‘Complexity is the coward’s way out’

Every day our lives are complicated by complexity, from instructions we can’t follow to lengthy forms we never read. In 1980 the typical credit card contract was 400 words long, and today, many are 20,000 words. The Wall Street Journal did a fascinating story about the need for simplicity and cited some companies that are offering relevant choices in the face of increasing complexity.

The authors, Alan Siegel and Irene Etzkorn, brilliantly called complexity the “coward’s way out.” According to Ponemon Institute, “fine print” in the form of hidden fees cost the average consumer $900 a year. Rather than make things clearer for customers, most businesses are naturally inclined to take the path of least resistance with amendments and exclusions.

There are some companies, however, that have found that simplicity works best.

One example is Trader Joes. The supermarket offers only 4,000 items instead of 40,000 offered by competiting supermarkets. The grocer has found success in sparing shoppers the aggravation of having to sort through dozens of options. According to Fortune Magazine, Trader Joe’s doubled the sales per square foot of larger rival Whole Foods Market in 2010.

The article identifies specific characteristics of companies that do simplicity well:

“There is nothing simple about simplicity, and achieving it requires following three major principles: empathizing (by perceiving others’ needs and expectations), distilling (by reducing to its essence the substance of one’s offer) and clarifying (by making the offering easier to understand or use).”

Another example in the article is that of Cleveland Clinic, which has eliminated paperwork nightmares in favor of clearer, more human communications to enhance the patient experience. The nonprofit medical center focused not just on simplifying medical care, but really understanding the expectations of patients. Today the hospital is rated as one of the top four hospitals in the United States by U.S. News & Report.

“One of the keys to achieving empathy is feedback,” the article said. “The hospital gatheres lots of it from patients and displays the data in patient experience ‘dashboards.’ For staff members eager to do well in comparison with their peers, ‘Bedside Manner’ has become a measurable attribute, not an intangible quality.”

At Master Power Transmission, we aim to drive improvement by simplifying. With our easy-to-follow literature and replacement charts, we choose not to hide behind a veil of complexity. Our durable AGMA-rated gearboxes can easily serve your constant or variable speed needs.

We encourage you to check out the full Wall Street Journal story.

Find out how easy it is to find a replacement gearbox or part by reaching out to one of our Product Specialists at 888-616-1094 or email customerservice@master-pt.com.