The Idea Dude

CONNECTING THE DOTS ONE AT A TIME

Tuesday, March 20, 2007

Your success could be your Achilles heel

There is a pet food recall this week affecting 90 different cat and dog food brands. It was also carried by Canadian news. Having had some feline issues (unrelated, at least to my knowledget to this event) last week costing me over $1,300 dollars (yup I have now a walking furball that could have been an HD TV), the articles did catch my eye. It did highlight firstly how difficult it is to pinpoint something that may be extremely obscure could in fact initiate a kind of butterfly effect. As one company spokesman mentioned that they have had no complaints, duh! the chances of you being able to tie your pet's illness with many others is remote since you're a basically a sample of 1.

It was reminescent of an article I read about Toyota. In their quest for cost and production efficiencies, many of their components are optimized and used across multiple vechicle types and models. On the one hand, it would point to a great technology marvel in modern times but on the other, consider the effect of one bad component, the weak link as small as bolt could trigger a massive recall, resulting in millions of dollars lost in marketing, communication, labour and materials. In recent times, food scares because of tainted vegetables or meat have wide ranging implications across countries and even continents.

Having global giants in whatever industry invariably gives us access to cheaper and better goods although it is a two edge sword that when things go bad, they go horribly wrong. Virus that once may have wiped out small tribes in remote areas perhaps was nature's way of containing deadly diseases. Today where everyone is connected, and millions of people traverse the earth in a matter of hours, our technology hopefully will not catastrophically spell our ultimate demise.

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