Changing Light Bulbs

How many people does it take to change a light bulb at Expert Service?

We do a lot of maintenance for national retail chains. Each of those chains has contracts with national companies — service aggregators — who promise to take care of all their needs. When a light bulb starts flickering, the process starts.

Joe, a 16-year-old sales consultant at Useless Chinese Trinkets, a national chain, notices a light bulb flickering. He informs Emily, the store manager, who puts in a service request to her boss, Ralph, the regional manager in Oklahoma, who instructs his assistant Gloria to put in a repair request, which goes to Happy Fixit People, a company in New Jersey that services all the company stores across the country. When the repair request comes in, Billie routs the request to Jenn, who handles all the repairs for Useless in the southwest. Jenn sends an email to Expert Service, with an NTE (Not To Exceed amount of $150) and a description of the problem as forwarded to her by Billie who got it from Gloria, who was instructed by Ralph who heard from Emily about the flickering light reported by Joe.

Paul, our local hero at Expert Service, receives the service request as forwarded to him by his assistant Kristi. Paul instructs Kristi to assign the work order to Josh, who goes to the site and replaces the light bulb from stock in the store, as pointed out to him by Stacy, the MOD (manager on duty).

The light bulb still doesn’t work, so Josh reports to the office that we need a ballast, which he knows costs $45 so we need an NTE increase by that amount, plus the extra time it takes to source the ballast. Kristi reaches out to Jenn at Happy Fixit People in New Jersey, who is out to lunch, so Angie processes the NTE increase request. Kristi contacts Josh who goes to the store, where Andrew helps him find the correct ballast. Shaniqua checks Josh out at the contractor’s counter, and he’s back at the job in 15 minutes, and replaces the ballast. Stacy, the MOD, is not available so her assistant Jim signs the job Sign-Off sheet. Josh leaves the store, in the shopping center across the street from our office, ┬áproud that he has served his country by keeping the merchandise at Useless Chinese Trinkets properly illuminated so people will spend money they don’t have to keep our economy churning.

That’s 14 people for one light bulb (and a ballast), not including the vast accounting departments at Expert Service, Happy Fixits, and Useless.

What’s flickering at your place?