September 19, 2009

Lets get ready to ramble

Happy Saturday to you. It is mildly depressing to wake and see the sun is just sending its first pink rays over the big grasses in the backyard. That is not a whine about getting up early (Dick), rather an observation that fall is on its way. I can say that every season we are in is my favorite, and one of the best things about living here in the middle of the country is that we enjoy four distinct seasons. I love cool crisp air of fall, and I will readily admit I miss the smell of burning leaves that I associate in my memory with that season. The days are getting shorter and that is just life, my friends.

I think I have completed my war on the wasps. I have a pile of yellow jacket bodies about an inch high next to the hole in the wood and only one or two forlorn relatives buzz by and take their leave without even dropping off a casserole or meatloaf to the celebrate the wake of their loved ones.

I have been traveling a bunch the past few weeks. This week I was in the Carolinas on Monday and Tuesday. I had a day trip on Wednesday and I left for Chicago Thursday afternoon. One of the end users of my product was having some issues, and I expected a quick visit early Friday and intended to be back home by mid-afternoon. I should have known better to schedule a meeting on a Friday. I finally left Chicago at 3:00. I got to the customer's at 8:00 am.

edit: can someone from da Region please advise when, if ever, the I-65/I-80 interchange is going to be completed? It has been YEARS. The pavement they poured this spring is now being torn up again!.

The people I met with were great people. Unfortunately my widgets were but a small (but vital) part of a system. They wanted me to tell them the system was usable. There did not seem to be any issues with my widgets (we are sending samples back to the lab), but I am not in position to comment on the other components. Since a failure of the system could cost lots of money and maybe even loss of life, there is no way I can assume the liability of vouching for the other components. The catch-22 is none of the component suppliers will vouch for the system either. You would not, I will not. The best advise is to replace every component, but with thousands of units at stake, the owner is more than a little reluctant to spend thousands of dollars per unit to replace components that are likely perfectly good.

This my academic friends are the real life issues small and large business owners face every day. To replace every unit will add significant costs that will make the company unprofitable and maybe force it to close its doors. A failure resulting in a death will bankrupt the company. You will only read in the paper about the one in a million failure and declare that son of a bitch who put that unit out there should fry. You never read about the justification for not spending millions to fix what are odds on not a problem.

Anyway, here I am going all Chatty Cathy on you. My 2010 Sales Plan was due yesterday. You already have guessed it is not done. I got my forms, etc. a week ago last Thursday. I have not been in the office all week. I have a wedding this afternoon, and well, football and baseball are on tomorrow...and I need to trim the bushes and mow the yard and do those little chores that pile up when you are gone three or four days a week. I guess I will bust my hump to get my plan done by Monday, but that is not likely either. I have to forecast how many pieces every customer will buy every month in 2010. We are talking dozens of customers and hundreds of part numbers (my territory is around $25 MUSD and the average price per unit is around $6-8 bucks each). I have to leave Tuesday for a meeting Wednesday morning to discuss our business plans...

I suppose I should be working this morning instead of blogging -- decisions, decisions. I might add, since we all took pay cuts in February, I am supposed to take an afternoon off each week. I hear you, it sucks to be me. I guess they owe me.

I hope you get laid this weekend.

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