Part – 1
No doubt, as a business Company our aim would be to produce the best out of what we have or do. This can only be achieved by following appropriate principles and methodologies lied upon a well solidified and concreted structure spread on a reasonable size of framework. We need to make sure whether we are having the right number of work related and orientated departments, sections and units in the Company. Likewise the number of staffs, their wages, and other expenses within each of this department, section, and unit must be maintained and regulated within a reasonable limitation where in my opinion the first priority should be given to the income generating departments, sections and units.
According to the Annual Report 2008, there are 14 different departments in the Company, which are (1)Corporate department, (2)Human Resource Department, (3)Contracting Department, (4)Transport Service Department, (5)Thilafushi Business Department, (6)Sales Department, (7)Travel Bureau (this department was not mentioned on page 27 under the ‘Departments & Regional Offices’), (8)Rentals Department, (9)Marketing Department, (10)Information System department, (11)Procurement and Supply Department, (12)Financial and Management and Audit Department, (13)Legal and Assurance Department and (14)Accounts and Finance Department.
Each of these departments can either be categorised in to an active or a passive department. Obviously active represents the profit generating Departments whereas passive refers to the supportive work force. In any Company, Team or whatever we call it to a group of people who are trying to achieve a certain goal, they need to make sure that they have put qualified, energetic and trustworthy people at the very front raw, at the very active departments which comes into direct contact with the actual environment that decides or determines the final outcome or what we are trying to achieve. It’s not for any other reason that we find a talented striker being offered a higher payoff than a talented defender or a goal keeper in a football team. These people, who are the active work force, who are at the front raw, who are the trickers decide the actual profit or the outcome in whatever the game or job they are up to. So we have to think twice before we shuffle or do anything that may affect the active part of our Company.
When I look at the Departments mentioned in the 2nd paragraph, I think Departments 3, 4,5,6,7 and 8 are the profit generating or active ones in MTCC (or at least they are suppose to be profit generating departments). The rest are supportive workers who must facilitate and try to create a smooth environment for the profit generating Departments. Now, do we have this understanding, connection or the relation between our departments or between the so called ‘TEAM MTCC’. Are we all tuned to do what we really have to do?
On top of all these, do you think we really need all these departments? How many people at different levels with differently coloured salary packages do you think would be there in each of these departments? If what I have heard is true (sorry I don’t have a proof and I don’t know how far this is true), we will find more managers or ‘bosses’ or more people at these levels in supportive work force than at the active departments. And the salary of such a man or a lady bird would be roughly equal to or more than the salary of about 10 foreign labourers in a work site I guess. In other words, the supportive workforce is heavier than the active workforce, which I don’t think is an economically stable condition for a Company like MTCC. (Yes, If you are to count the number of foreign labourers in Contracting and other Departments who are paid about USD $100 or 150, you may find more people in active workforce. But this is not what I am referring to.) Active and passive departments alike, they seem to have too much senior staffs as mentioned in some of the previous articles or comments. I wish if someone can mention the number of manager level staffs or the senior staffs in these Departments. I myself failed to find out that.
Indeed, a company like MTCC needs a strong marketing department. How many people do you think are there in our Marketing Department and what do you suppose would be their mandate? As the name itself suggests anybody will guess that their role would be to market the Company’s services and products. “Main works carried out by the Department: Opened opportunities for external parties to advertise in ferry fleet”, says so in the 2008 Annual Report regarding the activities carried out in the year 2008. This is the only work they have specified in the report as something they have done in 2008. Well, I don’t know what else they have done and how much of their work was effective in selling the Company’s’ profile to the market. Does this sound satisfactory to you? What else do they do? Is participation in some promotional events once or twice a year enough? Irrespective of the performance, I guess there will be a HOD who will be paid a salary that is roughly equal to the total salary of the rest of the junior staffs in that Department. But I believe that there would be enough capable guys in marketing field to make this Department alive. Rather they are not motivated or given the chance.
Regarding the specific works carried out by the Corporate department, Annual Report 2008 mostly talks about compiling, facilitating and implementing some Articles of association of the Company and a corporate Governance Code. It also talks about a corporate bonus scheme to motivate the staffs. How much of these works came into existence during the year 2008? General works done throughout the year includes the administrative works of the company, organising international and domestic trips, maintenance works of the company etc. Tell me, what does MRF40,000 worth furniture for the department’s HOD has to do with the productivity of this Department? What else do you think other than farting can be done on that furniture?
A Legal Assurance Department which will be ‘responsible for all the legal issues of the company’ was formed on 3rd August 2008 according to the Annual Report 2008. Again on page 26 of the same Annual Report, under the heading ‘bankers, Auditors & lawyers’, the name ‘Muizzu, Suood and Co-Attorneys at Law’ is mentioned as Company’s lawyers. One thing I myself can’t convince is that while we are having a legal department responsible for all the legal issues of the company, do we still need a law farm to be there as our lawyers? Is it that the Department is too young or still the Company hasn’t got time to settle out these things or something wrong with my thinking? We have heard and seen few situations where some of the staffs who have been given higher under the company’s’ scholarship scheme had left the Company for better jobs. And from what I know MTCC was unable to settle these cases in a favourable way to the company. Why should it happen like that? Don’t they have legal agreements with MTCC? Is it an agreement or a piece of shit where both parties have signed? Otherwise why the hell on earth do you think it would happen like that? Not only it happens, it gets repeated and likely to get repeated in future even. Where the hell are our legal farms and advisors? (The present legal department may be too young to be blamed for this. From what I heard a goody goody lady bird (but she is not a legal advisor I guess) nesting at the 5th town of male’ is mostly responsible for these cases.)
We do have a Financial and Management Audit Department who ‘strengthen the internal control procedures of the company. …….undertakes the internal audit of the department’s in regular intervals throughout the year’, according to the Annual Report 2008. Again, as mentioned before under the heading ‘bankers, Auditors & lawyers’, the name ‘pricewaterhouse Coopers’ is noted as the internal auditor. May be we do have a genuine reason to have these internal auditors. But I wonder if much of the corruption and other payments made under the table are being notified and corrected by any of these auditors.
Most of us know how the fairy tale of the so called ‘Travel bureau’ began during the time of Athif Shukoor. Rather than diverging the business of MTCC, this Department was formed to provide a highly paid job for a ‘one and only human being’ found by Athif Shukoor. As far as I know that guy was given a high salary that didn’t fit to any of the existing policy of the company.
Whether obvious or dubious, believable or unbelievable I feel that we don’t really need all these departments. Some of these small Departments can be more effectively run as units under the roof of one department. Few of them are even close to achieve what they really have to achieve. As for the Travel bureau, I would say some of these departments are formed just to give higher positions to some bosom staffs of MD (current or previous). So finally we are left with a heavy supportive work force or too much senior staffs who are highly paid though they don’t have much responsibilities or work to do other than gossiping in tea rooms and fighting for new highly paid positions.
To be continued……