Habitual Tardiness Contributes To Inefficiency!

Have you ever heard of the excuse that, "Well it's Filipino time." However, being late is not Filipino time and should never be called as such, it's just plain tardiness. If you want to talk about Filipino time, we follow the time in the Philippines. If we meet at 3:00 P.M. in Filipino time, it's 3:00 P.M. in Filipino time. People should divorce the term "Filipino time" from tardiness. Tardiness is just tardiness no matter how much you invert it. Race is not the issue, it's all about timeliness. Besides, some Pinoy bosses won't hesitate to fire anyone who is habitually late.

Do you know why there is such a thing as a time table? Time tables were created by companies, sometimes it even undergoes the examination of experts such as industrial engineers to make sure that the time table (which might also be used in an assembly line) is efficient and effective. There are bottlenecks or constraints that need to be solved. Every last detail is being placed and allowances are given to make sure production or service is done on time. You might get an outline of tasks from 9:00 A.M. to 6:00 P.M. with a break in between and people who take turns in having their lunch breaks. That outline is usually followed strictly unless there are really inevitable times that U-turns must be made. But unless U-turns happen, the schedules must be strictly followed. Businessmen where big time or small time value time as a precious commodity.

In the business world, time is gold and there are opportunity costs you cannot afford to have. Sad to say but such a concept is very foreign among many Filipinos. Only a few Filipinos ever value punctuality and more of them decide to think it's okay to be late. What they do not realize is that tardiness really costs a lot of problems especially their superiors and fellow employees have a life to live. Every time they are late, they are telling everyone that they are Father Time's VIP, that people must adjust to them and they do not respect the schedule of others. It's very irritating to how Filipinos who are punctual are forced to work with Filipinos who are habitually late. Sad to say but the Philippines lives in a culture where most of the time, the lazy are rewarded and the diligent are punished. It's a major issue when you don't know how to value time.

Let us think of the assembly line model of the factory with various schedules to meet. Let's say the factory is open from 8:00 A.M. to 5:00 P.M. with lunch breaks in between. Just think if unloading must be done at 8:00 A.M. and that all raw materials must be in the factory's production room by 10:00 A.M. Now let's say that because of certain people having habitual tardiness, you get them arriving at 9:00 A.M. instead of the scheduled 8:00 A.M. That means, the raw materials can't meet the 10:00 A.M. deadline which causes inefficiency. Just a little lapse in meeting schedules can mean a lot of problems. Instead of meeting the daily quota, you may fail to meet the daily quota or two, if it is ever met, you might get a lot of defective work output in return. Sometimes I even wonder if Filipino products that fail to meet export quality, if ever, are they really a result of a company that tolerates habitual tardiness? Maybe the answer is yes because based on observation, tardiness ruins efficiency.

The same can be true for the service industry. When you open a restaurant, you need a full crew all prepped up by the time the restaurant is open for service. Let's just think how tardiness would actually slow down the process. Let's say the restaurant itself has five chefs each with a different task. Now what happens when even one of them arrives one hour later? You might expect that there will be multitasking which actually destroys quality control. Why is there a strict time schedule to follow? Just imagine the reality... it's not easy to multi-task. A process tasking kitchen can get things done better than a multitasking kitchen. A person can cook a meal for himself but you are talking about serving more than one customer at a time. It's foolishness not to value time process because customers won't want to return with poor service. It reminds me of why I even didn't decide to eat in a restaurant that charged ridiculously high prices and had very bad service.

Lastly, think that foreigners do not respect the idea of tardiness. You can tell them, "But it's Filipino time." but they can say, "Filipino time? We don't respect that." or "That's not Filipino time, it's just tardiness." When you are in business, both of you have time schedules to follow. For example, the businessman may want to meet you at 1;00 P.M. to 3:00 P.M. By 3:00 P.M., he has agreed to meet another business dealer. He has agreed to allocate two hours per investor. So let's say a person arrives at 2:00 instead, which again, how can a planned two hour meeting be effectively crammed in one hour? The idea is impossible so it's just best to cancel the business deal with people who are habitually late. As the saying goes, "The early bird catches the worm."


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