Tuesday, 24 July 2007

Gangbanged!

My dear fellow bloggers, this is not an X-rated themed post, although the odd profanity may make its way to the text. Instead, it's a pretty accurate description of how my co-workers and I feel after this weekend at work.
A more accurate description would by "gangbanged by a Viagra overdosed horde of elephants, freshly released from a ten year sexual drought". Yes! That's more like it.
I find stock taking a tedious, boring, but nevertheless important part of working life. It comes once or twice a year, and everyone is mentally prepared for getting bored senseless of trying to find stuff and accounting for any kinds of variances. So how do you make it more interesting to the staff?
Well, our gracious employers, always considering the best way of maintaining the spirits of the staff high during such periods, this year came up with an alternative plan! At the end of it, they planned the live introduction of an additional software package, designed to make our lives easier, and reducing the manual input of data to our ERP system.
It has been a project going on for the past four, perhaps five months. There have been meetings upon meetings, discussions upon discussions covering the length of the project, including a whole one hour (!) training session for the people who are going to be using it. It was during that training session, that we all realised we were dead meat! We raised questions about the procedures, the input method and so on and so forth. The software company representative who was giving us the training had an answer for each of our questions.
Yet answers of the type: "They didn't mention you need this!", "We were not requested to cover that kind of situation", "Is that what actually happens?", are hardly reassuring that all is well in the western front!
Come last Sunday every tiniest fear we had that we were totally screwed, was finally realised!
We finished our stock taking by 09.30am and then it was a matter of going live on the new system.
To be fair, the first couple of tests gave excellent results. We were cooking with gas!
Were we f..k!!! When it came to linking to our ERP, you could actually smell the foul scent of shit, while listening to the deafening sound of it hitting the proverbial fan! 11.45am the whole process ground to a halt, while the IT guys were trying to sort out the issue.
It was a slow and painful experience that went on and on. Five coffees later, hours and hours of SQL-what the hell it is I don't even want to know-we were getting a dim bright spot at the end of a quite long tunnel! In the meantime, several of the staff were excused to leave and join their families, for whatever was left to them of the Sunday afternoon. I went around the premises seeking for the dog - she has not been seen since Saturday and I fear she has met with some kind of ill fortune from the mongrels in the vicinity of our offices - then watched a helicopter do water drops on a rubbish pit fire 300 yards away, and then sat on my desk and doodled some tropical island scene.
The sun descended into the horizon, but we were still there, by now struggling with the communication between the software packages. To cut a long story short, some kind of a breakthrough came by 11.45pm, and we all decided to call it a day.
Monday was going to be better, we reassured each other, while getting into our cars. Was it f..k?
Come Monday morning we realised that although the two systems were communicating, they were exchanging information of no use to each other! Wait! Wait! It gets better!!!!
Lots of IT fiddling going on, the whole premises ground to a halt, and the phones starts to ring. Our inter company customers were calling to find out whether our logistics department was going to meet their needs! Ha! Fat chance! Not in your lifetime dude! Not with this kind of project preparation!
It turns out that our new super duper package can do virtually anything you ask it to do. It's a real pity, though, that during all these months of running the project, nobody considered looking at our procedures, nobody thought it would be worth their while to if not ask, at least sit in a corner and take notes of how the department works.
As a result, we are now three days into the system going live, we have managed to cover about 20% of our work, and the paperwork raised requires a small army of personnel for data entry alone! It is like someone came to your house, decided to use your stove to bake you a cake, and demolished your kitchen while doing it!
This is a big mess that will take some time to set straight, especially with virtually half of the people due to go on leave in August! Perhaps the Chinese proverb says "may you live in interesting times" but this is pretty much ludicrous. Bloody Greeks, taking things to extremes again!
Helicopter putting out fire across our offices




My island retreat doodle

16 comments:

"Wolfgang" said...

Your visual analogy caused actual phycial pain. Thank you for being so evocative. Sounds like the IT there is run abuot as well as my former school district. At any rate, welcome back. You've been missed.

JYankee said...

Oh EPI, ur back!! We were getting worried about you!!! But you took a much needed rest I hope! Yeah. we do our stocktaking every TWO months!! I know EXACTLY what you mean!

Epimenides said...

Wolfgang - the poor IT guys at work actually did a great job out of the crap the people who gave the specs did!

Jyankee - I could not handle a stocktake every two months! Not where I now work anyway. As for rest, I havent had any. I posted this, visited my friends blogs, now off for a shower and wake up at 4.30am to try and clean up the mess!

Blur Ting said...

Oh wow. stressful. implementing new system always takes awhile to straighten up.

BTW, found the dog?

Alice Kildaire said...

You know, it's kind of sad that someone in Greece is sitting cooped up inside, doodling an island retreat! :D May your knew system work flawlessly on Wednesday!

Amel's Realm said...

Hey, Epi,

I've just tagged you with Blogging Tips Meme.

Check out this link:

http://ailema4ever.blogspot.com/2007/07/blogging-tips-meme.html

Rebecca said...

Hi, Epi. What a nightmare!!! Sounds like the software vendor is who screwed your department over. Happened to a friend of mine recently. The company bought an SAP module, one that can write all the reports in the world. FIRED ALL THE ANALYSTS. oops. No one to tell the system what to write...Can't rescind the firings because they'd be sued. Gotta love consultants and software vendors!!! They just don't see the big picture at all, don't ask the right questions, then you have to pay THEM to bail you out! ARGH.

BTW, SQL stands for Structured Query Language. It provides an interface to relational database systems. Makes them talk to one another if programmed correctly.

Amel's Realm said...

Ouuuuccchhhh...poor Epi. It must've been horrible, staying at the office that long!!!!!! Plus look at the end result.

Wish you a better week after week...

The Real Mother Hen said...

Ouch Epi, there is so much pain there. Hope you can get to your island retreat soon. But after the experience with those "elephants" (that's funny dude), I suspect island retreat will be too boring for you :)

HollyGL said...

Oh, Epi, hang in there. My gosh, I feel for you!

Epimenides said...

Oh ting! Tell me about it!!!

Yes Alice, it is pretty pathetic isn't it? But to expect for it to work on Wednesday is like expecting a snowstorme in the Sahara!

Thank you Amel! I'll have a look I promiss! I'll try to see if I can over the weekend.

rebecca, I'm sure that someone is making money out of this project on the side! Otherwise, what they have done here is totally nuts!!!

Amel, this is only the beginning! From the latest forecast it seems this cookoo state is going to go on for a couple of weeks at least! I'm already clocking more than twelve hrs a day!

Mother hen, I wouldn't mind being bored out of my scull right now! :)

Hollygl, I'm hanging in there, and having a good laugh about it too. I mean, you've got to laugh... :)

Kate said...

Oh, FUBAR. This is not "going live", this is "You're the Beta testers and we didn't bother to tell you." Truly an awful weekend!

Epimenides said...

Spot on Kate! That's the best description for it! :)
FUBAR? (What is it?)

Rebecca said...

FUBAR = fucked up beyond all recognition

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