That is both a good and a bad thing. For one, the concept of getting the most "bang for your buck" has resulted in much outsourcing and offshoring in the past few years. Are those companies more productive overseas than those in the US? No. What they are is less expensive and really if somebody can build a product overseas and ship it here for less than it would cost to build it here, then they are going to do so. Anybody that plans to not try to compete in this way had better have a strong niche market that is focused on their products. Say Harley Davidson for example. People around the world love Harley, the image it creates, and so on. They can still be competitive paying a premium on wages and parts.
However, most companies don't have a product that sells in that manner, and having a competitive price is a factor. If it wasn't, why would Dell be putting out desktops for $450?
So the questions that I have to ask myself are:
- What kind of value do I bring to an organization?
- How can I grow to provide more value?
When I answer these questions truthfully, it first of all lets me see just how important I am to my company (because if I don't bring value, why am I there?). Or unimportant, if I'm not producing. Along with that, it also tells me if I am doing what I need to be doing with the company. If they hired me for X and that creates value for them, if I find myself doing more of Y which they find less important than I need to go back in and refine exactly what it is I am doing to bring myself inline with what they need.
That is one of the values of using Six-Sigma, and well, several other quality methodologies. They point you to the customer and their needs. Where you go from there is an effort to meet their needs, and not what you view their needs to be. You can create the most amazing product, process, etc.. and if it isn't what they wanted or needed, what real value have you created? You haven't, and those of us with grandiose thoughts and ideas need to keep them to ourselves if tapping in to them won't bring an additional value play to the customer (internal or external).
I'm digressing a bit. The main point is value creation, and what it is that you do for your company. This is a busy world and we have so much going on that it is easy to forget what our priorities are. It is never wrong to spend a little while and think about what your purpose at work is (from your companies perspective..) and determining just how well you are accomplishing that.