Golden Opportunities in Learning from Failures

Excerpt from the Speech delivered by Dr. Ma. Corazon G. Acaba during the convocation of the City of Himamaylan Monday, Negros Occidental, Philippines.

I readily accepted the invitation to talk on the occasion of your Monday gathering because I have very recent and relevant experience on the topic you assigned to me this morning. My experience is about the rise and fall of a cattle support industry (actually a baling facility in the outskirts of my birthplace La Castellana) which used to export “dry and compacted kumpay” to Japan 20 years back. This facility now lays idle, and the machinery is rusting and left dysfunctional.
This kumpay making factory has had its golden years and glorious past. It employed a lot of people to operate the shredding, drying and compacting operation. Also, the sugar planters did gain some profit from their kumpay which otherwise if unused, would merely be wasted to rot in the field. And down the line, several people profited from the loading and transport of the baled kumpay in container vans from my birthplace to Japan.

The Japanese are a wise lot of people. So maybe they bought the dried kumpay from the Philippines because it’s cheap here and besides, they don’t have sugar cane fields as extensive as what we have here in Negros. But sadly, this promising enterprise failed to flourish and eventually was forced to cease operation due to several reasons: the cost of transport is becoming expensive, quality control exacted by the buyer resulted to rejects (and losses) especially when the kumpays arrived at destinations with molds due to high moisture content, and lastly because of rising fuel cost. To make the story short, what promised to be a very lucrative business for my kasimanwa turned out to be a significant loss on investment. And it stopped its business even before the cost of capital for the land, buildings, and machinery was recovered.

But there’s more to this story than heartaches. And these are the opportunities from the lessons we learned from this failed investment:

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