I wrote a post at work on Monday, but didn’t have time to finish it. Tuesday and Wednesday I was busy, and by the time Thursday rolled around and I wanted to post it, our server had gone down at the office and we didn’t have internet or working e-mail. It’s now Friday and we remain sans internet, which made me realize how much our lives in the business world are intricately linked to the ability to access the net.
Fridays are very slow, and a day without e-mail, JSonline and my regular blogroll is more than painful. Not only have I missed my regular time-killing mechanism, but it’s been harder to manage the normal activities of my job as well. I work with a territory, in which there are smaller territories covered by outside sales reps for the major vaccince company we distribute for. I depend on Google Maps and other internet-based applications to figure out which outside sales rep works with which offices. We access a web site that tells us what new offices have been given contracts in our territories and when products have shipped. We track UPS packages and look up vaccine prescribing information on the web. We have a simple online ordering system for customers. Not having internet access halts a good chunk of what we do.
We started chatting with one of the near-retirement VPs about how the business worked before the computer age. Growing up in a world with computers, I can hardly imagine the world without them. I could hardly form the question without comparing it to something we do on the computer. Orders go into the computer and print in the warehouse. Our shipper uses the UPS system installed here to weigh and price everything that goes out. We have a computerized account for each customer where we keep an order history, price quotes, contact names, invoices and comments, all accessible within a few keystrokes.
The older VP had to think for a minute about the pre-computer medical sales procedures. He mentioned the written sales orders were copied with some sort of machine that involved a big crank and then hand delivered to different departments. To younger people like myself, it sounds almost comical. Keeping track of back orders, invoices, payments and inventory on paper all sounds like a lot of work and a lot of wasted time.
Yesterday and today our department manager has spent an agregate few hours on and off hold with our internet provider, who apparently through some glitch on a billing change has changed our IP addresses which is causing this whole fiasco. He started off chatting with surely a polite Indian man named Paul or Bobby, and ended up three or four tiers up in the chain of command, and suddenly this afternoon, we got our server back.
I received some online orders, checked the contracts, discovered some more back-ordered products and then, posted this blog and the one I had saved from Monday. Business as usual.