Wednesday, March 21, 2007

An anecdote of an assholeness of ex-(civil/army/police) officer

I hate this one specific ex-officer.

Based on what I gathered, ever since he lived in this one exclusive residential estate, permits involving every construction project in that area become his business. The procedure to get a permit is very bureaucratic, EVEN WHEN WE GIVE MONEY to his staffs. You really don't want to know how worse it is when we hadn't give any money yet.

Even after we get the permit, we must still endure a painstakingly long procedure to have the gate keeper allow any delivery even if it's delivered using a fucking small 4-wheels truck. Such delay may cause problem in a project profit since no material means no work can be done.

And this whole permit business is not even acknowledged by government. Basically, he unofficially control this area and pulling out rules from his asshole and apply them as he sees fit.

Friday, March 16, 2007

Vendors compliance with specification

In my somewhat limited experience, vendors of materials in Indonesia, particularly in construction industry, is rather bad in complying with promised specification.

There is one high profile company whose product did not satisfy advertised specification. What they did is quite scandalous given it's position as a market leader and it's name affiliation to a highly reputable multi-national company with highly significant presence in it's field..

People whose work specialize in that field can easily identify the specification change. On the other hand, although the change is visible with naked eye, it's quite subtle. I don't think I will ever realize the change if noone point it to me.

Sadly, not many field worker point it to their supervisor. Maybe they they thought they don' want to complicate their daily work because of this "whistle blowing".

There is another company, whose brand is very strong on the Indonesia's public eye (depending on province), who changed it's product specification recently to the one with far less production cost (as of today..). But this company is more upfront. They actually state their new specification in the packaging. They also tell their distributor and large customer about the change.

Sadly, they don't tell the retail market about the change. Although not telling the retail market is arguably a good decision in marketing perspective, what they do might make many new buildings become unsafe...

Anyway, the market of material that has no specification in Indonesia, is bad.
Given equal price, the materials are getting worse these days. They are so bad that you might end up with better materials if you take used materials of an old building.

Many contractors know this for a fact, but they rarely try to reuse used materials. There are many reasons.
1. The using of used materials are not specified in a construction projects even though used materials might be superior than new materials of the same type (for example un-ovened wood).
2. Incorporating used materials in project specification is going to make the contractors looks bad..
2. With the relatively high price of second hand materials, it's more profitable to actually sell the old materials. But the administration of gathering and selling used materials are difficult to do accurately thus prone to corruption. Therefore, attempt to sell used material might negatively impact workers morality.

btw, there is a reasonably sized market of second hand materials in Jakarta, Indonesia. The group who benefit the most from this market are poor people who want to build housing.

NB: The poor people will be hit the most with the specification change of the 2nd company mentioned above. It's because they usually build with as less materials as possible and they don't know that current specification requires more materials.

I had mentioned this specification change to a major customer of mine and suggesting other product with less prominent brand name, but they disregard it. Maybe they don't want complication.. Anyway, a few days ago they asked about the detail of the product change (which means that they never forget what I said before), it seems that they begin to have some.. problems..

Mark my word, this can later become a PR nightmare for this company..

Too bad I'm not perfectly anonymous, not to mention the relationship I had..

Friday, March 09, 2007

Is anger a proper reaction?

I don't know why but this week my mood is pretty bad. Although I do get angry from time to time, I rarely explode in front of everybody. Well, not that rarely but I may say relatively rare. Anyway, a couple of days ago I cracked. I threw a fit of anger and do lots of yelling.

What particular about this anger is that I don't really know whether the situation deserve such an extreme reaction or not. In addition, by being angry I lost a key advantage in doing business with them..

The event is really simple. That particular day, the quality of materials delivered to me is really pathetic. It's so pathetic that I, the one who usually tolerates many defects by allocating the materials usage so that defects become irrelevant, end up rejecting up to 90% of what they sent.

All supposed to be well. Bad goods, relative to their price, get rejected. It's fair. But the supplier had the guts to talk to his friend, saying that I should not order those items if I don't know how to identify good materials, in a deragatory tone. He said all of that it in a language that, given the situation, it's safe to assume that I don't understand.

But I do understand the language. And boy oh boy, I yelled at them, in front of everybody. I challenged them to show people the materials they had sent before. And let everybody be the judge of how bad their goods were.

Luckily, they had the decency to not take the challenge and just shut up. Unluckily to me, now that they know I can speak their language, I don't have the chance to eavesdrop while doing business with them..

Anyway, this event made me think. I'm not supposed to be that angry to them considering that they do not intend their conversation to be heard by me...

Oh well..

The independent business woman, cancelled

There goes again another blog posting I wrote due to my effort to anonymized the parties involved.. Anyway, I'll just post the footnote.

In Indonesia, resolving a receivable due (by parties who do not really trust each other yet) is done by exchanging money or giro with invoice and/or delivery order. The seller usually send his debt collector to buyer office to do the exchange on site.