Wednesday, April 25, 2007

It's always at the last minute.

Lordamercy, y'all. The past few days have been riddled with emergency calls and last-minute issues at Wheatlands. We're less than 60 days away from ribbon-cutting and opening the doors. On Monday, it was locating the laundry equipment that just got bought because everyone thought someone else was buying it. On Tuesday, it was mitigating storm drainage off the roof through the hospital's front yard. Today, it was finally wrapping up a long-overdue RFI pertaining to some extra equipment for the radiology department. I swear to Barry Manilow, if it weren't for the last minute, wouldn't a damn thing get done.

About 3:30 this afternoon, after the storms have passed, my job superintendent calls.

"Hey, Pixie, it's Mutt."
"What's the good word, sir?"
"Hey, um...y'know the pass-through sterilizer in the surgery department?"
"Yeah, what about it?"

"We can't get it through the door into the room."
"I'm here. Um...what're you thinking of doing about it?"
"Well, see, we're gonna have to take a door out and knock out some drywall to bring it in, but I thought since we'd be taking out a door, should we just go ahead and order a new four-foot door for that room?"
"What's the lead time on a new door and frame right now?"

"Six to eight weeks."
"So the door would be missing when the hospital opens?"
"Um...[swears under his breath] yeah."

"Let me make some calls."

I call the equipment consultant. She calls the sterilizer vendor. She calls me back. I call Mutt back.

"Tell me something good, Chaka Khan."

"Well, I feel for you."
"Ha ha."
"Yeah, yeah. Look, the sterilizer: the equipment consultant says that the sterilizer might need to be repaired, but it won't be necessary to replace it until about ten years from now, at which piont it'll be time to renovate and they can put a four-foot door in then."
"'Kay. So we're keeping the three-foot doors?"
"Yep, we're keeping the three-foot doors."
"Pleasure doin' business with you, Pixie."
"Likewise, Mutt."

LIke I said, if it wasn't for the last minute....


The Wandering Author said...

That explains a lot. Meaning no offense to an architect in a difficult spot, I find it interesting to see the reasons behind such seemingly senseless details as the fact that someone put a door on a room that's not wide enough for the machinery that goes in there.

But I do have a few questions; in a situation like that, can't you get a door more quickly, on some kind of emergency basis? It surprises me that those in urgent need of doors would have to wait up to two months to get them. When the machine breaks down, and they have to remodel, won't they need to wait two months for a door then? What will they do in the meantime? (Sorry; I always like to know these things... I'm catlike in my curiosity.) :-D

BaxterWatch said...

that's why we make the big bucks. - not because we got a degree or because we're brilliant (because, you know, we are)

Its because we can make a damn decision on move on with things.

Decision makers - we're what's for dinner.

Mile High Pixie said...

*sigh* Dammit, WA, why do you always ask questions that require an entire post to fully answer?

:-P Thank you for breaking through my recent writer's block.

BaxterWatch said...

simple answer?

Anything can be had for the right amount of money - except really really big stuff (e.g. turbine generator) All it takes is bumping someone else's order and domino-ing the effect.

If it will cost BIG bucks for the delay, then the owners will shell out up to BIG bucks. The providers of said material know this, and can therefore justify pissing off other customers with the delay - or working their minions longer hours to make an extra to meet the next customer's timeline, while you pay three, four, TEN times the going rate just to get the item RIGHT AWAY.

Such is the world of "we must have it NOW because we MESSED UP and BROKE SOMETHING."

at least that is how the manufacturing world works.

ha. my word verification is:

faded said...

At least in your business, you can explain a delay by saying it is a custom item or special order or something like that. People understand that it can take time to get unusual items.

I am the software business, there is no physical thing to see or order. This tends to make people think, hey it should be available instantly. They get upset because you cannot pull a fully formed, bug free piece of software out of the air.

This instant mentality makes it very difficult to develop a useful project specification, the customers tend to be impatient. This creates a situation where it is possible to get errors in the spec that will cause the entire project to fail. I have seen projects that went from start all the way to final implementation, but there was a fundamental specification error in the software that rendered it unusable. The error was not caught until the software was turned on for 300 people to use. The error was such that no one could get any work done.

The customer spent several million dollars and got nothing for their trouble. The vendor got fired and made a profit on the project. This would be the equivalent of a building collapse in your business and everyone saying, "It's ok, have a nice day."

I was not involved in the project, I was in a position to watch the show.