The Metrics of Good Business

January 25, 2013

Nashville Business Journal

 

Around the globe, temperature is measured in Celsius, weight in kilos and liquids in liters. The rest of the world is on the metric system. Why aren’t we?

Every time I travel outside the country it becomes obvious that the United States is hurting itself by hanging on to an antiquated measuring system. International trade is essential to our economy, yet nearly every transaction requires various conversions from our imperial measuring system to metric units. We are simply not communicating in the same basic numeric language as the rest of the world.

In fact, the United States is one of only three countries, along with Liberia (Africa) and Burma (Asia), that still use the tricky imperial measuring system. The great thing about the metric system is it’s simple and logical. And it’s already all around us:

  • The shipping or sale of almost anything in our country shows the metric measure in addition to our system.
  • Most items in your pantry include imperial and metric measures on packaging.
  • Wine and liquor are sold only in metric measure, and no one is complaining.
  • Our kids learn about metric in school but never get a chance to use it.

Imagine if all business could be conducted with the same units of measure? While it might take some time and effort, we can help move our country into the 21st century — and smarter international trade.

Joe Scarlett is founder of the Scarlett Leadership Institute and retired CEO and chairman of Tractor Supply Co.

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