Grade 8 Bolt Syndrome

No matter how long you work in this industry, you will never cease to be amazed at the Grade 8 Bolt Syndrome. What is this syndrome you ask? It is the ability of management to view everything a company spends money on as Grade 8 bolts. Every vendor’s product is considered the same, and therefore, non-unique. Then they try to shove all of these “similar” vendors into a vendor management system where the lowest bid automatically wins.

Each and every proponent of this system is brain dead. There is no other excuse. They don’t watch the news and they don’t read any magazine articles about the tragedy surrounding them. Those rose colored glasses are firmly in place because only “ they” can see the big picture.

To start with, they should spend a little time watching the History Channel when it runs the “Engineering Disasters” series. They need to understand just how many vendors of Grade 8 bolts provide substandard steel products hoping nobody notices. Assuming they are near any major metropolis, they should contact the head of the building inspectors and request just how many code violations had to be fixed in the office building they are standing in.

Substandard materials is a tried and true MBA method of turning a profit. If you could compile a list of all the times a supplier substituted cheaper bolts and rivets during building construction you would have one massive stack of paper. This is a lesson the Chinese MBA’s seem to have learned well. Simply look back to the news stories of “tainted toothpaste”. Why pay for disposal of automotive antifreeze when you can simply blend it in with the toothpaste and sell it?

Of course, once you have your vendors on a management list, your next step as an MBA is to get them to enter a “bidding war”. Not a bidding war where the price goes up, but to get them to continually slash costs. Of course, they always try to squeeze in something far below standard during this process. The mindless little MBA’s think they are so smart getting this bidding war to happen. They don’t have the knowledge to actually inspect anything when it arrives. Buildings fall down and people die, but not before they get a quarterly bonus.

Now we see the same thing happening with consulting. The slash the rate war has taken on a new perspective. With the crummy phone lines and lack of visual, you now do a “team” interview when interviewing these supposedly qualified off-shore candidates. I’ve sat in on too many of them, and every off-shore company does it. After each question is asked you can hear the “mute” button activated on the other end. When sound comes back you hear a shuffling of people moving around and the “candidate” gives you an answer. What is happening is they have a team of people in the room. You are always on speaker so everybody in the room can hear the question. Then they mute it and you get an answer a few minutes later. The person actually answering the questions isn’t the person being hired.

They get away with this using the excuse that the rep or manager for the person wants to listen in on the interview to appraise how it goes or some such bother. It’s all a lie. You are interviewing an entire team, but hiring the least qualified individual in the room. Once you have sunk thousands of dollars into bringing them over on an H1-B visa you find out you might as well have hired a stone. They constantly have to call back home for information, and it takes them months to get done what a qualified person can get done over a weekend. Since management will never, you are stuck with this person until their contract runs out. You get less than a tenth of what was assigned to your group done, and you will be the one taking the fall for it at review time. Management will award itself another quarterly bonus for having saved the company so much money.

Welcome to the Grade 8 Bolt Syndrome.

Roland Hughes started his IT career in the early 1980s. He quickly became a consultant and president of Logikal Solutions, a software consulting firm specializing in OpenVMS application and C++/Qt touchscreen/embedded Linux development. Early in his career he became involved in what is now called cross platform development. Given the dearth of useful books on the subject he ventured into the world of professional author in 1995 writing the first of the "Zinc It!" book series for John Gordon Burke Publisher, Inc. A decade later he released a massive (nearly 800 pages) tome "The Minimum You Need to Know to Be an OpenVMS Application Developer" which tried to encapsulate the essential skills gained over what was nearly a 20 year career at that point. From there "The Minimum You Need to Know" book series was born. Three years later he wrote his first novel "Infinite Exposure" which got much notice from people involved in the banking and financial security worlds. Some of the attacks predicted in that book have since come to pass. While it was not originally intended to be a trilogy, it became the first book of "The Earth That Was" trilogy: Infinite Exposure Lesedi - The Greatest Lie Ever Told John Smith - Last Known Survivor of the Microsoft Wars When he is not consulting Roland Hughes posts about technology and sometimes politics on his blog. He also has regularly scheduled Sunday posts appearing on the Interesting Authors blog.