Dickeson--Conducting Job Pathology
Is job pathology an academic exercise? No way. We're into the art of marketing analysis. We're looking at our own experience with work and customers. We have a steering wheel to drive our marketing machine. We have to find and fulfill needs at a profit. If we don't make a profit, we don't survive.
In order to survive, we must identify and optimize our "core competence" with the objectivity of solid data. What is it we do best and worst? Why is this? Equipment? Experience? Location?
Some jobs are dogs—trash jobs—while some are pussycats. Do we try to turn dogs into pussycats? We don't; we identify and foster our "core competence" knowing which is pussycat work. We gradually eliminate the trash jobs.
Without transaction costs applied to actual performance we don't have a compass to point the path to our core competence. We have nothing but a packet of anecdotes—stories we tell from our selective memories.
If we want to enter a new market and fulfill new or different needs, we must first define those needs and all of the nuances and peculiarities. Then we must ask what it takes to develop market competence. Next follows necessary research, development and testing. All the while we watch the actual job cost results to learn the truth of our entrepreneurial effort. We must find the path to a new job competence.
Isn't this the secret of highly profitable printing companies listed in the PIA ratio studies? Profit leaders find, develop and optimize core competencies using the statistical methods of actual job cost analysis.
Next time someone asks about your job cost system, don't just respond with a comment about your job cost estimating practices. Discuss the usages of your job cost analyses, benchmarks and resulting direction of your marketing efforts.
—Roger V. Dickeson