Friday, June 18, 2010

Making a mistake, rapidly

Someone commented in the eHam ratings for my blog that I spent too much time complaining about retailers. I'm sorry about that, I only tell it how it is, but it appears that no-one in this country is capable of doing their job properly. Perhaps the government's policy of sending 50% of people to university means that most people are over-qualified for the job they do and are too bored by it to actually think about what they were doing.

Phase 2 of my shack renovation was completed earlier this week. It should have been finished a couple of weeks ago. Olga designed and ordered a system of wall units including shelves, cupboards and a bureau with a door that drops down to form a working surface. This bureau is to be my workbench - now I can start something and when I have done enough for one day I can just close the door on it so everything stays looking tidy.

The consignment arrived consisting of all 11 boxes as marked on the shipping labels. However as we started to assemble it we found that a few bits, including the entire bureau, were missing. On contacting the retailer they were sure that 12 boxes had been sent, but the bureau was never discovered and they had to order a new one from Sweden - hence the delay.

My workbench is now separate from my operating area so I can no longer use the Diamond power supply that powers my radios to power my projects. So I needed a variable power supply for the workbench. Yesterday I was pleased to win in an eBay auction a refurbished variable power supply from Rapid Electronics for about half what a new one would have cost. The courier delivered a large parcel this morning which was labelled with my address, but when I opened it I found four retractable mains cable extensions that had been ordered by Workington Sixth Form College, together with their invoice. So now I have to wait in while Rapid arranges for its courier to collect the mains extensions. Whether I will ever see the power supply, or whether it will just vanish like our original bureau, remains to be seen.

I'm sure some readers must be thinking "take a chill pill, mistakes happen." But mistakes seem to happen rather too often, if you ask me. If you were in the mail order business, wouldn't you put systems in place to ensure mistakes like this don't happen, because they annoy your customers and cost money to rectify? Rapid Electronics "operates a Quality Management System to BS EN ISO 9001:2008." What a load of spherical objects that is.

While on the subject of retailers, last week I sent an email to a company that advertises notebook PCs with Linux installed, asking for a quote for a system for my business. I have not received a reply. Why does that not surprise me?


Theodore said...

I think I can guess what the BS in the quality management system coding represents.
I have been getting all the good luck, having never had a problem with mail order.
I guess the whole system is a zero sum game, so those who get the good luck means someone has to get the bad.
I hope its not always you Julian (Hi).

Paul Stam PAØK said...

Did you ever hear about the law of Murphy? I think you do, and I think you are a victim of it. ;-)
Nobody want to hear the truth. In social life we are playing games with each other. Nobody is seldom telling the truth. They lie all the time. If someone does there will be general outrage. In all my 43 years of hard working labour I faces a lot of incompetence on every level. I fear it’s unavoidable. I belief in the Peter Principle. The Peter Principle is the principle that "in a hierarchy every employee tends to rise to his level of incompetence." Good, perfect work is accomplished by those employees who have not yet reached their level of incompetence. So, we’ll have to live and accept an imperfect world. 73 Paul

Unknown said...

Yes, I know Murphy. He's that guy who thinks he's my best friend and follows me everywhere. I wish I could get rid of him! :)

Jay Dighsx said...

Ya see your problem is you have standards. You (for some crazy reason) figure if you order something that your credit card should be charge the right amount, that they should email you to let you know it shipped, that it should arrive in a timely manner and that it should be what you ordered. And I bet you think that it should function as advertised??? That's a pretty tall order my friend those guys on eHam are right. hahaha

What you need to do is what I have done, lower your standards. It's not right but I have pretty much come to expect things to not work out the way they should. And when they do I just about have a heart attack.

My dad has a theory that soon as a company needs a human resources department it's doomed.

Ricardo - CT2GQV said...

Unfortunately with the "democratic" internet business you get the good the bad and the ugly in a somewhat blind way...
There is also a saying: Incompetence is like "shit", it tends to go up and float.
Remember this each time you see a "manager" position in a business card.

MrJoshua said...

I thought I was the unlucky one when it comes to mail order c*ck ups, but it seems I'm not alone.

It infuriates me no end when companies (or couriers) don't do what you're paying them to do. Grrr...

You might like this book:

ISBN: 0316729531

Cheers - Josh

Theodore said...

Its all a game really Julian.
You have to play it the same way they do. For example, if you don't get satisfaction, employ the Nuclear option.
Go straight to the top. Find the managing directors mailing address and send him a letter.
He does not want to hear from customers, so he will kick ass all the way down the line, and you will get your result.
Many times his PA or minder will intercept the letter, but the result is the same.
All the customer service desks etc, are all lines of defence to keep you from bothering him.
I can attest this system works every time. You don't even have to be right, he will still kick his underlings asses.
I found this out in my corporate days, and have used it like martial arts, where you use your opponents strength against him.
This works with governments as well, you just have to write to Ministers in government instead of MD's.
Remember, the squeaky wheel gets the oil.
Oh, and forget phone calls, beaurocrats HAVE to reply to letters, phone calls can be ignored.
SOAL, you are right about human resources departments.
Also, when they changed the Personnel department to human resources, it was the beginning of a new era of treating people like lumps of coal (resources).
Words have power, naming people resources is dehumanising them. Once dehumanised, you can treat them accordingly.
The wet dreams of shopkeepers (businessmen HA!) is to make people into commodities.
Don't let them do it.

G4NKX said...

Mistakes do happen - I've been plagued with postal cock-ups in the past - by the way Loved your reference to "Spherical Objects" must remember that one.

73 Peter

Evolving Squid said...

It's your blog. You write what you want. It's not like you put a gun to people's heads and force them to read it.