Warning: Rant ahead
I have a dream. I don’t know if it’s even possible. For once, I would like to place a large order of computers, have them be priced appropriately, be delivered on time, and work like they are supposed to when we get them set up. Is that really too much to ask?
This summer instead of purchasing HP computers we bought Dells. Pricing and support arrangements through our local system integrator were the main reasons for the switch. Also, we have had TONS of problems with HP products over the past few years. Last year deliveries were late and we had the perennial problem with the drivers not wanting to do an inside delivery. To compound matters, they tried to overcharge us for half a million dollars AND tried to tack late fees onto that as we worked to get the price sorted out.
That was last year. This summer Dell has let use experience even more different levels of frustration. Our first delivery had the driver refusing to do what was asked. That got ironed out quickly, and we didn’t have any more problems. Then came the deployment. When we tried to boot up the computers, we found that we had purchased 850 bricks – the computers wouldn’t work.
With as many computers as we purchase, and as short-staffed as we are during the summer, we like to order the machines pre-imaged. The company sends one machine. My network technician sets it up like we want and creates an image of the disk. That image is shipped back to the company to be copied onto the hard drives of the rest of the computers. Should be a piece of cake. However, in this case Dell decided to change a couple of parts between the time we got the test computer and they started building the rest of them. That means that the image no longer worked. We couldn’t boot the machines.
Working with Dell’s engineering staff was a nightmare. We were running up against deadlines for school opening, and they were dragging their feet on a resolution. My tech would send a request to them via e-mail, and they MIGHT respond the following day. I lost my cool, called them, and accused them of selling us 850 useless pieces of junk (or words to that effect.)
Dell’s management and sales staff were the exact opposite of the engineering crew. They worked very hard to make sure things got corrected. Dell is now paying for a team from our local system integrator to come out and re-image all of the computers. After many conference calls and far too much stress, it looks like we might, MIGHT have the computers ready to open school.
While I applaud Dell for helping us resolve this, it didn’t need to happen. Dell is now having to spend much, much more money to fix the problem than they will make off of the initial imaging fees. The simple fix was to not change the parts in the middle of production. If there was a change, we should have been notified. All of this could have been avoided.
The start of school is stressful enough. There’s lots to be done, and this just adds to the problem. Right now I’m just trying to keep my tech team from total mutiny. As my former school superintendent put it, “It takes at least 10 ‘attaboys’ to make up for a single ‘Oh, Sh*t!'”