Cost cutting in the office – really do we not know where the problem really is?

I was supposed to Cameroon in October, but it has been cancelled. They have to protect the bottom line apparantley so all travel plans are on hold until next year. I didn’t really want to go but my boss insisted because of some challenges that we have had there. He fails to realize that the challenge is the people not the country, but hey, I have to do my job.

Then this message is sent to the team:

Sent: 22 September 2011 15:36
Importance: High

Just FYI information.
No need to pass on. Meaning somethings would be given extra scrutiny from my side. This is our contribution to achieve our bottom line for the business.

However from my point of view, if something is really needed we have to make the point and discuss with concerned stakeholders. The DRP workshop for example, is a need.

Food for thought…

Additionally let’s profile our role. In the first DSP e-Academy course, one point was clear. Being providers of value adding “information” versus number crunchers. In some areas this realization is coming which is good. In others we have some steps to go . I am sure we would with the right attitude!!

How? By showing where we are bringing value both to the bottom line and the top line of the business through our activities. We have to start moving away from only cases to value also. We are doing this but we have to now consciously and more often do it.

Meaning we would be challenging ourselves more but we have to be doing things in a smarter way which is not adding extra work to our work schedule already…..

Can we consolidate MFR/MOR in a easier and more efficient way to allow for more analysis? Can we do the Weekly Snapshot in a easier way?

So we can focus more on analysis and scenario planning?

I am seeing a lot of functional leadership in our areas also. We all have to pitch in and contribute our part towards a high performing team.


From: ,Chef de Région RACO
Sent: Tuesday, September 20, 2011 6:53 PM
To: Managers
Importance: High

Dear managers,

I write to you today with good news and less good news. Let’s start with the good news.

We have had a very good 2011 so far, with results in terms of RIG and OG greatly exceeding almost all of our targets despite the difficulties in Côte d’Ivoire. Our top line results are truly an extraordinary achievement and we must be proud of ourselves. The year is not finished yet for sure but I want to already thank you for your efforts and contribution on this excellent achievement.

Now for the less good news. Unfortunately, where we are having difficulty is with our profitability. In the majority of categories and countries, we haven’t been able to meet our OP1 targets and we have witnessed a huge gap between the August DF sent by the countries and categories verses the agreed targets. To make matters even worse, we have just received a very clear directive from the Group that we are being called upon to deliver substantially more than this last agreed landing target. Some regions and businesses in the Group are underperforming and so we (and all the Zone AOA markets) are being requested to show our solidarity by delivering more. This new OP1 target must be reflected in our September DF which we will submit in a few days.

As a result, the following measures will be enforced everywhere:

1- ALL PFME activities that are not engaged/committed will be cancelled with immediate effect
2- ALL TTS activities that are not engaged/committed will be cancelled with immediate effect
3- ALL fixed costs (factories, distribution, MOGEs) will be reviewed with the aim to find substantial cost savings
4- ALL extra opportunities for new/advanced price increases will be identified and taken
5- ALL opportunities to improve the product mix will be implemented
6- ALL cost saving initiatives from Procurement must materialise into this year’s P/L
7- ALL training and travelling costs for the last quarter will be scrutinised
8- ALL leave that can be taken by you and your reports must be taken to reduce the vacation provision

Every country and category is being called on to deliver an improvement of 130 bps minimum at OP1 level in the September DF as compared to that of August. This means that all hands are needed on deck. All of us must contribute with solidarity. In addition to personally driving the momentum in our teams, we must also manage our SAP personnel files accurately and reduce overheads with small actions like turning off the lights and the A/C in our offices and rest rooms; thereby setting good examples for those around us and setting the right mindset.

In the Region, a small working group composed of Renzo Gianonne, Benny-Jean Laryea, Maame Quarm, Mohamed Kobena, Mehmet Demir and a few others will be specifically tasked to follow up and to ensure that all necessary steps be taken to deliver on our new profitability target.

Please understand that whether we like it or not, this is an instruction sent from the top management of the Group and that we have to do the maximum to deliver with our usual solidarity, discipline and commitment.

When we were confronted with the seemingly insurmountable challenge of the Côte d’Ivoire crisis in the first quarter of the year, things looked bleak. Yet we have achieved top line results far exceeding our expectations. If there is one thing that I have learnt about this team it is that we have a huge capacity for greatness. I am fully confident that in approaching this additional burden as a team, the majority of our work is done.

I am expecting that you all take this matter very seriously and that you immediately discuss it with your line manager(s) in order to get things in motion. We will consolidate all information received during the week and will decide if further measures are necessary.

Best regards.


Team spirit – Business mindset – Performance – Ambition
Trust – Respect – Clarity – Action

Not so bothered as mum is coming the following week and I can now just take my leave and get my house ready for her. So I take the message below as a blessing rather than a loss of my per-diem…lol

However my point in sending this is because in my office alone all but one of the directors and a substantial amount of their direct reports are from outside of the continent, Europe, Australia, etc… Which means they are paid in addition to their salary, ‘inconvenience allowance’ plus I am sure they get some extra ‘danger money’ for working in Africa, that in addition to the house, car, driver, house maid, garden boy, pool man, nanny, private school tuition and the list goes on.

We are paying for Sattelite TV as Nescafe has sponsored the Rugby World Cup, how many Africans watch Rugby, I only have access to the local TV channels and I have not seen one game being showed.

If they really need to protect the bottom line, I can tell you me travelling to another West African country is a small dent in comparison to what is being wasted on non-added value sporting events and to bring in an ‘expert’ to work in a position that an experienced local or even local expatriate could do.

But who am I to talk, mine is just to follow the rules.

I wonder in the countries where the majority of employees are locally staffed.

About efiasworld

A British Born Ghanaian navigating her way through life.
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