Thursday, January 27, 2005

Human Error

The four water tanks arrived last week, but I had to send 3 of them back. They were 1100 gallons instead of the 1000 gallon tanks I'd ordered. Not a big deal except that the two designs are radically different, the former being short and squat and the latter talll and skinny. The shed I'd built for the tanks accommodates only the taller skinner ones.

Another error, from a different vendor, resulted in several metal fittings ordered galvanized being delivered with out the specified coating. In addition 30 custom brackets were the wrong model completely.

I mention both of these because they were both due to human error on the part of the vendor. Errors that could have been avoided if they would allow ordering through their websites. Or at the very least any error would have been my own. This seems important when in both cases any meager margins for the products were consumed and then some by the errors.

In the case of the tanks, it's a bit more understantable that there is no direct ordering as the logistics of shipping are involved, but in the other case it's harder to understand. The company is Simpson StrongTie and though one has to look up the model and download the custom order form from their website, one is forced to go through a dealer to order them. This seems a complete and unnecessary waste.

On the other hand how far will automation take us? Are these really incompetent humans that can do better or at least not representative of most humans or is some level of incompetence a human trait that we should recognize, and if not celebrate, at least abide? If in order to satisfy my desire to never be inconvenienced in the slightest way the human element must be removed is my being invonvenienced really the most important thing?

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