Collecting waste paper

Page 3 of 4<1234>
April 5th, 2014 at 5:53:41 PM permalink
FrGamble
Member since: Oct 24, 2012
Threads: 44
Posts: 4849
Wow Nareed that seems like a lot of work and a lot of paperwork. Does your company have lots of competition? Also does all these checks and double checks and strict rules keep the process fair and unbiased and the products of great quality and safe?
April 5th, 2014 at 6:52:45 PM permalink
Nareed
Member since: Oct 24, 2012
Threads: 301
Posts: 9992
Quote: FrGamble
Does your company have lots of competition?


Plenty. After every one of the meetings for questions and for presenting the offers, the first thing everyone wants to know is "Who else showed up?"

Quote:
Also does all these checks and double checks and strict rules keep the process fair and unbiased


The Mexican government did not invent corruption, but it certainly has perfected it.

Quote:
and the products of great quality and safe?


Safe, yes. Every contract includes a bond for 10% of the total maximum value and an insurance policy. If you wind up causing food poisoning or something like that, you'll suffer greatly.

Quality has nothing, zero, to do with the process. But the personnel in charge of food at each agency usually take their jobs very seriously. If they don't like what you deliver, they'll make your life miserable and cost you lots of money.
If Trump where half as smart as he thinks he is, he'd be twice as smart as he really is.
May 19th, 2014 at 7:05:42 AM permalink
Nareed
Member since: Oct 24, 2012
Threads: 301
Posts: 9992
One aspect of this job, as I think I've mentioned, is that governments buy paper rather than goods or services. This takes all kinds of forms, but there is an unhealthy predilection for original documents.

Now, "original" can ahve many meanings. Let's take a certificate that one's plant complies with something like the ISO-9001:2008 standard. The (private) agency that issues the certificate will do it in an ornate, thick paper with a pretty hologram, suitable for display at one's offices. They'll also issue plain apper documents related to this, and a plain(er) version of the certificate more suited to be presented in proposals.

Since we often take aprt in more than one proposal at a time, and since paper documents degrade quickly when handled often, photocopied, scanned, etc. we get notarized copies of them. These are plain copies which the notary comapres to the original, then adds her seal, a legend stating this copy is identicla in content to the original document (in verbose legalese) and signs the whole thing. Legally for documetns without intrinsic monetary value, a notarized copy is euqal to an original.

But some government agencies require THE grand original anyway. One of these is located in Cd Del Carmen in Campexhe state. Last Thrusday afternoon the agency decided it wanted the grand original for the ISO:9001 from all participants to comapre with the notarized copies we'd already handed over in our proposal. The comparisons would take place on Friday morning.

Of course it was too alte to send it by a messenger service like FedEx. Normally we'd use an airline's courier service, but that could rpesent problems and there would be no time to correct a delay. So I was sent to hand it over.

<sigh>

Unfortunately the earliest fligth I could find seats on departed at 6:15 AM. I'd arrive in Carmen at 7:40 AM. The earliest return flight I could find tickets for was at 5:20 PM. There was one at 8:45 AM, but any delay in the departing fligth would make me miss it. So I got the ticket for the afternoon flight, hoping I'd arrive in time, hand over the paper to our rep in Carmen (who'd meet me at the airport), and find a place int he 8:45 flight.

I arrived in time, in fact 5 minutes early, handed over the document, but alas the 8:45 am flight was booked solid. I was told I could wait for cancellations, but those would be known only after boarding time and there were five people already waiting for one.

So I spent the rest of the day doing absolutely nothing. Oh, I had breakfast with our rep, who is a charming, friendly woman with whom I get along rather well. She also showed me around our facilities there (quite impressive and spotlessly clean). And I accompanied her to deliver the grand original. But I spent most of the day sitting in her office reading an e-book.

I left for the airport around 2:30. Not because it was far, but because I wanted to catch a seat on the 3:30 flight. Again it was sold out (more on that later, but I was lucky). The whole tiny airport has no seating area, except on one of the three tiny restaurants. I did eat lunch there, but spent mcuh of my time walking about or standing.

Finally I went past security at 4:30 to find our plane was delayed. Worse yet, the 3:30 fligth hadn't even arrived yet, and in fact was scheduled to arrive after my flight (so I got lucky it was sold out). We wound up taking off around 7 pm, and either encountered bad headwinds or cruised slower, because we landed in Mex City past 8:30. The plane took a long time taxiing to the gate, stopping several times. By the time I reached the concourse it was almost 9.

It's amazing how tired I was. Seriously, sitting arund doing nothig is more draining than almost any activity.
If Trump where half as smart as he thinks he is, he'd be twice as smart as he really is.
June 10th, 2014 at 7:48:13 AM permalink
Nareed
Member since: Oct 24, 2012
Threads: 301
Posts: 9992
I had to drive to Oaxaca (more precisely Oaxaca City, though it's called plain Oaxaca) to deliver samples for a contest.

It's a really rough drive. The distance doens't seem like much, only 475 km. But about half is on a two-way road. That is, the highway is only two lanes, one coming one going. So passing slow traffic is a chore, as you have to wait for a break in the oncoming traffic. This is made worse by the fact that alrge sections are in the mountains, where it's one curve after another. I made it one way in about 6 hours, averaging just under 80 kph.

The Google maps in the phone behaved well and did plan decent routes for the hotel on Sunday and the delivery place on Monday, but it has an odd habit of giving poor directions. In one avenue where I had to go straight, it said "Turn right. Then turn left." Huh?? I think I do better looking at the map, tracing the route, and looking for my own turns.

Delivery was reasonalbly swift, there being over 80 kilos of samples to check (and the reason I didn't just fly out). And I managed to get back on the road by around 11 am for another delightful 6+ hour ride (traffic in Mex City was hellish, as usual.

The really bad part, though, was someone from th eoffice came with me. not from our department, but from a different one. While I appreciated the help with the samples, and navigating and such, the guy kept playing with his phone until 2 am or so. I did sleep, but on occasion a beep, bell or something would wake me up. The odd thing is I didn't quite realize what was going on. NExt day, with a clear head, I did figure it out. I told him to either use headphones or turn off the sound next time. Sheesh
If Trump where half as smart as he thinks he is, he'd be twice as smart as he really is.
June 11th, 2014 at 1:42:55 PM permalink
Nareed
Member since: Oct 24, 2012
Threads: 301
Posts: 9992
Oh, I forgot to mention the whole two-way trip, from the gas station near my home to Oaxaca and b ackto my place, took almost exactly 1 1/2 tanks of gas. and measured a little over 950 km.

I also managed to catch up with the Great Courses lectures on Ancient Egypt (fascinating civilization), I think I logged about 8 hours.
If Trump where half as smart as he thinks he is, he'd be twice as smart as he really is.
July 31st, 2014 at 3:29:26 PM permalink
Nareed
Member since: Oct 24, 2012
Threads: 301
Posts: 9992
It's amazing how relieved I feel when all the samples are finally complete.

Since Monday afternoon when we were still missing about 4 samples (that is four products, not four items), I felt as though I had the Sword fo Damocles hanging over me. Now that they're all here, finally, it's as though everythign is right with the world.
If Trump where half as smart as he thinks he is, he'd be twice as smart as he really is.
August 23rd, 2014 at 9:03:32 AM permalink
Nareed
Member since: Oct 24, 2012
Threads: 301
Posts: 9992
Why do governments overpay for goods and services?

If this thread hasn't answered that question, here's yet another reason:

We entered a contest to prepare food for several government-owned hospitals. Among the requirements is all brand-new kitchen equipment and utensils(*). Utensils are things like cooking tools, pots, pans, blenders, oven mitts, etc. Equipment means refrigerators, stoves, ovens, work tables and the like, though in this case it also included sinks, dishwashers, serving stations and more. And the contract is only for 4 months. So a big capital investment needs to be amortized in that time. What do you figure the price per meal will be?

It gets worse. By law, participants must offer 100% of the services required. This seems self-evident, but actually is necessary (explanations on request). Well, this contest had some errors in the amounts of services required. The correct requirements were given out at the questions meeting (look up-thread). Two of the participants (not us) failed to take these in to account, so they wound up offering more services. That's not 100%. And that means they will be disqualified.

One of them offered a substantially lower price, too.

So, would the government agency not say "Ok, you messed up on the amounts, but we like your price. We'll just correct your offer to the correct, lower amounts."? No. The law forbids correcting anything on an offer except mathematical errors (ie, if you offered 10 widgets at $1 each for a total of $11, this can be corrected to $10. This is the only type of correction allowed).


(*) They also want new dining room equipment and utensils (tables, glasses, chairs, plates, silverware, pitchers, tablecloths, and so on) but that's rather standard in such contracts. Though this also rather standardly raises the price of the services.
If Trump where half as smart as he thinks he is, he'd be twice as smart as he really is.
December 23rd, 2014 at 3:30:07 PM permalink
Nareed
Member since: Oct 24, 2012
Threads: 301
Posts: 9992
I'm very relived and VERY happy!

The Federal Government purchasing website I've mentioned, COMPRANET (or BUYNET, if you rather), will shut down between tomorrow and January 13th :D

See, we had a huge project to deliver by the 26th. I was on track, but the sheer volume of items involved guaranteed I'd have things ready by, oh, the late this afternoon. Then we'd have to check it well into the night, so we could all leave early tomorrow afternoon.

But, since the site will be down (for maintenance or something), BLOAT can't download the offer from the web site on the 26th. All procedures have to be deferred till January 13th :) :) :)

So now I can take it easy and finish at my leisure, more or less. Also, no new procedures will be published until next year (at least not by federal agencies).
If Trump where half as smart as he thinks he is, he'd be twice as smart as he really is.
February 1st, 2015 at 6:17:13 AM permalink
Nareed
Member since: Oct 24, 2012
Threads: 301
Posts: 9992
I was about to take a nap yesterday around 4 pm, when I got an email from my boss urgently requesting some information.

I took a nap. I needed it.
If Trump where half as smart as he thinks he is, he'd be twice as smart as he really is.
November 10th, 2015 at 6:46:10 AM permalink
Nareed
Member since: Oct 24, 2012
Threads: 301
Posts: 9992
Friday we finished a price list for a client and uploaded it to the government purchasing site. I had some misgivings about it, so I compared it to last years and found we were short. I told a supervisor and he asked about volume (the amount of items requested). It was lower than last year's, but I still felt we were short.

Monday I did a comparison of volume and prices, and spotted a BIG error in the price structure for this year. I talked to the supervisor again, and eventually we saw the boss. It took some arguing and several spreadsheets to get him to see the problem, but he finally agreed we were short. We made a hasty revision to the prices and replaced last Friday's offer.

This saved us almost $500,000 US, or rather we'd have given that away with the wrong prices. Not a catastrophe, and there would still have been profit, only lower. The boss didn't even thank me. I'm not surprised, as it was his mistake I caught. Hell, when he set up the price lists for this year (BTW by this year I mean next year, 2016), I pointed out the base value for comparison was lower than last year's prices in some items. he said it was covered. Well, not well enough, was it?
If Trump where half as smart as he thinks he is, he'd be twice as smart as he really is.
Page 3 of 4<1234>