The Last Mile

The last Mile is a common expression in the telecommunication world which refers to the cable that connects every singe user with the entire network.
This is something every manager should be thinking about.
The last mile, in some countries, is charged to the final user who is actually getting connected to the network.
Despite it is not easy to get access to statistics of how much the last mile cost is compared to the entire network cost, it is not a secret that connecting each and every user doesn’t take advantage of scaled economies and absorbs a good amount of all the costs of the entire infrastructure.
 The choice to charge the final user with this cost is a compromise which have been accepted is most of the cases.
This is something the managers should have to worry about.
This balance is based on the final user willingness to get connected, so it is ok in having the cost on his side.
Should the final user unwill to get connected, then that cost goes entirely on the system provider’s wallet, and this would challenge the provider with the additional uncertainty if the final user of every single case will then use the connection or not.

I know you are asking yourself: “why does the last mile cost fit with the management topics?”.
It fits because we should start in thinking how many times the last mile is the missing part of our beautiful system that, unfortunately, got abandoned somewhere.
Moreover, are not the final users of a business systems those who ask clear and loud to get connected. Not all of them. Someone would not get the connection at all. This means the cost of the last mile has to be accounted into the system provider’s side, especially under the “effort” cost center.
Let’s think to the last mile as that part of effort which is mandatory to have the management system connecting everyone and everywhere.
No, I’m not thinking about the written procedures, but at all the extra effort that takes to have all the members of the same group working with synch.
And should we expand this to the entire organization then will be so easy to see how much effort has to be accounted to connect the last mile of the system before to get a synced effort out from each and every member of the system.
Think now about how many times it may have happened or will happen to see very good systems on the will failing miserabily on the do, as they’re not well connected with all the individuals.
They won’t work, easy no?
This is not even the typical scenario in which the final user will take the cost of the last mile over him, not in the business world inside the same organization.
What to do, so?
Well, management has to be in charge of the last mile cost. What does this means?
It means that it is not enough to write SOPs to have the final users connected, it is not enoug to send an email to have the the individual wired to the system, it is not enough to attach a sign on the wall to create the communication bridge, it is not enough.
The system may also be the most perfect one, But without the last mile will stay as an isolated, ineffective system, other than a source of frustrations.
The cost of the last mile is that cost which management have to feel immediately on their own skin, it is acting to provide the behavioral example, it is being instead of saying, it is coaching, it is following up instead of rewarding, it is supporting the teammates, it is making sure every message has been propery perceived, it is to realize that the cost is on their own side, not on the user side like in telecommunications.
Otherwise the system will be a pure waste.
The cost is a lot on the effort side, maybe more that the cost of the system itself. Nevertheless, without having this cost fully covered it may make no sense to start with new management systems as the last mile is not a nice to have piece of it.
Avoiding the easy satisfaction which may come from a beautifully implemented system, let’s enjoy the more satisfactory feeling of having the people using it, fully connected with all of them.
I don’t know if you are right now working on a system which requires the last mile connection, or if it happened in your past experiences. let’s try anyway to ask “did you connect the last mile?” to those who are complaining about people who don’t use their beautiful system. This may not become a common saying, but the expressions on their faces will be worth the question.
Ivan







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