What Keeps Me Up at Night? Can I Just Get it Through the Door.

Photo Courtesy Chicago Tribune

Did you know me in the summer and fall of 2005? I was on my way out of Holy Family Medical Center and creating the UroPartners Lab. We were leasing an office suite in a commercial building with the goal of transforming it into a laboratory that would pass muster with the Illinois Department of Public Health and earn the stamp of approval of Medicare and the College of American Pathologists. I had a thorough knowledge of what was needed, a reasonable budget, a cracker-jack team I was bringing with me from Holy Family, and a business consultant to boot.

So why wasn’t it my finest hour? Why wasn’t  I reveling in the White Sox World Series Championship season? Why did a trip to Milwaukee to see Paul McCartney seem like a trip to hell? Why couldn’t I sleep at night? I was worried about just one thing. What if we couldn’t fit the equipment through the door? Was I going to wind up with a lab in a parking lot?

Of course, that didn’t happen–everything worked out fine, and we have had a 5-star high-quality lab here inside the building for the last 16 years. But those nightmares had been haunting me again for the last few days…

A lab like ours needs a backup power system, particularly to make sure that our refrigerators and freezers containing patient samples and expensive reagents don’t degrade during a power failure. While I would love an inline generator, some investigation in the past has shown the cost to be more than we could bear. Instead, we installed a backup battery system that during a power failure can power red outlets throughout the lab that control the refrigerators, the freezers, and some incubators in microbiology as well. It has served us well, but after ten years of juice the company that installed and maintained the system, let’s call them Power Is Us,  told us the unit was badly outdated, and we agreed to purchase a replacement.

PIU hired a freight company, NoWay,  to pick up the new unit from the PIU Wisconsin plant and deliver it to the lab. This was to be a two-stage process, with the unit to be first taken to Badway’s warehouse near O’Hare, and then delivered to the lab on a subsequent day. Easy-peasy, right? After all, we are only 15 minutes away from NoWay’s warehouse.

I did have a few requirements. One, I needed delivery to be between 8 am and noon, when we had a staff available to unload a couple of pallets worth of equipment and heavy batteries. And two, we don’t have a loading dock, so the delivery had to be with a lift-gate truck. All this was conveyed to NoWay, and the delivery date confirmed. And what happened?

  • Scheduled delivery date 1: No delivery “Our truck didn’t leave the yard until 11:30 so we knew we couldn’t get to you by 12:00.”
  • Scheduled delivery date 2: No delivery. At 4 pm, the last person in the lab is heading out the door when she gets a call.  “We’ll be there a little later. We have until midnight, right?” Um, no. 12 pm means noon, not midnight!
  • Scheduled delivery date 3: No delivery. “Our driver didn’t think his truck would fit in your parking lot, so he just drove away.” (In fifteen years, no delivery truck has ever had a problem getting into our lot.)

So yeah, pretty frustrated by this point. The good news? PIU has agreed to deliver the unit to us themselves, take it off the palettes, and put it into place. It is what they did when they delivered the original system back in the day, and what I wanted them to do this time in the first place. A happy conclusion.

I’m sure I’ll get some sleep tonight.

The above are the opinions of the author and not of UroPartners LLC

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