Fords Experience with a Consultant
This is a story attributed to Henry Ford.
Couldn't document the actual case or the name on the consultant involved but
it sounds like what Henry would have done:
was having problems with the Rouge Power Plant for over a year. When
visiting with the plant manager he said he knew of a person who had a wealth
of experience with power plants and for the manager to engage his services.
The manager did as Ford suggested.
The consultant visited and in one day solved the problem that had plagued
them for over a year! The plant
manager notified Henry the problem was solved! The bill came to his
desk about a week later. It was for $20,000! The plant manager
was flabbergasted. He hadn't defined the cost before engaging this
fellow who Henry had suggested. Knowing that Mr. Ford was, shell we
say "cheap," he thought he must tell Henry before paying the invoice.
Henry was also astonished. He wrote
to the consultant and said; "No one is worth $20,000 for a days worth of
work. Revise your bill."
The Consultant wrote back and said;
"Mr. Ford, you're correct, no one is worth $20,000 for a days work.
Therefore for a days work the charge is $200. For the 40 years
experience that allowed me to solve the problem in one day the knowledge
portion of my fee is $19,800."
A newly hired Vice President of a pipe
manufacturer called and asked for 5 days of my consulting time. When I
visited, found the large diameter water pipe they were producing had
numerous porosity defects in the submerged arc seam welds.
Pipe was piled up in their yard .
They had just spent over $500,000 for all
new advanced technology welding equipment, had put in wire brushes to
clean the surface to be welded, sent a number of welders for training on the
new equipment and still had the same porosity problems they
had prior to this investment!
I solved the problem in one day!
When having lunch with the VP on day 4 of
the consulting effort, I mentioned the "Ford" story as he was telling me he
had informed his folks he knew a consultant would be expensive but it was
needed! The VP was true to his word and paid me for the 5 days
for which I was contracted. I spent several days training not only the
submerged arc operators where the problem existed but in addition about 25
semiautomatic welders. They were mostly MIG welding pipe
attachments, man-ways, elbows etc.
As I mentioned to the VP, the cause of
the porosity problem they were having I had seen before! It was easy
to define and set up a test to demonstrate the cause and solution of
the porosity. I was being paid for my 40+years of knowledge not just
for 5 days of work!