The Chaos – 2

The big Noodles brand confirmed a big business with us. It took weeks of arduous efforts and follow-ups to close this business. We had to go through several rounds of sampling and our guys could not get it right. Just at the point it appeared that the customer is losing interest, somehow by miracle, the production manager submitted the right sample! I must thank my stars.

The big business did not enthuse many. The day the business got confirmed, I contacted the VP to tell about it and to ask to him start production. He just blasted me on phone “sitting in the office, you create confusion….I need to be told 3 months in advance about new orders….you don’t give me any plan…and suddenly call one day and say that the business is booked”. I had no clue what he was trying to say. Does he not want to execute the business? Or is his jealousy over my success speaking?

CEO got very much excited. He was excited so much that he called all and sundry in the factory to work on this order, except VP. Why was CEO avoiding to talk to VP?

The Director congratulated me for this business, but then also instructed me that I should make sure that the order is executed without hiccups. So I was advised that I should ‘sit on the head” of the VP on daily basis. CEO’s lack of communication with the VP and the Director’s strange instruction did hint at something.


On a Sunday, CEO spoke to me on Phone from somewhere from Sonipat. He said to me that he was on a survey accompanied by the supplier RNC. On Monday, when he met me he talked like Sherlock Homes. He proudly boasted that he has discovered a scam being authored by VP in collaboration with the Purchasing Manager.

The company had entered into a purchase contract with a farmer in Sonipat area for supply of some raw material. RNC (the supplier) got to know from his sources that the person whom we have contracted with is not a farmer, he is actually a trader. On hearing this from RNC, CEO suspected something fishy and decided to travel to the area himself. His investigations have led him to believe that VP and Purchasing Manager are getting a cut from the trader cum farmer. CEO said that he is in possession of some documentary evidence to corroborate his finding.

Soon there were murmurs all around of imminent disciplinary action on VP. I wondered how everyone in the organization is in the know of it. I always thought such things are done in total discretion, since there is a senior manager is involved. While having lunch with one of the ants, I learned CEO had boasted of his investigative skills to everyone in the office. Factory guys do have a couple of eyes and ears in the office in the form of Ants. It must not have taken much time for this rumour to reach VP’s ears.


In one of my daily morning meetings, CEO told me that he is going to meet the Chairman (The man who owns the company!) in the next few days to brief about VP’s activities and get sanction to remove him. Can’t the Director himself give him that sanction? I asked him. The reply was: If anyone above the Manager level is to be dismissed, the Chairman’s formal approval is required.


Next few days, CEO did not turn up. He was hospitalized for some stomach related ailment.


On one of the days when CEO was in hospital, VP came to corporate office unannounced. I heard later (from the Ants) that he had an audience with the Chairman along with one of the Cartel Members. The information was that the Chairman had met with VP for 30 mts and listened to his grouses against CEO’s style of working. It is also alleged that a dossier was handed over to the Chairman, listing the ‘mis-deeds’ of CEO. It was not clear if he had complained against the Director.


The CEO who was recuperating returned to office and went into a huddle with the Director. What transpired from then on is not very clear.


CEO did not call me to his chamber for morning meetings for a few days. Whatever I wanted to discuss with him on business matters were all done over phone. His Secretary mentioned to me that he has sought time with the chairman, but he has not got time. The CEO kept waiting for the Chairman’s appointment.

The Chaos – 1

Since last one year, the CEO and Director were backing a particular supplier whom they want to see emerging as a strategic supplier. The duo have been trying in several ways and methods to push through this supplier. But due to unknown reasons, this supplier always met with resistance from the cartel, VP and the purchasing manager.  The operations’ guys went on finding one problem or the other in his supplies. Invariably, on each episode CEO and Director intervened to resolve the issues in favour of the supplier. Let us call this supplier RNC.

The recent case was that he supplied poor quality raw material to a toll processing location.  The toll processor refused to accept any responsibility as the material was supplied by us and our QA representatives were present in the location.

RNC vehemently refused to accept this allegation. His argument was that the rejection was notified to him only after 24 hours of supply. The Raw material being perishable in nature, the rejections have to be informed then and there, as the suppliers’ representative was present on the point of supply. RNC alleged that our QA representative informed him on phone as well as to his representative in person that material is good and he is clearing the material. But the next day morning the Purchase Manager called him on phone to inform that raw material had yellow spots, so the end product is also having yellow spots.

RNC said that after the trucks reached the toll processing unit on that particular day, he immediately called the Purchasing Manager on phone and asked if everything is in order. The Purchasing manager informed him the trucks had arrived  but he was waiting for QA’s clearance. RNC alleged that he again called up the purchasing manager after sometime and asked him “is everything in order?” to which the purchasing manager alleged to have replied “yes, all is well, no problem”. RNC further alleged that he did not receive any call until the next day morning to be told that 12 tonnes of raw material were of bad quality.

Purchasing manager told that he informed 12 tonnes rejection on the same day evening, but RNC refused to take back the goods and seemed to have uttered a few expletives during the phone call. Because RNC’s outburst, the Purchasing manager did not take further calls from RNC. As the material will get spoiled fully if not processed, the operations’ team decided to use up the raw material despite the yellow spot problem. So out of the total material produced at the toll processor’s facilities, around 12-15 tonnes are sub-standard and may not be accepted by the customers. This made butterflies fly in my stomach, made me wonder for a few minutes how I would be able to dispose of this 12-15 tonnes. After 5-6 months, these operational goof-ups would be forgotten, and the poor sales guy would be under guillotine for not being able to dispose of the material.

To me, many of the arguments and the counter-arguments put forward by RNC’s side and the Operations’ side did not tally in full.

Isn’t the raw material quality inspection a serious matter? isn’t it prudent that any quality deviation especially during a stage when it can be avoided be disposed off through appropriate and prompt action as quickly as possible? Why the delay in communicating to the party? Even if it was informed the same day evening as claimed by the purchasing manager, it was still not acceptable.

From the sketchy narration by both sides reveal that our guys forgot the standard operating procedures and RNC has no clue how a professional supplier will resolve such stalemate. RNC like a crying child, complained about all these to CEO and the Director. Both felt that some kind of injustice is being meted out to this fledgling supplier.

The director in his concluding remarks found blame with VP who had become dormant when these incidents were unfolding. The director also voiced the suspicion that the toll processor may have also played dirty in it, as his own production was also going on simultaneously with that of ours in his factory. The director said that we should have agreed for toll processing arrangement with the party only with the condition that our production will take place exclusively on the days he does not do his own production.

The points exchanged seemed to have contained subtle overtone. An indifferent observer could make out easily that the  CEO / Director combination was trying to nail down the VP for his omissions and commissions. They seemed to be in search of subtle clues of collusion between Purchasing Manager and VP. Throughout the meeting, VP was a man of few words. He wanted to emit the perception that he was not handling this and it was being managed entirely by Purchasing Manager and the other Cartel members.

Purchasing Manager was a glib talker. But one can’t help sensing rehearsed quality in his words. I think that for normal human beings, it is very difficult to stay unemotional when allegations are flying left, right and centre.

RNC got emotional many times, at times so emotional that he swore on kids that he was not lying. The purchasing manager to me appeared a bit guarded and appeared unmoved by RNC’s allusion of him lying.

The meeting ended a bit inconclusive. Both RNC and the Purchasing Manager were asked to shake hands. VP appeared nonchalant. I did not fail to notice that he ate very little during the joint lunch that we had after the meeting.