Lessons from Cuckoo Clock
I am not sure when it started but it must be an Hollywood movie that showed a cuckoo clock that started my fascination for them. Growing up in a middle class family of seven siblings, I can only dream of such things. Well, I am happy to tell you that after 30 years my dream came true. It was much later in life I learned that Cuckoo clocks are made from Germany. So for Christmas, my wife and I were thinking of buying us some gift and I suggested the cuckoo clock and she agreed right away. So I decided to do some research on the clocks.
The clocks are made from the Black Forest wood. There are few companies such as Rombach und Haas, Anton Schneider among others that make these clocks. As you know, the first place you search for such items is in Amazon. So I dug through hundreds of listings to find the perfect one. While I was amazed at the numbers, it was impossible to find the authentic original cuckoo clock. Most of them were cheap fakes or made in China with plastic. I almost gave up and accidentally searched Google to come upon an European seller that had some original clocks. That does not give any confidence as they also could sell fakes. I found out that there is an agency in Germany called VDAS that certifies the clocks. You should know that they only certify mechanical clocks and not the quartz clocks. This would entail somebody winding the clock every once in a while. I recall my dad winding a big wall clock every Sunday growing up. Nowadays, I am sure everybody uses the quartz wall clocks which just need battery replacement once in a while but not every week. The clocks come in two types, 1-day or 8-day winding. The decision at this point was to go with mechanical since we get the certificate of authenticity and an 8-day so that I inherit my dad’s duties. The final decision was to settle on a manufacturer. We reviewed and found Rombach und Haas to be the best but expensive with slightly over budget. Then there was the holiday sale and we got some discount. So I ordered it and was delivered after four weeks. When it arrived my wife and I have identified the spot where it will hang and fixed it. There we were happy to have finally accomplished the childhood dream and my younger son runs down the hall whenever the clock strikes the hour to watch the bird. He tries to observe it closely. Everything was fine until my wife complained that she could not sleep due to the bird chirping every half hour. Luckily for me when I initially reviewed the features I found one where you have the mechanism to suppress the noise and decided to order the clock with this mechanism that saved me. Now we just suppress it during the night and enable it during morning.
As a manger, I can see valuable lessons in this process. Once you decide on the need to procure an item or resource you need to do your due diligence. While some products can be cheap and save money in the short run, it could hurt you in the long run. You may have get a quality product that can last longer. Along the way you may have to compromise ( winding the clock) and be proactive In identifying features that are not defined in requirements ( noise suppression mechanism). When you do the comparison, pay attention to the stability of the company for support needs (Rombach und Haas has been in business since 1894). Finally build a product that can outlast your lifetime.