Saturday, July 9, 2011

Column V2.12 - Oops, they did it again

As we return to our tale of incompetence… we were talking about how we used to send John the parts that were headed for the trash bin… When Black & Decker bought the Pentair Tools Group, they had all of their parts handled by a third-party parts warehouse in the Northeast. I suppose they should remain nameless, but they were the ones who required the ultimate purge of parts. Their criterion for keeping something in stock was unrealistic to say the least. While I don’t recall the exact numbers, their decision resulted in about 8- 40foot trailer loads of parts being scrapped and sent to John. Needless to say that John was overwhelmed. What started out as a sideline to supplement his income suddenly became a full-time gig. Just trying to keep up with the inventory and identifying each part was way beyond what he had signed up for.
But John was good. He set up his own website and was posting photos and prices - a real professional operation… and then comes the “unintended consequences” of the ignorance of that ‘third-party parts warehouse’ and Black & Decker. Calls started coming in that sounded like this; Customer: “I need to order part number, 907869” – B&D: “I’m sorry, that part has been discontinued” – Customer: “WHAT? I just bought this tool 4 weeks ago and I need this part to get it working again”. Sounds like fun, huh? Yes, some parts for brand new tools got dumped onto John simply because no one had ordered one of them in the past 6 months…well no wonder- they were NEW parts for NEW tools. Now B&D was left in a pickle…the parts had been deleted from their inventory and sent to John. So, they finally did what any rational person would do when the realization hit that they had mightily messed up…they called John and asked if he could send the customer their part. Maybe ONE part would not have been so bad, but it was hundreds of parts on an ongoing basis. In other words, they wanted John to act as their source for the same parts they had just scrapped. I recall that John called me when the realization of what they wanted finally hit him. He said that he was not prepared to act as their supplier/shipper. Me being the gracious guy that I am, I told him, ‘John, you’re in the catbird’s seat. If I were you, I would make a list of all of the parts they want you to ship out- use the price list that we gave you when we started this deal and triple the prices. Then sell them back to B&D and when you have their money, ship them right back to them. THEY can then pack and ship to their customers. If they come up with more, and I am sure they will, sell them back at a 300% profit for you.’

I really don’t know how that worked out- I’ll see if I can track it down and let you know.

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