Browsing through the book shelves in the management books section of our library, I came across a small book with a unique name - The Ice Cream Maker. The spine even had a tiny picture of an Ice cream cone! My first reaction was that probably someone has misplaced a story book in the management section. I looked at the name of the author – Subir Chowdhury. It was not a familiar name. However, the book seemed well worn out and I was intrigued. So, I pulled it out and read the front cover – It said – An inspiring tale about making quality the key ingredient in everything you do. I realized that this is not a story book, or may be a management book masquerading as a story book.
Subir Chowdhury is an expert in quality and processes. This is a story, fictional I guess, in which the protagonist is a manager in charge of an Ice-Cream manufacturing unit which is a profit centre on its own and is responsible for sales and marketing as well. The unit is not doing well and the owner is contemplating to sell it off or shut it down. Everything seems to be going wrong with the Ice-Cream factory. Their sales were dropping. Their quality was bad. The people were de-motivated and cynical.
That is when the protagonist finds a mentor, who is the manager of a large retail store in their town. He visits him and asks for his guidance. The subsequent story is about how the Ice-Cream Factory is turned around and finally sales soar and our protagonist gets a promotion.
A very lovable acronym – LEO is introduced in the book.
· L stands for Listen. Listen to your customers ( and employees as well!)
· E stands for Enrich. Enrich your products and services (innovate)
· stands for Optimize. Optimize the customer experience
Here are a few more quotes from the book –
- · If you sell something, you have customers
- · Most companies are better at delivering “excitement” than at serving customers’ “basic” needs
- · You need to think about how to improve your product or service every day
- · Recognize the price of failure
- · Get absolutely dogged on the details
- · Develop productive paranoia
- · Instill a passion for perfection in your team
- · The real measure of performance is not how you do at your best, but how you do at your worst.
Overall, this was a very light read. It does not introduce any new concepts or ideas that you do not know. But it is a good refresher into how some of the basics of quality can be introduced in your team/operations.