Time for a real review

Smart forms of research has found that customer service and sales skills are considered the least important when building a brand, and it would seem big brand and government know this very well. This might explain why any meaningful programs are explained in a way of the language of spin. For what is done would we not prefer to hear or feel that our policy makers value some measure of the actions and actively seek feedback from those that influence our lives at least every 6 to 12 months from a startup campaign. This view suggests government is a business – a business that must please its total stakeholder basis.

Why should this happen? Take a look at quotes taken from the writings of Laurissa Smith and Anna Vidot (www.abc.net.au ), on Monday, 20/08/2012, the story ‘Carbon farmers challenged by rigorous process’: “The guidelines which set out how they can make money from schemes like the Federal Government’s Carbon Farming Initiative are still being developed…It’s still sitting under consideration with the Domestic Offset Integrity Committee which is the committee tasked under the clean energy regulator to review the methodologies…So we hope that it’s going to become available for public interest by early 2013.” This is extremely frustrating when you consider the Department responsible made announcements of a body as set up for Carbon Offsets in June 2010.

In fairness some methodologies are already approved – 3 with the possible 4th soon, and the promise is new methodologies on the way would allow farmers to earn credits not yet seen for not yet approved promotions on their properties.

Following on with the need for measures and feedback, consider another story featuring Anna Vidot, it too is clearly linked to our food security, the National Retailers Association says the sector is suffering from “review fatigue” and is an easy target for people concerned about the viability of Australian food processing. The story is leveraged on how the industry is responding to recommendations made by a Senate committee which has just concluded a year-long investigation into food processing in Australia. Rather than call it a broad based affair, the report is labeled ‘wide-ranging’ across areas of diverse ranges. The report makes more than 30 recommendations from industrial relations to food labeling.

If we refrain from discussing the market dominance of Coles and Woolworth, views of a political advantage etc, and concentrate on finding evidence of how customers and suppliers are satisfied with their treatment by the big two, you can narrow down to the need for a survey of supermarket activities. That survey concept could also be used to find evidence of government performance, and that survey could, ideally, be reviewable on a half yearly or yearly basis. Correctly structured we could be well assured ‘all funny business’ would be stamped out of politics, and we would remove the election cycle porkbarreling we are so used to in new policy announcements.

If we explore this a little further, from the retailers: “We’ve had a number of reviews in this space, and the last Australian Competition and Consumer Commission review found that there was workable competition in this country… The supermarkets already do an enormous amount of research and collection of data… Many of the suppliers you’re talking about are big multinationals in their own right…From the perspective of farm-gate suppliers, in the case of Coles and Woolworths, the majority of their suppliers have been with them for 20 or 30 years.”

Then from a peak body for the manufacturers, the Australian Food and Grocery Council sums it all up very well: “If you’re looking at how we become more competitive, to improve productivity and compete effectively against imports and secure export markets, innovation is absolutely fundamental to that…,[It’s about] giving that a commercial focus and providing some leadership, or a catalyst if you like, for some of the innovative effort that assists in improving productivity and identifying and securing export markets…But it’s not easy and we welcome the fact that this report has identified this as an area for future action.”

Can you see the similarities that each industry faces, it follows: Call for interest, formulate, approve, review, report, review the review, determine if real, and review if the review equals very little intervention other than a market correction and then all care and no responsibility taken.  And, what if each industry could review the performance of the politician and review that appointment?



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