Lesson Learned: Vendor Selection

It was a bad start to the week, already late for an important meeting, my car had MondayMorning blues.  The car’s accelerator paddle seemed rusty and it was scarring the pedestrians with a loud racing roar of the engine.  Scared of running in to a larger liability, I decided to get my vehicle checked at nearest “Brand” service station.

At the big brand service station, a friendly attendant helped me to a comfortable customer area, had a technician quickly come down and had a “detailed” inspection of the vehicle and listed down the problem with an elaborate and detailed list of things that needed to be fixed.  The fix needed the car to be at the service station for the entire day and cost me about INR.3,500.  With the brand and friendly staff, I always had full faith in what I was made to understand and I had never questioned them earlier.  However, yesterday it was the question of timing and hence I decided to drop car home and ride my motorbike for next few days.

On my way back, I intuitively decided to check with a smaller one man car-shop for his second opinion and I was surprised how simple the problem was.  He explained that the accelerator cable was jammed and I would need to replace it.

This gentleman fixed the problem in about fifteen minutes, almost half the time it took the big-brand shop to come-up with their analysis & managing internal protocols and the solution costed me just 10% of the quote given by branded service station.  I was surprised how knowledgeable this gentleman was, I was shocked how off the mark the big brand shop was and I was annoyed with myself.

The episode summarized my similar interaction with technology vendors in recent past and my bet on them just for sake of assurance on quality delivery.  It seems banking on an established brand as an risk mitigation strategy is a myth, rather investing in a knowledgeable, committed and straight talking team is much more prudent selection strategy.

I missed the morning meeting, but it reinforced an important lesson.

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