This is a story on what happens when you do not manage your outsourcing properly.

I just got back from an extremely tiring day at work thanks to Dell.

My company does system integration and development as well as provide IT support services. A client of ours just ordered a new Dell laptop with us helping in the purchase process. The order was worth more than RM10,000 and included a 19″ LCD monitor, a Dell D410 notebook and a docking station. (I recommended IBM but the client insisted on Dell!)

The first problem came when somehow the sales personnel forgot the order included a docking station.

“Oh you want a docking station ah?”

“Yes, it says right here on the order.”

“Oh okay.”

After the sales personnel finally “believed” we ordered and paid for a docking station, the item was built. We requested that the goods be shipped before Friday as the country manager wanted to take the laptop on a trip. He was flying off on Friday morning to visit remote sites. Normal lah, oil and gas industry.

This was a week ago. The days passed by and it was Wednesday. The next problem. The notebook is ready and has been shipped to the depot in Shah Alam. But the delivery person might not be able to deliver on time. Fine, we said we’ll collect it from Shah Alam ourselves.

On Thursday morning, we find out the notebook has already been shipped out and will reach the client’s office at Jalan Tun Razak at around 4:30. We were told we would be called when they arrive.

4:30 came, still no call. No sign of the delivery person. 5pm. 6pm. Still no sign. We were getting pissed off. We had to setup the laptop and they were wasting our time.

Suddenly we got a call. The courier company told us that there was something wrong with the delivery truck driver and the notebook could only be delivered tomorrow. We insisted that we needed the notebook today. Then the courier company told us the truck driver just admitted himself into General Hospital because he had a heart attack or something. The courier company said if it was really urgent we could go over to the GH and take the goods from the truck.

At this moment, I was thinking could things get any worse? Life shoved the answer in my face later.

So we left the office at 6:30pm from Jalan Tun Razak and struggled through the jam to General Hospital which was actually not too far away.

We were trying to call the delivery person throughout our journey there. His phone seemed turned off. The courier company could not contact him either. Once we reached GH, he finally picked up the phone. Not bad for a guy who just got a heart attack. He sounded fine!

“Where are you? We’re at GH now.”

“Oh, I just left GH.”

“WTF? You left GH? Where are you now?”

“I’m on the highway.”

“Stop wherever you are, we’ll come and get the notebook.”

“Oh oh, cannot I didn’t drive the truck. I’m in my car.”

“In the car? Where are you? Where’s the truck? Hello? Hello?”

The bastard cut our line off.

We called the courier company. None of them knew what was happening. Both the courier company and Dell were very apologetic but none of them knew what was happening and how to contact the guy who was driving the truck.

The courier company that Dell had outsourced the delivery to had apparently outsourced delivery to another smaller courier company. Communication between all three parties were terrible. The only people who knew the big picture was us, the dudes who were suffering waiting around for nothing and driving through all the jams on a wild goose chase.

Dell said they would speak to the courier company.

The courier company said someone was coming over to open the truck and pass the goods to us. They gave us the contact of the seconded courier company. We gave them a call.

The seconded courier company said no one was coming.

We called the courier company again and told them the seconded courier company said no one was coming. They said they would sort it out for us.

We were waiting at the mamak. Making alot of phone calls. Maxis must be happy.

Anyway time passed and we got fed up. At 8pm when we were about to leave, the courier company called and told us don’t leave as someone was coming over. They gave us contacts to call. We called the contact.

They said they were already at GH for quite some time and were looking for the truck. WTF? I thought you said no one was coming over?

They said they couldn’t find the truck. They described the truck to us and we helped them search. We drove all around the General Hospital trying to find the truck. Searched the sides of the roads and every parking lot. Nope. Nothing. Did the truck driver drive off with the truck? Who knows how much worth of notebooks and computers were in there.

We got fed up. Went back to the client’s office around 830pm. We admitted defeat, and the country manager said he would have to make do with an old laptop that was a hand-me-down for his business trip. We considered the case closed for today.

At roughly 10pm, the courier company called. They found the truck. Delivered it to my partner’s house as no one was at the client’s office.

Apparently the truck driver never got a heart attack, and never went to GH. The courier company went around searching his known addresses and found him. Since the truck left the depot in Shah Alam in the morning, he has been at his aunty’s house somewhere. He did not deliver any of the Dell goods.

Basically because one person didn’t feel like working and curi tulang, we spent the whole day on a wild goose chase. Wasted plenty of petrol. Wasted alot of money on phone bills. It also costed the client support fees for after-office hours work. Gave Dell a headache and a big mess to clean up. We were not the only ones who didn’t get our order. Like a big screwed up domino effect.

I was told there was about 20 orders in that truck and none of them got delivered. Not sure as I wasn’t there. That should be around 100-150K ringgit worth of Dell products. Some of them were big long-term clients of Dell.

I suppose Dell has alot of patching up to do with the affected corporate clients after today’s mess. Apparently this is not the first time it’s happened… why are they still using the troublesome seconded courier companies? But I have to admit Dell and the courier company was trying their best to sort out the mess that the courier company made. The courier company should compensate appropriately.