JB, that may be why the purchasing folks wear all kinds of gold and have diamond studded Rollex watches. They also drove much nicer cars and lived in much nicer areas. And sometimes we even got to hear te explanations as to why they did so very well. And the public explanations were never believable.
I am talking about some areas of Chrysler purchasing in the mid seventies, but not naming names just yet.
Some very large companies require that all procurement be done exclusively by a purchasing department that, in some cases, may be in another state and have no responsibility to engineering at all. I know of one company that threatens termination to engineers who talk procurement with vendors at all. Bottom line is that engineers benefit from finishing their tasks on time and on budget, procurement benefits from cutting costs, and this puts them at odds with each other.
Mostek was probably willing to bite the bullet in this case because of an ongoing excellent and very close relationship with my company. Mostek alternate sourced Zilog product and in addition to significant RAM procurement my company procured much of its needed Z80 family parts from Mostek as well. The problem of distributer support of design effort with subsequent loss of purchasing selection predates this story and remains a hazard to both needy engineers and helpful vendors.
The concept of rewarding the PO to the vendor who supplied the effort to make their product work well in an application was totally lost on a bunch of purchasing people at one company. And it caused a great deal of hard feelings and lost support as things got more complicated and the need for support increased. The purchasing trolls would take our assistance providing vendors price and post it, asking "can you beat this price?" When I found out about it I made my case by pointing out that the very small savings in purchase price were no where nearly as great as the value of the assistance we had been given. But I still had to hammer on purchasing repeatedly. Like most MBA types they had no concept of anything except the daily profit figures. That company no longer exists except in history books, which is too bad, since it was a fun place to work much of the time.
"I agree completely. There was a time, back in the dark ages, when a company would work jointly with a vendor in applying his product to an assembly or subassembly. I always considered them to have necessary expertise on their product and understood the limits of acceptability relative to THEIR design and design intent. "
Bobjengr, now also most of the retailers are like brand ambassador or feedback collector for the companies. They are persons, who know well about the pulse of customers and business.
"But I have gone into a large retail electronics franchise on several occasions (different locations) needing service only to watch bored young employees standing in clusters talking among themselves. Approaching the group with a request for help, one employee would reluctantly tear themselves away, and escape any service as soon as possible"
Nancy, I think they have been employed for helping and briefing the products to customers. If similar things happened, it's an indisciplinary action and the customer has the right to complain about it.
MyDesign--I agree completely. There was a time, back in the dark ages, when a company would work jointly with a vendor in applying his product to an assembly or subassembly. I always considered them to have necessary expertise on their product and understood the limits of acceptability relative to THEIR design and design intent. When satisfied, we would never "shop" the outcome but gave the PO and contract to the vendor working with us in supplying the information. We considered them to be invaluable. Excellent post Jay.
Nancy, I've had lousy experiences shopping online, too. But not nearly as many as I used to have, and not nearly as many as I've had in person. I buy mostly books, music, clothes, shoes, cosmetics, household goods and appliances online. Most of those I purchase from known, trusted sources with good customer service. And if I get lousy customer service from one individual at a trusted source I complain: loudly and a lot, until the problem is fixed. I do agree about the shipping charges for returns--that's the biggest turnoff for me. But in all of these categories I don't have a choice: I have to buy online because whatever it is isn't available locally.
Actually Ann, that is one of the reasons that I hesitate to online shop. I still have a strong desire for human interaction in the buying process regarding products that I am not familiar with. I only buy online when I am confident in the product and am fairly certain I won't need customer service. I still go to a brick and mortar if I think it's a possibility so that i will have some alternatives if I have problems - I really dislike the hassle of mailing returns and paying shipping when shipping for returns are not guaranteed. No matter how inconvenient or incompetent the customer service I receive at the un-named electronics store... I can always go to their management level to get satisfaction. Fun and happy experience - maybe not - but beats the alternative of mail refunds or nonexistent help when problems arise.
I've had experiences exactly like Nancy's, and I, too, remember when such lousy service and attitudes would never be tolerated. This discussion makes me wonder if this is one reason so many people have gone to online shopping. My main reason for shopping online is finding stuff not offered locally, and that's probably a big reason for many. But I also wonder how many people have gone to online because in person can be such an awful experience.
My design, the slogan is valid in some corporate cultures and a local fast food franchise, Boston Market, exemplifies customer service every time we eat there. But I have gone into a large retail electronics franchise on several occasions (different locations) needing service only to watch bored young employees standing in clusters talking among themselves. Approaching the group with a request for help, one employee would reluctantly tear themselves away, and escape any service as soon as possible. This behavior would never be tolerated "back in the day." Tech support has gone downhill - either it is nonexistent, it has so many layers to get to a knowledgeable person that it is an exercise in frustration, or a fee is charged. I think there are still some companies that focus on customer service, but there are different facets to the problem for those who don't. Some are simply financial decisions as to how much service is extended, some have to do with resource allocation, some simply with company philosophy, and part of the problem is that there has been a value shift in our culture with an intense focus on self, and that does not translate well to "Customer is King" from the employee's perspective. Of course that opens up a whole other topic that belongs under a more cultural-sociological venue.
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