Thursday, September 18, 2008

Honda Whites

I had the pleasure of visiting a Lotus Notes customer today and briefing them on what is coming up in the forthcoming Notes/Domino 8.5 as well as Quickr, Sametime and Connections. That isn't particularly unusual, I spend a lot of my time ensuring that our customers are aware of upcoming features in new versions of our software and indeed our new collaborative and social offerings.

But what I really enjoy is finding out about our customers. They are all unique and vary from International Airlines to 5 people Internet start ups, film makers to police forces, Universities to chocolate makers. Today I was at a manufacturing plant of a well known worldwide car maker based in Swindon. The main thing that struck me was that all the employees were wearing identical white uniforms.

This would not normally be worthy of comment. Many manufacturing sites mandate that their staff wear protective uniforms. What was unusual here was that everyone from engineers, secretary's to Senior Management all wear the same white uniforms. So in my meeting today all the IT staff were wearing the same white uniform with their name on the left and the company name on the right. It made it very easy to be able to identify the IBMers from the Customers :-)

It was really interesting to walk down a corridor and see some folks who were clearly very hands on in the manufacturing process wearing the same clothes as some executive carrying a laptop and a briefcase. Apparently the uniform is referred to as Honda Whites. And before you think that this uniformity stifles individually I can tell you that the folks I met were full of character, and also one of the guys name badge read "Gadget". "Funny name" I said. "It's my nic name" he replied. "I like Gadgets".


Nick said...

Hi Andy,

I have the very same customer in Thailand, where we do all there Notes stuff for them even service and administer their Domino Servers. Also do Notes development for them. In Thailand they have 7 different companies. Covering R & D to motorcycle production as well as cars.

By the way this is very common for all staff to ware the same uniform, in Thailand, we have a LOT of Japanese companies and they are all the same. As you say its very strange sitting down in a meeting and the MD is wearing the same cloths as the junior IT chap.

Anonymous said...

You didn't take that pic while you were there, did you? :)

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