The agony of supplies
Singapore 11th October 2010
D-Day is approaching and we still haven’t got our lights! I am talking about the domes with LED lights that we ordered months ago from China for our artwork. The grand opening of the festival is this Friday and we had hoped to be all up and running with only programming left to do. That what seemed the simplest (delivery of off- the-shelf products) turns out to be our biggest nightmare. That what seemed the trickiest (interfacing of the systems and programming of all lighting effects) is more or less done but only dry tested on the computer.
As we speak the lights are yet to leave the airport in China, the latest feedback we got is maybe on the 3am flight. With the press night this Wednesday and the opening this Friday we will be sweating it out to have it all finished in time. We are still not clear what is causing the delay. We knew about the China National Holiday last week so we urged the supplier to make sure it would leave before, but we were obviously not the only ones and probably ended up in a queue. Then there seem to be an issue with certification of the batteries in order to allow them on the plane (don’t ask me why)! That is now taken care off, so fingers crossed for tonight’s flight. But even when they arrive in Singapore (hopefully tomorrow morning) we still have to clear customs this end, no short cuts here.
This is so typical for deliveries in our lighting projects. It happens all the time but generally it is the client/ contractor’s responsibility to coordinate and manage the deliveries with installation works on site. Our main task is to make sure our light fitting specifications are completed within the overall building schedule, leaving enough time for the client to (first negotiate the purchase order and then) order the light fittings and have them delivered to site. It is not for nothing that suppliers quote 8 to 12 weeks for supply as they encounter many variables they do not control. Small orders may be piggy-backed to larger shipments to fit in the back of larger containers (to save costs), but that means dependence on others again. A world apart but crucial to the success of our project, or any project for that matter!