Those who follow developments at ICA might have read on our website that we are dealing with extended delivery times3 for our products. We believe that ICA is not the only firm affected by this, but not many other companies in our industry seem to be commenting on the matter. Should we be honest about this issue with our customers and partners or stick our heads in the sand and keep quiet? According to a certain tile saying, it is better to tell the truth or eventually someone will tell it for you.
The extended delivery times sparked an interesting discussion at ICA. While certain colleagues thought being honest with our customers was a good idea, others argued that it was unnecessary.
I have been waiting for a set of bangles for four weeks. When I ordered online, there was no mention of a possible delay. Is it then right for the customer to express their frustration on social media? Was it fair that the website did not mention possible delays? Is the company misleading customers? Is not stating it outright an indirect way of being dishonest? It is generally accepted that staying silent is dishonest when you are asked directly and answer that you do not know (when you do). A tile saying for this would be figures don’t lie, but liars do figure.
Between 2012 and 2013, some 2,531 people in the United Kingdom were surveyed about whether they sometimes lie. When I read the publication of the results4, I instantly wondered to what degree respondents had actually answered truthfully. The study made no distinction between people saying a straight-out ‘no’ in their daily lives when they should have answered ‘yes’ and telling a white lie. It also showed that 31% of participants admitted to most regularly lying at work. Isn’t that something…
The study also indicated, and this is no word of a lie, that men are three times as likely to lie as women. An interesting fact to take into account in the office or at the coffee machine. A questionable tile saying here would be men would not lie so much if women did not ask so many questions.
Returning to the extended delivery times affecting the Dutch economy, not every business chooses to stay silent and some sectors do actually report on the matter. Supply Chain Magazine talks5 about a “scarcity of materials increasingly hampering Dutch industry”. Beglobal6 advises ordering Christmas hampers and gifts well ahead of time. In its latest sector analysis, the ING Economic Research Department7 states that stocks are shrinking and cost prices are rising faster than sales prices, putting pressure on profit margins. The COVID pandemic is obviously to blame. A corresponding tile saying we like to use at ICA is that there is no such thing as too much stock.
Because ICA communicates transparently and openly with customers and partners, we have decided to be honest about the shortage of containers and lorries and extended delivery times. The fact that our stakeholders value this information confirms we made the right move. The better you know your customers, the easier it is to judge what information they require. In addition, it is important to know what information to share with which people. Although not everything needs to be shared, according to Aristotle: “All that one gains by falsehood is not to be believed when he speaks the truth.”
4 The most common lies that men tell | Daily Mail Online
5 Leveringsproblemen voor bijna één op de vijf productiebedrijven
6 Oplopende levertijden houden aan (beglobal.nl)
7 Industrie herstelt in 2021 – ING – Kennis over de economie