Never Never Land

Once upon a time there were two buyers and two tooling suppliers . The first buyer needed some tools for a well-funded project.


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Once upon a time there were two buyers and two tooling suppliers ....

The first buyer needed some tools for a well-funded project. The schedule was well thought out, with adequate time for procurement and delivery. The specifications were solid, detailed and relevant to the program. The project “how to” was already figured out, well-tested and scaled to the program. No value engineering is required because it’s perfect now.

Everyone is happy.

The tooling supplier is a financially solid company that is highly regarded in the industry and a preferred supplier to many top companies, but always has lots of capacity for additional programs. Because this program is so well thought out, the schedule can be written in stone and there will be no overlaps with other projects. The tooling company is so well run, all of its other projects are ahead of schedule. In addition, the company’s maintenance program is so robust that it never has mechanical breakdowns.

Research and development to reduce cost, shorten the schedule and improve part quality is not required because the tooling company has a real-life wizard on staff. New products that come out of this company always work perfectly the first time.

Much of the cost of testing the new tooling concepts — which really need no testing — is absorbed by the employees, who love this company, test them on weekends and don’t charge for their time.

Santa Claus is a regular visitor to this company.

 In the end the buyer gets a perfect price and schedule. The tooling company delivers a perfect tool, on time, and makes just the right amount of money.

Everyone is happy.

Now, across town, in Hell Hole Junction, there is another buyer and another tooling supplier.

Everyone starts out happy. They know nothing — they just came to work.

The engineer, who works in the same company as the buyer, does not like the buyer and doesn’t give him any information. The buyer has no idea if this product can be built. The business development guys reduced the cost by half to get the job. The stress guys who are designing the part used to work in Never Never Land. There are no specifications because the project is so new that no one has built anything like this before. As a result, the buyer is behind schedule, over budget, with no details. The buyer has not called the tooling supplier yet.

The SOW says build the tool perfect and meet all the conditions. The CAD models are unavailable. The buyer has been told by the program office to reduce the tooling costs by 50 percent, even though original estimate done by the engineer was off by 50 percent in the first place. The buyer also needs to reduce the schedule by 100 percent, which he knows is impossible, so he allows a week and a couple of weekends to do several months worth of work.

The engineer and buyer are now ticked off. They finally call the tooling supplier.

The tooling supplier, who over the years has actually made a few good tools, really needs this job to stay afloat because all the other jobs he has are behind schedule and over budget.

He plans to make it up on volume.

Fifty percent of the tooling supplier’s projects have been delayed by the customers, due to design issues. Given the mountain of work that is coming, but the lack of work that is ready to go, the managers tell HR to layoff and hire at the same time.

Since the buyer has very little information, he sends 28 documents about FAR rules, terms and conditions, and general tooling specifications that cover everything from plywood templates to automated, high-volume metal tools … but have nothing to do with the actual project.

The tooling supplier sends in a bid on the tooling. He has a great new tooling system, which is less expensive and faster, so he’s figured that into the bid.

Today, he finds out that it only works in lab scale.

The buyer spends six weeks looking at the bids that have four weeks too much schedule. The response from the buyer is that the bid is too high and too slow.

Because the tooling supplier needs this job, he signs up to whatever the buyer wants, then goes to church to pray.

After the PO is issued, the engineer meets with the supplier and goes over the details.

They are both unhappy.

The end.

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