Re: RoboHelp Baby

Subject: Re: RoboHelp Baby
From: Peter Neilson <neilson -at- alltel -dot- net>
To: techwr-l -at- lists -dot- techwr-l -dot- com
Date: Wed, 28 Dec 2005 22:29:43 -0500

Does anyone know what it is about the purchasing department function that causes this situation to be so common? I have seen similar kinds of incompetence at a major manufacturer of electronic test equipment, at MIT, and at a major computer manufacturer, all over 20 years ago, and I am not surprised to see that the situation continues.

Problems in quality are well understood. In many companies the manufacturing section hounds the quality department to pass bad product. The cause is the belief that the quality of goods as manufactured is "good enough" and that the inspection merely gets in the way of production. Quality is told to keep their noses out of the way, and to stick to making statistical reports. As a result, a lot of honest quality engineers have quit or been fired several times.

But what's going on in purchasing? Are the buyers being judged on how little money gets spent? Or on how much stuff they can buy through "approved" channels rather than as special purchases? I've seen many cases of common (and thus incorrect) parts being substituted for desperately needed special parts. Five-percent resistors were commonly substituted for precision resistors, presumably because they were so much cheaper. Engineers took to buying certain parts out-of-pocket and getting reimbursed out of petty cash, with a faked receipt if need be.

At MIT, I found that central purchasing had acquired a whole shi*load of number 2B and number 3H drawing pencils in error, and was sending these to any department that needed regular number 2 or number 3 pencils. Complaints were rejected with, "Sorry, that's what you get." I went and bought my own pencils at the campus bookstore, and didn't even ask for reimbursement.

At the computer manufacturer, the printing of books was placed with companies that did not have facilities to effect correct production, against the express request of the book production manager.

What forces are actually at work inside purchasing?

Dick Margulis wrote:

Despite what some folks will tell you behind my back, I am not a mean, vindictive, or sadistic person. Nonetheless, I consider it a great and happy day when I can get an incompetent jerk to cry at the office (we'll
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Follow-Ups:

References:
RoboHelp Baby: From: Cathy MacDonald
Re: RoboHelp Baby: From: Dick Margulis

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