You may recall from my article “Purchasing Services: The Pitfalls, Part I” that I stressed the importance of clearly defining service completion time frames, citing how delivery in “30 days” could end up meaning that you could expect delivery in about 3 months depending on the interpretation of days.
Well, today’s Pittsburgh Post-Gazette offered another real-life example of how differing interpretations of service completion time frames can cause a buying organization headaches.
The article describes how the City of Pittsburgh recently privatized its vehicle maintenance. The contract requires most vehicles to be repaired in 24 or 48 hours. According to the city, their repair vendor failed to meet the 48 hour (which the city interprets as two days) requirement about 1/3 of the time. The vendor said that there was a verbal agreement with a city executive to “count only the 13.5 hours per day during which the garage is open against the threshold, meaning that 48 hours is nearly four days.”
Service buyers: There are a lot of pitfalls when purchasing services. At the very least, read the free article! Our online class, Supply Management Contract Writing can also help you avoid debacles like this one.