Business: Corporate Service
OBC   (+25, -3)  [vote for, against]
Open business concept.

I find this idea a little difficult to describe in english but I'll give it a go.

I'm in the process of starting my business in luxury furniture and home accessories. I will design and produce it myself. Some call that studio furniture making. I'm taking it slow, hope to have it running by the end of this year.

I am going to make a website where people can see photos of my work and order them.

Here's the thing.

It annoys me that when I buy something I get zero background information on what I buy. I want to know how much it actually cost to make it. How much profit the manufacturer makes and what the turnover is for the retailer. I want to know who actually made it and where and how much they get paid.

For instance: I bought a lathe from HBM For about 300 euros. I could have bought the same lathe for about 700 from Jet. Jet is a good brand for woodworking machines. The Jet lathe is supposed to have better bearings, and is painted a different colour, but I know for a fact that in all other respects it is the same machine, manufactured in China. I feel this is dishonest.

So on my website I will show photos of my workshop. For each product I will outline what the production costs are and what my profit will be. The cost of raw materials, the cost of wear and tear on machines and tools. Who made it (me) in how much time. So what if I make 500 euros on something for which the wood cost me 100? I put in a lot of time and effort and you get something you can leave to your grandchildren.

Also I will post my turnover, information about my supplies, in short, all the background information you would possibly want to know.

If you are not interested you do not have to click on it but it is there if do want it.

I know that big companies are requiered to make their business records public, but only to a certain extent. There is much talk in the Netherlands that salaries of managers and directors should be made public because they sometimes get inordinate amounts of money.

What exactly am I paying for when I buy apair of sneakers? Do I pay for the five million dollar some manager makes a month? Yes. And also for the five dollars some worker makes a week in china, working an 80 hour week.

I'm hoping this open business concept will catch on. So people will want to buy products from OBC companies. Placing the production in a country where the wages are lower is not by defenition a bad thing. It is a chance for people to make money and provide for their loved ones. I just want to know about it, and I want to know the workers get treated fair. If a manager gets paid a lot of money, so be it, is he worth it? Alrighty then.

I'm not aiming to rant here, I just think that to open up the particulars of a business to the public would be a good thing. Also a good commercial strategy.

People complain sometimes about the price of a beer where I work. They can get the same product at the supermarket for a fifth of the price or less. When I explain to them that my boss has to pay me, pay for the building, the electricity, the heating, the furniture, the installations and maintenance of everything and much more, they turn around.

Well, I hope I got the idea across to you all. I'll leave it to your votes and look forward to your annos
-- zeno, Jun 01 2007

OpenHumanity OpenHumanity
[xaviergisz, Jun 01 2007]

Mandatory Business Model Disclosure Mandatory_20Business_20Model_20Disclosure
Somewhat related idea [hippo, Jun 01 2007]

I like the idea - not just as an accountability thing for a specific business, but as a general interesting fact for a whole industry. Some customers won't like their illusions shattered, but we'll all be better off if we understand more about how things work.
-- jutta, Jun 01 2007

What, no dangling thingy? I know the name for it but won't dream of spelling it right. Thanks, edited.
-- zeno, Jun 01 2007

Exactly what I mean lt.
-- zeno, Jun 01 2007

I don't care what color that lathe is, they were all made in China and they all use the same cheap bearings.

If you want to know what goes into a product, buy local.
-- nuclear hobo, Jun 01 2007

I can't look at this idea without thinking, "Shit, have I sorted an advert yet for the Outside Back Cover?"

As to the idea, products are completely covered with "useful" information as it is, this will only perpetuate a global packaging-waste crisis as manufacturers struggle to make increasingly complex boxes and covers in order to display these fair trade statistics. If you feel strongly enough about it I'd go the whole hog and do some research before you buy. It's the only way to be sure anyway.
-- theleopard, Jun 01 2007

I'm giving a bun for your honesty and ambition. +
-- xandram, Jun 01 2007

I feel that all good business should be run in this way. Transparency builds trust. Great expression of the idea :-)

I also disagree with the comment about packaging and information. Most products have a web pressence and those with more information and transparency about the product and pricing should be able to leverage that honest to get more would hope or am I terribly innocent?
-- colinwheeler, Jun 01 2007

Good luck with your business. I enjoy the idea that if a business is conducted in an honest way, with the right intentions, then it will be succesful. However, it isn't always true.
I would really like to see your idea used on products. I think it would be enlightening, especially if the amount of energy was included as well.
-- Ling, Jun 01 2007

This would destroy the very tool that capitalism relies upon to compete and profit -- secrecy. Which means new tools would have to be developed. Will the new tools be less sinister? I doubt it. But I'm in favor of change, so a [+] from me.
-- awesomest, Jun 01 2007

Companies may have the incentive to distort the truth in their reports, but I would still love this. A standard information sheet, kinda like nutrition facts, would make finding things (e.g. manager's salary) much easier for the consumer.
-- Ketchupybread, Jun 01 2007

Great Idea, and if a supplier is looking at your site they could offer to undercut your current suppliers.
-- crazymonk, Jun 01 2007

Wow, a lot of buns, thanks. And also thanks for the support in the annos. I was wondering if the first link would make this idea redundant. It might but I will not delete it myself because I want all the attention for these ideas we can get. I believe in it. I haven't yet read all the annos on the first link but I will and I urge you to do it also. There is some very good free thinking about the future of economy there.
-- zeno, Jun 02 2007

I wholeheartedly support this idea. I want to know about the things I buy, in particular whether it's worth the manufacturer's "retail" price. Everyone takes their cut, but in current business models precious few retailers or manufacturers tell you what their cut is. Bun for up front honesty.

This kind of thinking, adopted widely, would radically alter the way the economy is run. Bun for subversiveness.

It takes a certain amount of faith to leap into business for yourself. Bun for guts.

Go forth.
-- elhigh, Jun 04 2007

[Lt. Frank] - google "charity ratings" and you should find a couple of websites for charity watchdog groups that are impartial and do pretty well at rating how well the various charities use the money they receive. Some are obvious fronts for "give me money" schemes, others are absolutely scrupulous with every last penny. I should look up Jimmy Carter.
-- elhigh, Jun 04 2007

I would like to see orphans making my shoes. The very shoes I ordered.
-- ldischler, Jun 04 2007

The secrecy [danielo] describes is indeed an insiduous device used for many nefarious purposes from exploiting workers (do you know how much your co-workers are paid, do they know how much you are?) to invading foreign countries. I'd like to see this applied to government.
-- nuclear hobo, Jun 04 2007

Not anymore, edited.
-- zeno, Jun 05 2007

So it's describe yes? Not Discribe? No That doesn't look right. But you never know with the english speaking. Ghoti.
-- zeno, Jun 05 2007

"All the background information you might want to know" is pretty broad. My brother the organic farmer spends weeks testing crops that nobody else grows in his region. If he immediately shared the information with competitors, he couldn't afford to spend time doing that. On the other hand, if he shared information on how little money he makes per hour, that might actually reduce competition by discouraging others from starting farms!
-- Ford, Feb 08 2008

I'm not sure about other countries, but in the US most nonprofit organizations are supposed to detail their business expenses for public perusal.

So concept is already baked and a part of US law -- but the for-profit variant isn't.
-- mylodon, Feb 08 2008

For in much wisdom is much grief; and he who increases knowledge increases sorrow.

Ecclesiastes 1:18

-- daseva, Jun 27 2008

-- po, Jun 27 2008

random, halfbakery