Why we love outsourcing, Purchasing, and vendors

This pilot fish's company has outsourced software purchasing to -- well, someone who appears to be seriously reading-impaired.

"I'm responsible for a piece of commercial off-the-shelf software with an annual support charge that must be paid," fish says.

"I dutifully submit the request that the fee be paid, being very careful to note that this is just for the support charge for the existing license. The exact amount of the charge is listed in the request."

Several weeks go by without any word from the Purchasing people.

Then fish gets a call from the software vendor, thanking him for the purchase of another license -- for much more than the support charge.

Confused, fish calls Purchasing to find out what's going on. He's told that the order was for a new license, not support.

Fish goes back to the original order, and verifies what he already knows: It clearly states that this was just for the annual support fee.

But bringing this to the attention of Purchasing results in first denial, then confusion, and then more confusion.

"They had no process for correcting orders with vendors," sighs fish.

"After a couple weeks of back-and-forth email between me, Purchasing and the vendor, it was decided that the vendor would just carry the overpayment as a credit and charge future service fees against that credit.

"At that rate, the credit should last about 14 years -- assuming the company is still using the software 14 years from now."

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