Friday, November 27, 2015

War Stories: Hot nuts vending at retail

This reminds me of a customer I once had. It was heartbreaking. He provided warm nuts under lamps in service stations. A really nice idea - fraught with logistical problems.

Stock rotation, portion control, shelf life. Under hot lamps, the nuts sat there at 60 degrees C. That would send them rancid in a day I reckon.

I was lured into selling him oxygen barrier pouches. At refrigerated temperatures, they'd keep bacon fresh for 6 weeks. It cost him about $10,000 to build artwork and a minimum first run size of $10,000. No promises about shelf life - our materials were never designed to run at 60 degrees c.
Bottom line - his stock was going off after a day under the lights. It cost him thousands, not to mention his pissed off cusgomers. Apparently the oxygen barrier of nylon goes to crap once it gets warm.

And the worst thing - I worked for a company who didn't have to care. My boss sat in a meeting and said "there will be no compensation - it's as simple as that"

The guy's name was Ted, I think. Salt of the earth. A growly Aussie guy - chewed me out a few times - but a good man.

Fuck I feel old sometimes. I hope the guy's ok. Last I'd heard (late 90s) he was fighting testicular cancer.

These days I'm the growly old guy nobody wants to talk to.

Service quality is often about managing your worst customers.

Often, as a customer, I feel for the service staff who are trying to deliver a quality product.

When I have a choice of lines to join  - such as at a supermarket - sure, the first thing I look at is "how fast is the checkout person working". But pretty quickly i look at the people who make up the line.

Does that person look like the type who will dither with credit cards, get confuaed about prices or try to pay their $30 bill in silver coins?

In the academic literature it's referred to a "co-creation" where the consumer is an imporant part of the quality of the final product.

So for an airline - for instance - you're only as good as your least inconsiderate customer.

Wouldn't it be great to have separate lines for customers who have their stuff working, and the ditherers? Just my luck I'd be in the wrong line when i have a dithering day.

Tuesday, November 24, 2015

Tony Rokov: I didn't know you, but I like you.

Fly free and go with God, buddy.

"About 20m from landing a tandem skydive, a freak wind twisted Tony’s parachute causing him and the teenage boy strapped to him to drop to the ground. In his last moments Tony positioned himself to protect the teenager from the worst of the impact. Devastatingly for everyone who knew and loved him, Tony didn’t survive his last act of bravery. Tony had been in the military for over 20 years so this certainly was not his first act of bravery.  While serving his country in some of the world’s most hostile places Tony put himself in danger countless times to protect others."

Update: My heart breaks, but go with God, buddy.