This story has been brewing now for a few days….

http://www.cbc.ca/news/business/kobe-steel-falsification-1.4364499

The upshot of it, basically is, that Kobe Steel was caught cooking up false certs on material that they were producing. You can just imagine what kind of a nightmare this presents with the customers that bought material from them. Even if they say that initially there are no safety concerns (based on their first assessments), who can really figure out how far down the line this went? It may actually take years to get to the bottom of this and even then it may only be after some calamity takes place unfortunately. At that point it will, at best, be a guessing game anyway.

This is obviously not the first time that something of this nature has happened. Of course, this is not limited to the metals industry. (Can you say Berni Madoff??)

Being at the top of your industry and having to constantly feed “the beast” is a highly unenviable position to be in and I am not at all jealous of of the mess that Kobe Steel has on their hands now. Being everything to everyone is a nasty business.

In a seemingly unrelated story,

http://www.carbuzz.com/news/2017/10/19/Volkswagen-Building-Electric-Race-Car-To-Set-New-Pikes-Peak-Record-7741605/

Volks Wagon is designing an electric vehicle that they claim will shatter the records for speed. Seems perfectly innocuous eh? Not so if you contrast that with this story – another one from VW:

https://www.inc.com/justin-bariso/by-publicly-insulting-elon-musk-volkswagens-ceo-revealed-his-companys-biggest-problem.html

The way it is being reported is that VW’s CEO “insulted” Elon Musk of Tesla. That characterization seems a bit sensational. Barrison’s point is well taken that you cannot compare the two companies because they are not playing in the same space. The problem though with this, is that VW seems to want to compete in a spot that they claim is not theirs.

….And now to make my point: When people (and companies) focus their efforts on the areas that they excel, they can be quite successful without having to get into a position where they have to do dumb things to keep things going. However, when you get into the rut of chasing someone else and becoming an ankle biter, especially in an area that is not your core expertise, you are asking for trouble.

Don’t get me wrong here, you have to innovate and grow, but you gotta keep your eye on the ball and not lose focus on what makes you best at what you do.

Ben