Tuesday, November 27, 2007

On Planning

We celebrated a major family event this past weekend. My daughter, Danielle turned 13 at the beginning of Nov. On Nov 24, 2007 we celebrated as she became a bat Mitzvah. To those of you that may be unaware of what this means, let me explain briefly. A bat Mitzvah is the girl's equivalent to a bar Mitzvah. A Jewish child of 13 is called to the Torah (the scrolls containing the 5 books of Moses - the Bible or Old Testament to most people). The child will say a prayer before reading from the Torah, in Hebrew, then read a passage from the holy scrolls, then read another prayer. This rite of passage signifies a Jewish child's transition to adulthood.

Now that we are all on the same page, lets discuss Planning.

My wife, Sharon, daughter Danielle, son Alex and I have been preparing for this event for several months now. There are many preparations and plans to be made including:

1. Studying prayers and Torah portions

2. Writing speeches and poems (for candle lighting)

3. Planning a party which is broken into many, many small pieces including:
a. securing a catering hall
b. securing entertainment
c. capturing the event (video & still photography)
d. providing take-aways for the guests (sweatshirts, CD's, other gifts)
e. providing transportation to the party for the kids
f. designing decorations for the room (table centerpieces, etc.)
g. invitations
h. quite a few other odds and ends, too numerous to list.
For those of you that may have planned a wedding at some time in your life, this may sound somewhat familiar. Add into that event planning for entertainment, etc. for both adults and kids (of all ages).

With all the planning, project management and quality management skills are essential. We needed every element of this event to come together at a specific time on a specific date, over a holiday weekend, no less.

I am truly pleased to say that, barring one unanticipated incident, it all came off without a hitch...I guess Sharon and I truly are good project managers!

The reason I am writing about this is to share with you the one unanticipated incident.

The bus company, contracted to transport the kids (and there were 53 of them) from the synagogue to the party site never showed. I was steaming. However, I put on my Corrective Action hat and took immediate short term corrective action. First I stopped a handful of my guests from leaving before I placed 1 or 2 kids in each car. Thankfully many of our adult guests just took their own children with them. There were only about a dozen or so that needed placement in car and that occurred almost seamlessly.

My big issue is the Long Term Corrective Action. My initial response was to contact the Bus Company, after the fact as they were not available on Saturday midday. I finally made the call today (Tue, Nov 27) after I had several days to cool off. I explained to my supplier how dissatisfied I was with his lack of customer service. He assured me that the particular driver selected to service us would never be given 'charter' work again. This was not really satisfying to me and I told him so, in not such gentle language. He also offered me his organizations service free of charge in the future for either myself or a friend. I cannot give his offer to a friend as I have no confidence in his ability to deliver and I cannot use his service myself in the future. My sample size of 1 was a total failure. I have no faith in his process.

So I ask you, my readers, am I being to harsh?
Is my sampling plan off?
Do I give this guy another chance?
Or, do I do as I told him and spread this story around so he will lose business?
We all know one dissatisfied customer leads to a significant loss of business not only from that customer but from his friends and colleagues.
This guy tried to make amends but it was too little, too late for me.
He cannot correct the issue of potentially ruining my daughter's special day.

I'd like to hear your opinion of what you'd do in my situation.


  1. Name the bus company here so we know -- don't use them again in the future.

  2. Sanjay,
    Thanks for the feedback.
    The company is Mile Square Bus in Peekskill, NY.