True tales of catastrophic failures.


Robert - Vendor dead in the water.

1st. installment. - Thursday

 I ordered 4 sticks of memory from my preferred vendor. The lady asked when I would be there, and I said about an hour. I should have left right then! After several phone calls and distractions I left the office. Due to traffic and heavy rain it took me about 2.5 hours to get to the vendor. As I turned on to the street I noticed that police and fire equipment had the road blocked. I took an alternate route through the warehouse maze to get to my destination. To my surprise, parked in front of my vendor was 5 pump trucks, 1 haz-mat unit and 1 rehab unit. It was my vendor that had the fire. I rely on my vendors and my relationships with them to run my business smoothly. I stood around and talked to some of the people that worked there. None of them knew what to do, or what was going to happen. One person told a story of a user thinking he should shut down his system before he left the burning building. I felt bad for them. They may not have a job after this.

When I got home I tried to log on to their web site and got nothing. They obviously hosted the site locally. No e-mail either. The next day I tried to call and find out what the plan was. The phone just rang and rang. No answer. No contact. No information what so ever. I had to order the parts from some other vendor. What of my special order that was to be in today or Monday? What do I do? Will they be able to supply the parts. If so, will they be on time?

2nd. installment - Sunday - Tuesday

Well they did get the parts. Very late but get them they did. It was four business days the phones were totally dead. The web site came up on Sunday eve with one page stating that they had suffered a lightning strike and fire and to check back soon. Fortunately my customer was very understanding and was able to delay the project while the shipping issue (no place to ship to) was taken care of.


3rd. installment - One and a half weeks later

My vendor is up but struggling. The will call desk is makeshift. Tec-support/returns and will call are now in the same area. It is very crowded and there is no accurate inventory. Some inventory was damaged in the fire, some inventory was in the second warehouse. Insurance coverage on the inventory is questionable. The place smells like smoke. The burned warehouse is just yards away and fenced off. There is no parking and half of the staff is engaged in recovery - remodeling efforts.

4th. installment - present day

After a total remodel of the second warehouse, the operation is starting to run smoothly. The burned warehouse is now a parking lot. Will call and tec-support/returns are still in the same area, however the layout is better. I asked about the financial loss and I was told "It is not even considered, in order to prevent depression."

More soon!

5th. installment - present day

Two years later the vendor is gone. All assets absorbed by similar company for little or nothing. Lack of  a Business Continuity Plan cost the owners all of the value in the business that they had worked so hard to build. 


Robert - Backup customer does not backup home system.

1st. installment. - A current backup service customer under estimated the value of the numerous images that he had scanned and touched up on his home system. Customer is notified of family reunion in 14 months time. He had asked family members to send old photographs to him to be scanned, touched up, and assembled in to an album that he would present at the family reunion. To his surprise, the response was voluminous. He scanned a lot of images over the next year. Touched up all of the images that needed work and arranged them in the album software with text for every image. The Family album was a smash at the reunion.

A couple of months after the reunion he left a message on Sunday that contained the following line. "Some thing happened when his wife clicked on some thing on a web site. And now it will not boot." I called back and asked him if he had a backup. No.


more later...