It’s Your Business Culture

Call it what you want- your culture, policies, practices. It’s yours- not someone else telling you how it should be. Unless, of course, you ask for advice.

You go to the barber. He says it’s his policy to always cut sideburns short. You want to keep the long sideburns. So you realize this guy is not the one you want to cut your hair.

You go to a supermarket and see ten people standing in a winding line waiting to be taken care of at the checkout. There are no other checkouts open. It’s the store policy to only hire one checkout person regardless of customer traffic. You make a note as to whether you ever want to return to this scene or shop elsewhere in the future.

You sit in the driver’s seat of your car the way you feel most comfortable, set the steering wheel position, lock in the push buttons on the radio dial to stations you prefer. When you go to buy a new car, you don’t want the salesman to tell you that you can only listen to certain stations and that the buttons have been preset. That you must keep the steering wheel at a certain tilt, etc.

We can go on with examples- the point is that businesses establish their own culture. Sometimes they are willing to adjust, sometimes they say take it or leave it to the customer. Maybe it depends on who holds the cards.

A client asked us to help them navigate the emotional traipse through the process of buying a new accounting system. A business uses a particular package for a good number of years and realizes that it is now time to consider an alternative.

There were two issues of concern with the accounting system:

  1. They labeled what you or I would call Normal Order process SPECIAL ORDER. That’s correct- to them special order meant that when selling something out of stock, a request to have the supplier expedite the product back to them was special. The accounting system designer considered that m ost businesses would let the supplier drop ship the product for them to their end customer.

    That may work for some small time ecommerce operators but not for medium sized businesses.

  2. The accounting software had no provision for non-stock item entry where the input person could leave the item code field blank and free form a description, selling price, and cost. It required that an item code always needed to be entered and if one did not exist it would be created on-the-fly.

The accounting software rep had no interest in figuring how to adapt his product to my client’s business culture. It would now be up to the client to decide how comfortable they would be playing other radio stations in the car than what they were used to.

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