I am dismayed and disappointed at the seeming lack of supervision and management of important services to the public here in Malaysia. A recent front page story in a main stream newspaper is a case in point. It informed readers of the shocking discovery of thousands of discarded letters in a ravine in Kuala Lumpur. Apparently, this dumping of letters had been going on for over a year! The alleged culprits are three postmen!
A Matter of Indifference
This is not something new to me. When I was heading an international professional body then based in Petaling Jaya, I was one day informed by telephone by a kind hearted coffee shop owner that there were literally hundreds of magazines addressed to members of that professional body dumped unceremoniously in the back lane behind that coffee shop. I subsequently sent one of my staff to retrieve those magazines and informed Pos Malaysia. I did not receive an explanation or an apology from Pos Malaysia over that incident. I have heard of similar such stories from other people.
Then again, you have the situation in the drive in payment counters set up by Tenaga Nasional ( National Power Company ) in New Town, Petaling Jaya. There are thoughtfully two such drive in counters but invariably only one is open even in the mornings. It is common to see a long line of individuals in cars and riders on motor bikes waiting their turn to make payments.
Supervisors & Managers: Missing In Action
The idea is certainly good to have drive in counters but the implementation often seems to be haphazardly done and without due consideration. Where are the so called supervisors and managers in these organisations? Do they remain comfortable in their air-conditioned offices? Do they not check and see how the service is being carried out from time to time? Do these supervisors and managers ever carry out surprise checks to determine the service levels?
Inconsistent Level of Service
In a few banks too, we can sometimes see about seven counters but only three are being manned! Are four personnel on leave at the same time or are they on an extended coffee break?
These many counters show good, advanced planning but oftentimes what follows is poor implementation. Again, I question the lack of supervision or managerial oversight in these situations. These are not some remote, rural branches where there are few customers to deal with…these are busy city branches. It shows a lack of seriousness and commitment to deal with the issues.
These so called supervisors and managers are just that in name only but when it comes to carrying out their very responsibilities, they seem reluctant to get on with the job.
Gold Standard of Service
In this regard, I think the Malaysian Immigration Department does a good job of monitoring the flow of passengers arriving and departing from our international airports. They have senior officers monitoring the flow of passengers departing from KLIA as well as passengers arriving. They seem to be on the ball, open more counters when need be and assign staff to man these counters in a speedy and efficient way. This is the gold standard way supervisors and managers ought to operate. Not remotely and in a disinterested sort of manner.
I do hope that we can really look forward to seeing supervisors and managers get to grips with their jobs not because the public is noticing you but because you actually take pride and professionalism seriously. We need supervisors and managers to get actively involved, raise the bar in terms of standards and aim for excellence on a regular basis.