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The Rupp Report: Power To The People

Jürg Rupp, Executive Editor

Some two decades ago, the European textile machinery suppliers started to sell machines to the Far East. First, these machines were quite old-fashioned models, and the quality of the products was somewhat mediocre. Eventually the customers — the producers in the Far East — wanted the same top models as the rest of the world. Then, the machinery suppliers sold them the top models, and the Europeans said, off the record, they now have the machines in the Far East, but they will never succeed in producing the same quality. It's all about experience and people, they said with amusement. But, over the years, the people in these countries have learned how to handle top models to produce competitive qualities. And the rest of the story is well-known today, and the rest of the world isn't amused anymore. It was all about people.

Remember the Foxconn experience a few months ago? Foxconn is a major supplier of all competitive — or cheap — communication systems, such as cell phones and other systems, for any brand around the world. They were trapped in a vicious cycle to supply the cheapest products. And who was suffering? The workers at Foxconn. But, all of a sudden, something changed in the consciousness of the people. And the management didn't take the power of the people — that is, the customers — into account: They were forced to increase the salary of the employees.

It's The People
In the last few weeks, people in certain parts of the world have ignited a fire, demanding more respect and dignity for themselves. Viewers sitting breathlessly in front of the TV screen saw it was obvious that for some people, enough was enough. People have resisted the power and force of the rulers, and, in some regions, the the people have won — so far. It has been amazing to see that more and more people are getting up and fighting for their rights.It has also been strange in some ways to see that some leaders in so-called democratic countries didn't know how to handle the new situation. You are right, dear reader, it is definitely not the job of the Rupp Report to become a political column or to judge whether this is right or wrong. However, it was amazing to see that more and more people got up and fought for their rights. You may say: wait a minute, where is the link to the business world in general and our textile industry in particular? As you may have realized above, there is a very strong link to people everywhere, not just machinery. And the human brain is definitely not a machine.

Société Anonyme
There is one particular term that explains today's world very well: S.A., or Société Anonyme. S.A. is the French abbreviation for Incorporated — it means "anonymous society." And there is the feeling also that not only certain political leaders, but also many business leaders in the past few years have given the impression that they treat their people like a S.A. But the average citizens don't want to be part of a Société Anonyme. They want to be people.

February 22, 2011