I write this late, it’s closing on Sunday morning, today I met up with a long time friend, an EE who entered the work force shortly prior to the Intel 8080A, and perhaps one of the first fun Jobs he had was working on a line printer driven by two 8085 processors, some might remember that processor took a single voltage to run, and it had a bi-directional bus, easier and cheaper to implement. The point? Kent and I have been friends for a LONG time.
Kent is back traveling, showing his company’s wares around the world, and talking about new parts that can run at temperatures nearly beyond my imagination.
But it was Quality Control we talked about and days past when he was working for a company called national semi condor or something. He had a customer called Zantrux, but you know how I am with spelling, and there’s really no need to use real names, as it might just embarrass those who should be embarrassed.
That box the customer was making, a new model, and each box needed 44 mosfets all in production and having a NSC part number. Zantrux was an existing customer, the discount price was $1.75 each. The customer said he could get the same NSC part from an overseas house for $1.73, and that Kent had to meet the price, or lose the sale.
Kent said, he’d done his best, and told the customer it was a shame that they couldn’t do business.
Some months passed and Kent got a call from Zantrux, they were having a rather horror-rific failure rate with a NSC Mosfet! Kent being the excellent customer service person he is, says, grab those failing parts and get some to me, we’ll take a look.
As you might guess, they were there in a hurry, and photos of the exterior and logo were taken. Then the effort to look inside, an note a few differences, this failed Mosfet had two bonding leads, in fact all the failed ones did, but the NSC part uses three, and always did. The NSC logo, it was close, but no cigar. Yes, Zantrux saved 88 cents per invertator, but now they were writing RMAs at a frightening pace.
I didn’t probe for more detail, because the conversation moved on to another exciting topic. Most who frequent here would have enjoyed the company and the conversation.
But now we muse, Just what was the loss to Zantrux? Who in the company was shopping for parts, and what did others in the company say when they knew they had 44 counterfeit parts in their boxes Who would dare replace just the failed ones, and send it back to the customer?
I might not repeat this story if I didn’t know that Zantrux is now a Chinese owned company. It does make you wonder if the counterfeit parts were part of the reason Zantrux sold out, what did it cost them, and how much trouble did these poor performing parts create for the company?
As I’ve said elsewhere, the typical Western Mind is at a disadvantage when shopping the world market, all so many here think all the world is the same as their back yard.