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'[OT] Digikey, an ISO-9002 company.'
2002\11\10@212426 by Wagner Lipnharski

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Using Digikey for many years, hundreds of times, by the first time they
sent a wrong part number.
In a list of purchase, I bought a bag of small aluminum electrolytic cap
22uF x 10V, they sent a bag of 100nF x 450V cap, with the 22uF Digikey
label on the bag.  Obviously they got the wrong bag and stick the right
label.

The original purchase was done on Monday, Nov/4th, shipping via 2nd Day
USPS service - it was delivered clockwork, Nov/6th.

1 minute after receive the package, Nov/6th, around 2pm, I called Digikey
Customer Service and reported the problem.

They were very prompt to ask me to take the wrong parts to UPS customer
counter (15 miles) or to the nearest UPS drop off box (3 miles) - to return
to them - my own packing box and tape, gas, time, etc, they sent via email
the UPS label, nice, my paper, my printer, again my time. Why do I need to
go through this if the problem is not mine? well, what a heck, everybody do
mistakes, even an ISO-9002 company as Digikey, well, it should not,
probably they need to rewrite the ISO books to avoid this problem to
happens.

Digikey Customer Service promised to correct the failure and sent the
correct parts same day, to be delivered next day UPS Red Label, good,
perfect. It still in time to finish and deliver the final boards to
customer under the correct delivery lead time, no late-delivery fine, zip,
nada, zero killing.

Correct parts should arrive next day, Nov/7th, Thursday morning.

Today is Sunday, Nov/10th, and no parts - already paying few thousand
dollars in late-delivery fine to customer (agreement breach), nice Digikey
move.  Checking their shipping records, they sent it by UPS GROUND
SERVICE - according to UPS, it is scheduled to be delivered next Wednesday,
8 days after I complained about the wrong parts.  Isn't this fantastic?

A double mistake?  in an ISO-9002 company?

The ISO-9002 label is what makes people trust them more, pay more for the
parts, the ISO label should mean something, right?

I tried to contact them on Saturday, nada, zip, just a recording, only on
Monday.
Sent them an email, received an auto-answer email, telling me that someone
will read it... on Monday.

Now this I don't understand.  My company is many times smaller than
Digikey, I have much less employees, and even so, I have customer service
and technical support 24h/day, 7 days/week. How can we do it and they
don't?

My standby personnel answer emails within 6 hours of contact.  On evenings
when we most receive emails from customers, they get surprised that we
answer in minutes up to 2am.  My company is NOT on ISO-9000 yet, but
appears that we don't need it, we do our job as planned and as promised,
except, when a lousy supplier messes up with our plans.

Wagner Lipnharski
UST Research Inc.
Orlando Florida.

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2002\11\10@213711 by John Ferrell

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The older you get, the more you want to deal with a small business that
knows its customers.

John Ferrell
6241 Phillippi Rd
Julian NC 27283
Phone: (336)685-9606
Dixie Competition Products
NSRCA 479 AMA 4190  W8CCW
"My Competition is Not My Enemy"



{Original Message removed}

2002\11\10@213717 by Dale Botkin

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On Sun, 10 Nov 2002, Wagner Lipnharski wrote:

> In a list of purchase, I bought a bag of small aluminum electrolytic cap
> 22uF x 10V

No Radio Shack stores in Orlando????  Even $.99 each for PN 272-1026
(radial) or 272-1014 (axial) would seem better than thousands in late
fees.

If a vendor screws up an order and I've got time to wait for them to make
it right, I let them.  If it's super critical, I'll make a new order for
the parts I need, have it shipped Fedex P1 and settle up later on.
Mistakes happen, no matter what kind of certification unmbers one has.

Dale

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2002\11\10@223710 by Robert Rolf

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Wagner,

I can understand your being mad with Digikey, but isn't it really YOUR
FAULT for not allowing for 'screw ups' in your supply chain??

Why would you order parts that are apparently _critical_ to your product
delivery date (Nov 8?) only 4 days before they're absolutely needed?
What if Digikey had been out of stock? Then where would you have been?

Yes, Digikey screwed up by sending you wrong parts, and by sending them
by ground, but YOU screwed up by not giving yourself any headroom or
a backup plan.

And as anyone familiar with ISO900x will tell you, having certification
only means that they will DOCUMENT their screw ups. It doesn't prevent them.
They probably have a document that tells them that they must send correction
orders by ground.

I would approach your customer and explain the problem, and see if
you can negotiate your way out of the penalty. It's not like they
were launching a rocket. And you can always ask if they have always
delivered absolutely perfectly all the time?
If not, count it as a lesson to you about "Planning for Failures".

Robert

P.S. I have always been amazed how I can order parts from Digikey
late into the night, and STILL have them on my desk by 10:00 the
NEXT DAY (and I'm up in the great white north). The only time that
hasn't happened was when the plane was grounded by bad weather, but
I still had two weeks to get alternate parts (if it had come to that).
They may not have 7x24 service, but it's pretty darned close.
For the small quantities I use in prototyping, the cost premium
is worth it. With nearly any other supplier you'd be looking at
weeks to get your problem fixed.

Wagner Lipnharski wrote:
{Quote hidden}

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2002\11\10@230901 by Sean Alcorn - PIC Stuff

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Wagner,

I can give you a list of ISO-9000 suppliers that I simply would not buy
a single resistor from!

Robert is right, ISO-9000 simply means they need to document their
screw-ups. Though which form do you use when you screw-up documenting
your screw-up? You should not give preference to a company simply
because they are ISO-9000 certified. By doing so, you are penalising
many smaller companies who probably do a better job at a more efficient
price - companies not unlike your own.

We have our own quality assurance system and refuse to have one
enforced on us by any outside party. When dealing with (supplying to)
an ISO-900x certified company for the first time, they usually send us
a form to fill out asking something like - "Are you certified?, If not,
when will you be?, If no plans, why not?"

I use this form to state my objections, and we never hear another word.
They continue to buy from us - even though we are not certified.

Regards,

Sean

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2002\11\10@235722 by Russell McMahon

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> P.S. I have always been amazed how I can order parts from Digikey
> late into the night, and STILL have them on my desk by 10:00 the
> NEXT DAY (and I'm up in the great white north).

I live one country, 1 time zone (which helps)  and about 1,500 miles of
ocean away from Farnell's nearest warehouse.
I can (usually) order components up to about 6:30pm and have the courier
deliver them about 6:30am next day.

I'm only about 20 miles from RS's warehouse and they are often but not
always good for 1/2 day delivery. But my last RS order was sent via a city
about 600 miles away.


           RM

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2002\11\11@001524 by cdb

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Obviously you have yet to marvel at the intricacies of the British
Postal system.

I could post a first class letter for delivery in London 6 miles from
me - it would go to Scotland (touch more than 6 miles away), down to
Cornwall (closer but still more than 100miles away) on the mail train
for primary sorting then back to Mount Pleasant for final bulk
sorting to local post office where it would then be sorted for the
allocated walk.

colin
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2002\11\11@003554 by Nate Duehr

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Mega-OT, but here goes...

On Sun, 2002-11-10 at 19:20, Wagner Lipnharski wrote:

As far as Digikey goes, as a customer I've rarely experienced what you
have.  I hope they're not on the downward side of the quality curve.

Not to get off on a rant here, but...

> My standby personnel answer emails within 6 hours of contact.  On evenings
> when we most receive emails from customers, they get surprised that we
> answer in minutes up to 2am.  My company is NOT on ISO-9000 yet, but
> appears that we don't need it, we do our job as planned and as promised,
> except, when a lousy supplier messes up with our plans.

You may or may not ever need it.  Thank your lucky stars that you have
such dedicated individuals on your staff, too.  (And thank *THEM*
often.)

The only time you need the certifications is just like in your personal
and professional life.  If you couldn't apply for a job you wanted to do
or to bid on, because you didn't meet the prerequisite requirement of
having a certification, you'd go get the certification.

If your customers seem to think you need it to do the job, or worse,
your customers say that only ISO-certified companies can bid on their
projects... you get certified.  Because that's the game.

(Once the customers figure out that there is little value in the
certifications the requirement will pass -- rejoice when a company
that's "certified" makes a mistake... it will help kill the perception
that there's value in the certification.)

In the three organizations I've been involved in that did ISO
certifications, the only thing they appeared to learn internally as a
skill they could retain from the process was how to create more
paperwork and less sale-able product, and their marginal cost of
production went up.  Way up.  (As best as I could figure.)  But because
of the cost involved, once they started down that path it was typical
"herd" mentality... It *MUST* be good to have this certification,
right?  Everyone else has it!  And we're almost there!

The last company I worked for that was doing an ISO-9000 certification
dropped the process when hard times hit... they realized they could
better service their customers with their "downsized" staff by working
on customer issues, rather than on the reams of documentation necessary
for ISO certification.  And the proof is in the pudding.  They're still
alive while competitors died off.  It was the right choice for their
niche.  Depending on your industry, choosing to not certify may not be
right for you.

If you already know how to design, document, and deliver product to your
customers properly, and they're satisfied with your performance, no
piece of paper like ISO will ever speak louder than the personal
references of your customers and their experiences with your
organization or you... UNLESS there's a REQUIREMENT that you have the
certification to sell to certain customers.

For a while in any closed market there will be powerful interest in NOT
dropping the requirement because other larger organizations (with more
cushion of time and money to waste) will see the money they spent
getting the certification (instead of servicing their customers) as
valuable to them -- even a "competitive advantage" -- and they'll defend
their closed market of customers who say "we require you to be
certified" and even actively foster that opinion with their customers
"Hey!  We're better, we're ISO Certified!".  But eventually customer
service and delivering what the customer wants always wins.

Many technology certifications for individuals are similar -- if the
individual already has proven aptitude toward learning specific types of
skills in system administration, network configuration, and/or operating
system and application software setup and configuration -- forcing the
individual to have a certification in those topics on a specific
technology is relatively silly, because most of the technology is not
"new" but just "repackaged" every few years.  However, Human Resource
departments do this all the time.  Serial data is still serial data,
TCP/IP is still TCP/IP, storage management is still storage management,
databases are still databases.

[Another side rant: When did we become Human Resources and not
Personnel?  Don't you think that choice of words says something right
there to the brilliant, intelligent employees you need to run your
business?]

As a person who has been a hiring manager before in a large organization
in the past -- I *dreamed* of getting something other than the
sanitized, sorted, and censored resumes the HR department forwarded to
me.  (And this is probably why personal references still get people jobs
80-90% of the time over resumes... interviewing and hiring the RIGHT
person is hard to do from a piece of paper that summarizes their life.)
Show me the crappy looking resume of the guy or gal that dragged their
butt up from a menial "non-thinking" job to a entry-level help desk
position while working two other jobs to pay the bills while they were
learning, instead of the freshly-minted "MCSE" from the technology
"college" in the burbs who thinks he or she deserves the job... any
day... I know who I'll hire and want to mentor.

I've long ago left management.  I'd rather play with the technology, and
I will probably always be that way.  And I'll always remember what my
first "real" manager taught me to remember as I worked my first
engineering job... "Quality Assurance is not a department.  It's an
attitude.  Do it, and admit your mistakes.  Never rely on someone else
to check the quality of your work -- it's your work.  Even if it's their
job to check it."

His words have carried me far beyond what anyone ever expected of the
kid who didn't have an engineering degree.  I've been the lead product
support "engineer" on numerous very high-dollar complex projects, and
can walk the talk.  I have the utmost respect for those with an
engineering degree who apply their knowledge -- they can easily whoop my
backside any day of the week.  If they want to.  And they deserve the
title of "Engineer" (with a capital-E) far more than I do.  But I've
learned that people are ultimately lazy creatures, and those who have
the mathematical talent and educational background sometimes believe
they're entitled to a certain lifestyle because they "know more than you
do".  About that time is when I put on the steam, pour the coal to it,
and whip them by taking better care of their customers than they do.

I'm usually not in it for the accolades, or awards or anything like
that... that's just the icing on the cake... Sometimes I am motivated
just because they said "you can't do that... you don't know how."

Nothing motivates me more or gets me more charged up than to make
someone else's customer happier with my service and abilities than a
competitor did... ESPECIALLY if they're supposed to be "certified" or
"qualified" and I'm not.  Oh man, is that FUN!  But having a customer
REMEMBER you a decade later and tell you that you always gave them the
best service... That's something to be treasured.  It doesn't happen
often.

Keep the faith -- take care of your customers and throw the pamphlets
from the ISO-selling certification people in the trash if you can afford
to.  Your customers will know you're the place to go when they need
something.

(And then my cynical side kicks in and says that... Then... your bigger
competitor who can't figure out how you did it will buy you out -- but
hopefully that means you'll laugh all the way to the bank... and do it
all over again in something else...)

Just smile and grin when you see "ISO 900X Certified" -- that means the
other company spent a lot of their people's time, and a whole lot of
money on the certification that you can spend making things better for
your customers!

Nate, natespamKILLspamnatetech.com

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2002\11\11@014812 by Mike Singer

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Nate Duehr wrote:
> As a person who has been a hiring manager before in a large
organization
> in the past -- I *dreamed* of getting something other than the
> sanitized, sorted, and censored resumes the HR department forwarded to
> me.  (And this is probably why personal references still get people
jobs
> 80-90% of the time over resumes... interviewing and hiring the RIGHT
> person is hard to do from a piece of paper that summarizes their
life.)
> Show me the crappy looking resume of the guy or gal that dragged their
> butt up from a menial "non-thinking" job to a entry-level help desk
> position while working two other jobs to pay the bills while they were
> learning, instead of the freshly-minted "MCSE" from the technology
> "college" in the burbs who thinks he or she deserves the job... any
> day... I know who I'll hire and want to mentor.

Nate,
  Could you post any funny story with job candidates,
being interviewed, please. You should have a lot of them, I think.
  How do you think, what approach to find a job works better:
sending numerous resumes or finding a right job-hunter to be
introduced to hiring managers personally?

Thanks.
      Mike.




  Mike.

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2002\11\11@031318 by Nate Duehr

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On Sun, 2002-11-10 at 22:49, Mike Singer wrote:
>    Could you post any funny story with job candidates,
> being interviewed, please. You should have a lot of them, I think.

Well, that's SUPER off topic for the PIC-List... but... I know there are
a lot of people looking for work these days, and these might strike some
folks as funny...

The best was the guy who when asked "What do you plan to do here with
the company?" looked us straight in the eye and said, "Hang out until I
retire, man."  He was in his twenties and the company was a start-up.

He did get points for "bravery"!  (GRIN)

The other one that was interesting was the guy who when asked if he had
anything else he'd like to add at the end of the interview said, dead
seriously, "You can't ask me about that."

Yikes!  We never did bother to find out what that meant...

The sad ones are the ones where someone completely unqualified for the
position sneaks through by a misunderstanding over something they put on
the resume.  It was very very rare, but extremely uncomfortable for the
interviewers as you all slowly realized the person had NONE of the
skill-set talent for the job.  Those are painful.  If you hear the magic
words "I'm not sure you're a fit for this position" from the other side
of the table, you'd better turn on the charm and use every ounce of your
wits to explain why you DO fit... because that's a seriously bad sign.
(On the other hand, I've seen a few managers who use the phrase to scare
people and see how they react under severe pressure... I find this
unprofessional and mean.)

The only other strange answer to that "Do you have anything else to
add?" was when a candidate told me that (after I'd already decided he
was one of two people who'd be in the running for the position) that a
Sr. Vice President of the company had asked him to apply.  When I asked
why, the young man answered that he had a felony background and that our
VP was involved in a program through his church to put people back on
their feet after getting out of probation/jail sentences.  I was
stunned.

I agonized over the decision and also had a discussion with the VP who
said he would understand completely if this person were not a good fit
for the position and that he wanted me to hire the RIGHT person for the
job... not this young man because he knew someone higher-up.

Ultimately, I hired the young man who had slightly less technical skill
than the other candidate on the grounds that he had been 100% honest
with me and showed an INTENSE desire to have the position during the
interview -- while he was still willing to confide what was probably his
WORST fear to me during the interview.

His desire to come to work every day, do his job perfectly to take care
of his family, and his "interesting" background made for some really
funny stories while we went about the work we had before us for the next
year or so before I moved on to other things.

Our first on-the-job meeting went something like this... "Don... you are
paired up with the toughest person I think anyone could ever have as a
mentor.  [One of my other system admins...]  You will have to follow him
around and learn from him and he will NOT enjoy it.  He wanted a more
senior person in this job, and he does not want to be a trainer.  You
and your attitude will make or break what you can learn from him, and
ultimately what you can do here in this position.  I know you want the
job badly and you want to learn.  I am telling you right here and now
that the best person to do that from is [insert name here] and not me.
He's the best here, and if you can start rivaling his abilities, you'll
be in a system administration career for many years to come."

Don is now one of the smartest Unix system administrators I have ever
had the pleasure of working with.  He appreciated the no-nonsense...
"you will learn from the other admin everything he knows, or you will be
gone" approach.  Not everyone responds to that... but he did.  Quite
frankly, I know I just got lucky.  He both needed the job very badly and
he loved the work.  Finding that combination is relatively rare.

And finally KNOW YOUR STUFF.  Be prepared to answer tough questions if
you're a techie... but don't always expect them.  Some places soft-petal
the first interview and hit you smack between the eyes with the
technical questions in round two.  Other's never ask them.  You just
don't know... but do NOT be afraid to say "I don't know."  This shows a
lot of bravery during an interview.  I got a position once just because
I said those three words and followed them up with, "But I will be happy
to look that up in the EIA/TIA spec book or on the Internet and send you
the correct answer."

>    How do you think, what approach to find a job works better:
> sending numerous resumes or finding a right job-hunter to be
> introduced to hiring managers personally?

If you can get them, ANY kind of introduction to ANYONE at a company is
always better than a paper resume.  You have an opportunity (once only,
maybe) to make an impression that will last a long time with someone.
They can say they KNOW you, even if it's only in passing.

The "How to find a job" books are right... (and I've done a stint this
last year among the unemployed...)... talk to every darn person you know
and let them know you're looking.  Call them regularly and mention that
you're still looking, and eventually your "network" will turn up
something.

Of course, you keep sending the resumes too... you just never know.  And
if you get an interview, ALWAYS send a thank you letter.  (If the hiring
manager is having a hard time making a decision between two top-notch
candidates, and they receive a courteous, professional thank you note
from someone two days after the interview, who will they pick?   You may
even change their mind... because sending the Thank You letter say "I
WANT THIS JOB!", loud and clear.).

While unemployed, make it your "job" to find a job.  Get up everyday and
do something toward finding a job.  You're now a small business owner
and that small business is YOU.  It becomes REALLY hard after a number
of months to do this.  REALLY hard.  You'll have days where you can't
make yourself do it... motivation is a huge factor.  LAUGHTER helps...
see http://www.oddtodd.com for inspiration.  (And think about all of the WORK
he had to put into the web-site to make fun of NOT working...)

And always always always... ASK FOR THE JOB!  In the interview, usually
at the end, there's an opportunity for you to "add" anything you'd like
to say.  Politely tell the interviewers that you really WANT to work for
them.  Practice this.  The first time you say it, it feels awkward.
Very awkward.  Figure out how to be 100% convincing and say, "I want
this job."  If you can't say it, you must not want the job anyway,
right?  Do you want the job?  If you don't sound convincing to yourself,
practice it.  And SAY IT in the interview.

You'd be amazed at how many interviews I've done where I came out
saying, "He/She is a great fit and has the skills to do the job, but I'm
just not sure he really wants to work here?  Did you get that feeling
too?"

My experience after many months in the last year without work, (not all
back-to-back, I did some consulting and had a friend who helped me out
with a "network monitoring" job that didn't even come close to paying
the bills, but was HIGHLY appreciated):

I had three interviews in the same week with three different
organizations after not having any interviews at all for months -- I was
amazed.  (PIC's were helping me keep my sanity... I worked on little PIC
projects in the evenings.  Doing something new kept my mind occupied so
it had little time to worry.  Now, as a benefit, I understand a whole
bunch about microcontrollers that I didn't before and will continue to
enjoy building things out of PIC's. -- And maybe a few other types of uC
now that I can probably afford to buy lots of parts... that poor
paycheck isn't going to know what hit it!)

Two of these were started by personal references from friends, one I
found by accident via e-mails exchanged with a guy who appeared to have
a really neat project that fell into my skill set... He had posted
information about the project (not that he had a job opening) to a local
user's group mailing list for a specific technology I'm interested in
and I just e-mailed him and started chatting about it.

He then mentioned that his small company was planning to hire support
people for the product.  He just happened to be the Technology VP for
this place, and as we talked some more he offered an interview.  YOU
NEVER KNOW where you might meet someone who needs your skills at their
workplace.

I'm going to work for one of those three companies tomorrow (ugggh...
make that *today*, it's well after midnight...), and had an offer from
one of the other ones.

The amazing part of the story?  The chain of events that led to the
place I'm starting with tomorrow?  The manager sent an Instant Messenger
type message to a friend of mine saying... "I'm looking for someone who
can do XYZ... any ideas?"... or something similar.  My friend, who still
knew I was looking because I made it a point to keep in touch with
*everyone* I knew, said something to the effect of... "You should hire
Nate."

I know there are lots of folks out there looking for work right now.
The only advice I can really offer is two-fold... Something WILL come,
and more importantly, you DO have friends who care about you and you're
NOT alone.  No matter who you are.  Start a conversation about what you
do best with everyone you talk to.  Talk to, e-mail, or otherwise
contact at least five real people a day.  Even if it's just your
next-door-neighbor.  Do not quit "working" that day at your "job" until
you have.

The hardest part for hiring managers, even today with huge job databases
like monster.com, dice.com, etc etc etc... is finding that one person in
a pile of resumes who will add value to their team, the company, and
make coming to work as their manager and/or co-worker a joy instead of a
job.

All the best in the hunt...

Nate

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2002\11\11@035208 by James Caska

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>"Hang out until I retire, man."
> He was in his twenties and the company was a start-up.

Perhaps he thought the startup was going to IPO in 6 months and he
would retire and surf the rest of his life away

JC

{Original Message removed}

2002\11\11@045344 by Mike Singer

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Nate Duehr wrote:
> >    Could you post any funny story with job candidates,
> > being interviewed, please. You should have a lot of them, I think.
>
> Well, that's SUPER off topic for the PIC-List... but... I know there
are
> a lot of people looking for work these days, and these might strike
some
> folks as funny...
.
.
  I'm impressed: hunting for a job is a sort of science...

  Thank you very much.

  Mike.

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2002\11\11@050207 by Andy Kunz

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>And as anyone familiar with ISO900x will tell you, having certification
>only means that they will DOCUMENT their screw ups. It doesn't prevent them.

It also means they will screw up the same consistently in the same way.

>They probably have a document that tells them that they must send correction
>orders by ground.

Which is approved by a bean-counter to help reduce the costs imposed by
ISO-9xxx'ing the company.  It also removes the ability of people to think
for themselves.

Just lovely, no?  I work for an ISO'd company and while much of the
internal documentation is good (it's standard engineering practice anyway)
it sucks as far as making us a unique, customer-responsive company.  In one
way it standardizes us as a "me too" company.

It must have been developed by a social engineering major run amuck.

Andy

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2002\11\11@074106 by Roman Black

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cdb wrote:
>
> Obviously you have yet to marvel at the intricacies of the British
> Postal system.
>
> I could post a first class letter for delivery in London 6 miles from
> me - it would go to Scotland (touch more than 6 miles away), down to
> Cornwall (closer but still more than 100miles away) on the mail train
> for primary sorting then back to Mount Pleasant for final bulk
> sorting to local post office where it would then be sorted for the
> allocated walk.


Which Mount Pleasant??
-Roman

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2002\11\11@102729 by Matt Pobursky

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On Sun, 10 Nov 2002 20:37:08 -0600, Dale Botkin wrote: ...snip...
> No Radio Shack stores in Orlando????  Even $.99 each for PN 272-1026
> (radial) or 272-1014 (axial) would seem better than thousands in late
> fees.


> If a vendor screws up an order and I've got time to wait for them to
> make it right, I let them.  If it's super critical, I'll make a new
> order for the parts I need, have it shipped Fedex P1 and settle up
> later on.
> Mistakes happen, no matter what kind of certification unmbers one
> has.

Dales got this one right. If I had $1000's riding on a late delivery
fee, I'd have spent the few bucks and ordered again with overnite
delivery. Been there, done that... Both Wagner's way and Dale's way
-- Dale's works better! ;-)
Matt Pobursky
Maximum Performance Systems

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2002\11\11@104842 by Spehro Pefhany

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At 03:09 PM 11/11/02 +0000, you wrote:
>Obviously you have yet to marvel at the intricacies of the British
>Postal system.
>
>I could post a first class letter for delivery in London 6 miles from
>me - it would go to Scotland (touch more than 6 miles away), down to
>Cornwall (closer but still more than 100miles away) on the mail train
>for primary sorting then back to Mount Pleasant for final bulk
>sorting to local post office where it would then be sorted for the
>allocated walk.

If you send an envelope FedEx from one floor of a Manhattan office
building to another, it will go to their massive sorting center
in Memphis (over 1000 miles/1600km) and back (double it). At least
that is how they did it until recently, they seem to have added more hubs.

Funny thing is, FedEx very rarely screws up. They are not the cheapest,
of course.

Best regards,

Spehro Pefhany --"it's the network..."            "The Journey is the reward"
EraseMEspeffspaminterlog.com             Info for manufacturers: http://www.trexon.com
Embedded software/hardware/analog  Info for designers:  http://www.speff.com

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2002\11\12@023244 by Jesse Lackey

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Well-written and inspirational.
After 10 months of unemployment after being laid-off at a goofy startup
doing boring Windows code for a control-freak manager - the company has
since collapsed - I now do freelance electronics design for artists and
others in new york city.  1/3 the income, 50x the personal satisfaction.

Building an electronic art piece for a one-evening show with a PIC (my
2nd microcontroller project ever, the first being something incomplete
in 1997) got noticed and led, directly and indirectly, to three paying
projects.  A chance meeting at a linux audio demo / presentation led to
a 2-month $9K audio design project.  I'm always chatting with techies,
handing out business cards, etc.  A whole different lifestyle than
engineer cog in cubicle from 9:17am until whenever monday to friday.

Nate mentioned oddtodd.com.  Yes!  Very on target.  And, as said in one
of the cartoons, "do what you love and the money will follow".  I did -
the electronic Art project and making the switch from Windows to Linux -
and I still wake up not totally believing my "job" / "career" is for
real.  I'm living 75% of my unemployed lifestyle, only with financial
stability and a little more cohesive end results of EE fiddling.  I
don't know *anyone* in nyc that does what I do.  I have to describe my
work b/c when I tell people the title I made up - "freelance electronics
design" - I get, "what's that?"

Ok back to client research.  Speech compression algorithms suitable for
a PIC to decompress out of flash memory and play - how cool is that?  :)

Jesse



Nate Duehr wrote:
...
{Quote hidden}

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2002\11\12@025822 by Jonathan Johnson

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Jesse,
SNIP>
Ok back to client research.  Speech compression algorithms suitable for
a PIC to decompress out of flash memory and play - how cool is that?  :)

I'm looking at something similar at the moment...maybe we should compare
note's
Currently trying for the best algorithm I can get to run on a PIC or AVR,
there are plenty of algorithms out there that work great....on a DSP.
Best of luck

Jonathan

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2002\11\13@025336 by Jesse Lackey

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Hi - after some looking around and trying different ones out with sound
forge XP (I have their $40 lite version for occasionally making CDs from
DAT tapes) I think ADPCM is possible with a PIC and sounds ...
reasonable.  In Sound Forge (or cool edit, but my freebie trial has
expired, so no saves anymore) try saving a clip with different
compressors, then play it back.  I did these for a 5 sec spoken word
clip @ 16Khz and 8Khz sample rates, then made a CD of the results and
played it for the client.  I didn't look into the details of ADPCM
decoder CPU crunch complexity, but compared to the descriptions of the
others, it seemed doable.

Also look at winbond's "chipcorder" parts, all-in-one flash mem +
playback.  Digikey has them.

However, I think my client has her heart set on mp3.  So, I *finally*
get to make an mp3 player!  For pay!  Yessssss!  :)

I got all my info via google searches.
For very low bitrates (13Kbits/sec range) GSM may be doable with a PIC.
 When saved in this format in Sound Forge, it sounded pretty bad.  But
its the european cellphone standard, and it must be better then what I
had.  There are free codec implementations w/source, but I wanted to get
the client's opinion before wading off into those waters...

J



Jonathan Johnson wrote:
{Quote hidden}

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2002\11\14@061038 by Morgan Olsson

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I have too seen companies becomig less reliable after ISOxxxx certification.

I think it is simply that ISOxxxx cost heavily in money and labour, leaving less resources left for quality.
(ISO only specifies routines, intended for consistency, *not* high quality)

Also, ISO means hard documented routines, that means less flexibility, especially when somethings go wrong...

I´d rather trust recommendations and earlier experiences.
Becoming harder as companies buys each other, each others products, etc, etc... :/

/Morgan
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2002\11\15@005717 by Wagner Lipnharski

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Robert Rolf wrote:
> Wagner,
>
> I can understand your being mad with Digikey, but isn't it really YOUR
> FAULT for not allowing for 'screw ups' in your supply chain??
>
> Why would you order parts that are apparently _critical_ to your
> product delivery date (Nov 8?) only 4 days before they're absolutely
> needed? What if Digikey had been out of stock? Then where would you
> have been?
>
> Yes, Digikey screwed up by sending you wrong parts, and by sending
> them by ground, but YOU screwed up by not giving yourself any
> headroom or a backup plan.


As you can imagine, 100 parts is not for a long term planned production.
For those we stock weeks before - but beware of bad components - Some
companies only accept bad parts return in 30 days or less....  We already
had bad experience with 7805 units produced by TI (Mexico) - they regulate
anything but 5V - some gives me 4.6V, others 4.8, others 4.3V, when we
found out it was 60+ days, a bunch of dead weight - "You had 30 days to
return, we are very sorry - we can't do nothing". So, if you buy with 6
weeks in advance of the project, take a weekend and test every resistor,
capacitor, etc. Would you? Guess not.

These 50 prototypes were requested Monday morning, customer was paying a
good money to have it done in 5 days (wow), but a heavy late-delivery fine
was signed. Boards were designed in 20 hours (overtime and all), produced
in a very costly rush 24h, all parts involved requested Monday from 3
different suppliers, everything in triplicate just to ensure availability
on Wednesday, except that little heck of capacitor, only Digikey had it.
As Digikey never failed us before, we requested 2nd day delivery since we
had enough time to correct any mistake 3 times if necessary using next day
air, even with Saturday delivery.  Murphy's law never shinned so bright,
just that bugger was not delivered. Our backup plan worked.  We identified
Digikey failure Wednesday and requested a correction. It could happens more
two failures if they would screw up twice if sending next day delivery.
What we didn't count, was that Digikey would mess up twice, and screwing up
exactly in the time link - promising a next day delivery and shipping
ground service - that was not expected.

Of course, production was busy assembling the boards in a rush, trusting
Digikey was to deliver. Saturday morning. Customer accepted to have a
different capacitor brand/model on board - with restrictions and extensive
testing needed (to approve the new cap). Tried several local components
store, Orlando is horrible for electronic components stores. Without any
success for that little small capacitor - no tantalum allowed in the
prototypes.  That little bug makes part of a time delay system. Couldn't be
anything worse.

Radio Shack???  you mean ToysShack?  The only electronic components I can
find at Radio Shack actually are few HCMOS parts as 74HC00, 74HC74 and some
2n2222 transistors, some ridiculous plastic bags of mixed caps and
resistors, a bunch of wire (what in the heck they have so much wire and
cable?) and lots of antenna hardware - poles, bolts - again, who in the
heck still messing around with so much antennas? Batteries? oh, yeah!
thousands of them. Toys? oh, yeah!  Telephone sets? oh, yeah! all colors.
Kits about solar-cell-motor? oh yeah! we need very much those available
Saturday morning. Jumbo RED LED? Oh yeah! we need those every single day...

Last 10 times I entered Radio Shack found nothing I was looking for - the
clerk is already thinking I am against him. - DB15 connector - any kind?
No. DB25 Female right Angle pcb soldering? No. IRF530 equivalent Power FET?
No. 74HC14, come on... No!,  A good narrow tip (0.8mm) 30W soldering iron
(good means > $30 ok?) No!  RJ45 modular connector? No!   Next time I need
an electronic toy I know where I can find it:  ToysRus!

Back to Digikey on Monday, few thou le$$ in the pocket - called Digikey
customer service, found the mess - wow .  My first question was; "How do
you usually ship the correct part when you do a mistake like this?" -
answer: "Depends on the rush of the customer".  So, suppose, I am a
customer that just by some divine inspiration choose 2nd day delivery at
the purchase order.  Then you send a wrong part.  I inform the failure.
What you do? Rush like hell to fix the problem and send Next Day Early
Morning to minimize customer impact? or just drop the package into a truck
since the best thing customers enjoy is keep waiting for the parts during a
whole week after the part was found wrong? paid 2nd day and receive 10 days
later...  She asked me: "Did you request the correct part to be sent next
day?" - I almost answered I was to request it to be sent by a 5 yrs old boy
carrier wearing tick glasses and driving a bicycle with training wheels
from River Falls MN to Florida - come on, what you think it was accorded
about shipping on Wednesday?  The attendant said it was to be shipped RED
and delivered next day - I not even needed to ask - it was natural to
understand Red Label shipping was the only logical thing to do.

They ship another box Red Label - received the correct parts exactly 7 days
(Tuesday) after I reported the mess.

The SEP-DEC/2002 Digi-Key catalog front page shows in 3/4" tall yellow
letters;
DELIVERY BREAKTHROUGH!
wow, yes, of course, they do it, now they will start to do some effort to
make sure the CORRECT PARTS are in the box!

That's ok, we are focusing our purchases now on Mouser.

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