, beyond the exception of many exempted labor unions, and our plentiful force of federal, state, and other government employees, we’re all getting to pay for this grand scheme, for better or otherwise.

While the vastly merchandised reasoning behind this is to have everyone paying for health care, thus increasing the breadth and depth of the programs finances (which we’ll call the public trough), there is no doubt whatsoever who unquestionably wins in the grand political design of “Affordable Care:” that would be the bureaucracy, staff, administrators, enforcers, regulators, and paper pushers all of which comes prior to any health care at all, with a substantial price tag, and they are the first in line, first into the “trough” and first to be paid. The good news is these are all new jobs. The bad news is they primarily produce paper, and re-arrange deck chairs.

Near the end of this burgeoning line are the professional care givers (i.e. doctors, nurses, physical therapists, etc.) who actually perform and deliver the service, with whatever money may be left, and at the tail end of the cash outlays are we the clients/patients. 

This, in fact, may be the most accountable/cost effective wave of the future. But in the enthusiasm to enact this model, efficiency has been left on the cutting room floor. You cannot add parts to any system, all of which erode efficiency and speed, siphon money from the care givers, which further erodes services to the clients, and achieve a savings.

At the end of the day, those whose future is assured are the bureaucrats and paper pushers, not the physicians, not the specialists, and most assuredly not the clients.

That notwithstanding the majority of the country voted to continue down this path in pursuit of the “free lunch” of hope and change.
Our charge at this point is to inform and prepare yourself, your company, and your crew. 

by / Mike Crouse, Publisher