I got a call from one of our clients yesterday afternoon asking if we’d be able to inspect some cargo. They were a bit under the gun as the ship it was for was loading at the time and they were getting to the point where needed to load the piece.
Now normally we do our inspections a day or more before a ship starts loading so that there is time to correct any problems we see when we do our inspection so it was a bit of an unusual deal.
And that’s one of the many things the company I work for hires me out to do. When I sign off on a piece of cargo, I’m certifying that in my expert opinion the cargo is secured properly to make it to it’s destination in good order (with the usual caveats of normally expected conditions, blah, blah, blah.)
Well I took one look at these particular pieces and I knew there was no way I was going to put my signature to any kind of approval unless there were significant changes made. I’m not going to go into all the technical reasons. Let’s just suffice it to say that it wasn’t anywhere near a close call.
I believe my exact words were something like, “My recommendation is that these pieces aren’t even moved the way they are.”
The client thanked me for my opinion, but the cargo really had to go and they were going to load it then, regardless. It’s no problem for me. My company will get paid for my services either way. That’s one of the nice things about my job. When you get right down to it I’m not the one who makes the decisions. I spent years in operations jobs where I was the guy making the call, right or wrong.
Now I tell folks I’m kind of like Joe Friday, “Just the facts.” I report what I see and it is up to the client what is done with that information.
Yesterday they ignored my advice.
Then about an hour later I was heading back out to the port to do a follow up inspection on some cargo and I was stopped as I approached the gate by a police officer.
“Where are you trying to get to?”
The main intersection just inside the gate was blocked. It seems someone was moving some cargo and it was so high it caught on the main power lines into the port and took them completely out. Blacked out a good portion of the port. Even started a fire in the grass beside the road. Fire trucks with lights flashing and the whole 9 yards. No telling how many business on the port lost their power.
It was one of the pieces I’d just recommended not be moved. (You saw that one coming, didn’t you.)
I tried to call my boss and our client to let them know what had happened. Even the power to the cell towers was out. No phone service.
Ignoring your hired expert can be costly.
There is a story in the Bible about the cost of not listening to the experts.
King Solomon was one of the wisest men who ever lived. (He was also one of the richest. Interesting how wealth seems to follow wisdom, eh?) When he died there was a bit of uncertainty regarding his successor, as was common in those times. Imagine hanging chads being sorted out by armies instead of by the Supreme Court.
Anyway there was a question by part of the country. Would they follow Solomon’s son and designated successor, Rehoboam, or not?
Rehoboam asked the experts who advised his father (remember – the wisest and richest guy around) what he should do. Then he asked a group of his friends that he grew up with what he should do. The two groups gave opposite advice. Go figure.
But his buddies were young. They had new ideas. They were styling. Witty. Exciting. They had fun.
The old guys were stuffy and boring. They wore dated clothes. Listened to the oldies station. And went to bed early.
Rehoboam went with the younger inexperienced crowd. Seemed like the thing to do at the time. He implemented their ideas and rejected the expert advice he had at his disposal.
As a result of his decision, a huge chunk of his kingdom revolted and formed their own country. The two sides ended up fighting in various wars for century’s afterwards.
The moral of these stories is this. If you are going to shell out hard cash to hire an expert to give his opinion you would do well to listen to what that expert has to say. Ignoring expert advice can get you into a big mess.
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