There are some really witty entries which I can't really compete with but I remember hearing an anecdote which fits in with the theme, so I thought I'd share it. I hope I won't be lynched for hijacking the caption contest thread! :-)
It all goes back to about 20 years ago. An old and once prestigious, large electronics company with three letters in its name was slowly marching towards its death. They just didn't know it, yet. Their financial situation looked increasingly dire. It was also at the time when outsourcing was still in its infancy and large companies were still stocking parts and having their own production lines.
The story went something like this:
To reduce the value of inventory on their books, the company instituted a policy that any stock items which were not used up within a certain number of months after purchase, were to be written off and dumped. However, some enterprising staff member noticed that sometimes perfectly good parts are thrown out in the dumpster and he "rescued" good items and tried to make a bit of money by selling them, where he could.
As it happened, one day, an important order rolled in but it had to be delivered on a very short deadline and the company was scrambling to find all the required parts. In the end, they found all parts, except one which was on a very long lead time. Although, the missing part was of small value even in the required quantity, the order could not be completed without it. If they just hadn't scrapped hundreds of the very same part, a couple of weeks before!!
At this point, the enterprising staff member put up his hand that he COULD get those parts. Backed into the corner, the company agreed and bought the parts which enabled them to complete the order for the customer, get paid and live another day.
It was an unfortunate event for the company already on a financial knife's edge and it lead to questions. Management was angry and they set up a meeting to resolve the situation for the future.
The outcome was that they changed the scrapping policy so that before parts were dumped, they had to be physically destroyed, to stop stuff profiteering from it.
As a post script, later, I was talking to somebody else from the same company who had a different take on the above but I won't let that stand in the way of a good story!
The company itself struggled on for a few more years before eventually going under. I may have another anecdote concerning their demise but I'll save that for a rainy day. ;-)
As we unveil EE Times’ 2015 Silicon 60 list, journalist & Silicon 60 researcher Peter Clarke hosts a conversation on startups in the electronics industry. Panelists from incubators join Peter Clarke in debate.