Seth says: The factory in the centre


 

Old time factories had a linear layout, because there was just one steam engine driving one drive shaft. Every machine in the shop had to line up under the shaft (connected by a pulley) in order to get power.

That metaphor extended to the people working in the factory. Each person was hired and trained and arranged to maximize output. The goal was to engage the factory, to feed it, maintain it and have it produce efficiently.

Distribution was designed in sync with the factory. You wanted to have the right number of trucks and drivers to handle whatever the factory produced and to get it where it needed to go.

Marketing was driven by the factory as well. The goal of marketing was to sell whatever the factory could produce in a given month, for as little as possible.

And things like customer service and community relations were expenses, things you did in order to keep the factory out of trouble.

So…

What happens when the factory goes away?

What if the organization has no engine in the centre that makes something. What if that’s outsourced? What if you produce a service or traffic in ideas? What happens when the revolution comes along (the post-industrial revolution) and now all the value lies in the stuff you used to do because you had to, not because you wanted to?

Now it doesn’t matter where you sit. Now it doesn’t matter whether or not you’re adding to the efficiency or productivity of the machine. Now you don’t market to sell what you made, you make to satisfy the market. Now, the market and the consumer and idea trump the system.

Suddenly, the power is in a different place, and the organization must change or else the donut collapses.

The factory in the centre