Nuts and bolts of running the country - Ahwatukee Foothills News: Commentary

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Nuts and bolts of running the country

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Posted: Tuesday, January 5, 2010 12:00 am

My husband and I own a small business in Phoenix called A & M Nut and Bolt. He is the president of the company and oversees the day-to-day operations. We wholesale fasteners – nuts and bolts, and do a small amount of custom manufacturing, mostly for the construction industry.

An engineer designs plans to build a bridge, and then he gives those plans to a contractor, who gives a list of materials to a purchasing agent. This person gets quotes from all his suppliers for every item on the list. Nuts and bolts are typically at the bottom of the list both in cost and in the minds of those planning the project. However, they are absolutely necessary to hold the foundational pieces together.

When the purchasing agent communicates with us about the fasteners required, we provide the company with a cost and timeline to meet his needs. With all these people involved, each having their own demands, priorities and areas of expertise, it would be easy to have miscommunications. Someone could forget to indicate a need for a particular strength or misread plans and the length they order from us is a tiny fraction too short.

Fortunately, complications like this are very rare. However, if they do occur, the cost is ridiculously high. No one is foolish enough to risk a bridge collapsing or a building crumbling, so things would be torn down and redone. Also, those involved would certainly lose their jobs.

Sounding familiar? On Christmas Day, in spite of watch lists and warnings by a terrorist’s own father, there was a major breakdown in the system. Lives could have been lost. Our president is wagging his finger and his tongue about how terrible it is, but no one has been held responsible. No one has been fired for their dismal job performance, including our former governor, Janet Napolitano. 

Instead, millions of innocent travelers will be inconvenienced by yet another silly protocol change on airlines. Once again, the tail wags the dog. I can only imagine Al Qaeda operatives sitting around yucking it up about the hoops they’re making us jump through. “Let’s use toe nail polish next time … heeheehee.”

If only the security of our nation was as meticulously run as construction projects in the U.S., where even the nuts and bolts get proper attention.

Do you agree? Do you know of any industry or business where people wouldn’t lose their jobs for such failings?

 

Ahwatukee Foothills resident Diane Markins can be reached at Diane@DianeMarkins.com. Visit her blog at www.WordsInHighDef.blogspot.com.

 

Department of Homeland Security Secretary Janet Napolitano on the attempted Christmas Day bombing:

“I think the important thing to recognize here is that once this incident occurred, everything happened that should have. The passengers reacted correctly, the crew reacted correctly, within an hour to 90 minutes, all 128 flights in the air had been notified. And those flights already had taken mitigation measures on the off-chance that there was somebody else also flying with some sort of destructive intent.

“So the system has worked really very, very smoothly over the course of the past several days.”

Source: ABC News show This Week, Dec. 27.

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