Saturday, February 26, 2011
Hey man, whatever you want, we'll get it for you!
Sometimes in work, we get projects for developing countries in the framework of the ODA ("Official Development Assistance") program that the Japanese government has going to help build infrastructure (roads, hospitals, schools and stuff like that). Most of the projects are in the Asian region focusing on countries such as Laos, Cambodia, Vietnam etc. and as we market medical devices and pharmaceutical products, we are sometimes asked to provide our products for hospitals that are being built.
We're always happy to support this ODA program, since it's the Japanese government that's paying for it we put some extra spice on our quotes as well (hey, everyone does it and it's only the taxpayer's money after all! ...oh wait? I pay tax too...) and if we get the deal, it's usually quite easy with good return so we do our best to try and accomodate whatever products that could reasonably be helpful depending on the conditions of the country and hospital in question.
Most of the time we're asked to submit relevant products that we have in our portfolio but sometimes it also includes some minor related products that we usually don't carry but most of the time we quite easily can source from a partner company and also include it. Yesterday I received a new project on my desk and as I scanned the products that the trading company representing the ODA requested from us it looked perfectly reasonable. Among the surgical products and some reasonable regular accessories that we could easily source there was inserted "50" Flat Screen TV with built in Blueray player", believe me that there is no reasonable and logical way that it makes any sense to have one of these for the operation room that we were asked to provide a quote to equip.
But hey, whatever, after discussing with a colleague, we checked up the prices on home electronics shop Biccamera and smacked an additional 30% on top of that price for good measure. Hey, the customer is King and whatnot, but I have the feeling that some doctor/official in Cambodia sneaked it in there in the hopes that no one would question it and enjoy those domestic drama shows on a big screen. All the more power to him, we added it in the quote and submitted; now, if we win the tender, someone has to run off and purchase it though and ship it with all the other hi-tech real equipment!