Watching the Border: Customer Confusion and Respect for Humanity

[tweetmeme source=”leanisgood” service=””]Steve Kroft from 60 minutes reported on the US border security with Mexico on Sunday, January 10th. Once again it was basically revealling the inability of the US government and Corporate America to create elegant solutions to difficult problems and the waste of time and dollars. What viewers saw was no different from other reports from 60 minutes but a couple of things struck me as I watched.

Protecting  2000 miles of US border with Mexico has got to be difficult. No matter who you are, you have to admit that would be tough. But the next two items that were brought were interesting. One related to product specification and one of customer feedback.

The US Government and Boeing thought that off the shelf technology could do the work. How often does that occur in your business? See a problem from 50,000 ft and think, that should be easy. The technology itself is an issue, but also, whether off the shelf or novel, one should understand the application. In this case, the report discussed not just the inability of the equipment to handle the task but even the set-up of the equipment and application may not have been thoroughly understood. They mentioned in the airing that the system would pick-up rain drops and leaves blowing in the wind. Doesn’t sound like anyone turned the knob on the sensitivity down a notch.

The other item that was brought up was that the Border Patrol agents weren’t included in the discussions on how the system would work or how they would interact with it. Most on the piece were shocked that this would have occurred. I felt like telling them, guess what, it happens almost everywhere.

Now almost four years into the project, instead of being completed and on budget, only 28 miles of the border are on the system and it is still not working correctly and a billion dollars is gone. This is not about the government or corporate america as much as a cautionary tale of what happens when one is unclear on who the customer is, what they want or need and what value can be added by you.

Watch the 60 minutes piece here.


Add to FacebookAdd to DiggAdd to Del.icio.usAdd to StumbleuponAdd to RedditAdd to BlinklistAdd to TwitterAdd to TechnoratiAdd to Yahoo BuzzAdd to Newsvine

Leave a Reply

Fill in your details below or click an icon to log in: Logo

You are commenting using your account. Log Out /  Change )

Twitter picture

You are commenting using your Twitter account. Log Out /  Change )

Facebook photo

You are commenting using your Facebook account. Log Out /  Change )

Connecting to %s

%d bloggers like this: