April 10; Not-for-profit Management Relationship In a For-profit World
MANAGEMENT BY THE BOOK:
365 Daily Bible Verse &
One-Minute Management Lessons For The Busy Faithful

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Chapter Four: Relationships; 10 April

The King will reply, ‘Truly I tell you, whatever you did

for one of the least of these brothers and sisters of mine,

you did for me.’

Matthew 25:40

Not-for-profit Management Relationship In a For-profit World

Goodwill

Raymond Dunn, Jr. was born in 1975 with a skull fracture. He was blind and mute and couldn’t move. He would have twenty seizures a day. But he lived. He was a wanted child. He was a valuable child.

Gerber_logoHe had a restrictive diet that could only tolerate a particular meat-based formulae that was manufactured solely by Gerber. Other competitive substitutions did not work: they made Raymond sicker.

***

Peter Drucker said that the purpose of business is to create a customer. The business relationship must be managed with the customer.

And sometimes the relationship is not profitable when tallied by traditional accounting methods.

Gerber may not have known about Raymond when management decided to discontinue the product “line” due to no real sales in 1985. Demand was low. The market had a universe of one customer.

The last of the product made its way through the pipeline and was soon exhausted. Dunn’s parents searched the country looking in every Gerber outlet to get the remaining stock.

By 1990 it was all gone. Something had to be done. Without that certain food, starvation would follow. His mother contacted Gerber’s leadership. There were few options.

Gerber was willing to give away their intellectual property to any company who would manufacture for Raymond. But no one was able, available or willing to take on a new market, an orphan product, for a single customer.

It fell to the people of Gerber. It was do or the child would die.

The company’s employees would donate time and talent to produce the special product.

Gerber nutritionist Dr. Sandra Bartholmey said simply, “It seemed like the right thing to do.”

A production line was set up. The old equipment was refurbished. Gerber’s experts worked to get permission from the Food and Drug Administration (FDA) for the unique sustenance.  Volunteers worked hundreds of hours for Raymond, the “Gerber Boy.”

***

There may or may not be an immediate, profitable reward. But there is a lesson for the consumer: if a company’s management will do this for one child, how much more will they do for an entire market.

How can a manager change the world? One tiny market segment at a time.

Raymond’s mother said, “I’m proud he was my son. I’m grateful God gave me that honor. I wouldn’t have traded it.” He made the world a better place.

Raymond died at age 20 in 1995.

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