General Question

flutherother's avatar

How can a company be so incompetent?

Asked by flutherother (32115points) July 16th, 2012

G4S, the world’s largest security company, was given the prestigious job of providing security for the Olympic Games in London this year. They have had years to prepare and now at the 11th hour they say they don’t have enough staff to do the job and the British government has been forced to deploy 3,500 troops (some due leave after fighting in Afghanistan) to make up the shortfall. How can a large private company be so unbelievably incompetent?

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6 Answers

gambitking's avatar

Well we could ask the same of British Petroleum (BP) ... if the words ‘deep horizon’ ring a bell. And what about Enron? My father worked there, he got his stock certificates in the mail after the crash. (originally thousands of dollars worth) They collectively yielded about 12 cents. And then there’s Chernobyl, the Titanic, the Challenger (NASA) and the Columbia for that matter. Amazon (+Netflix) can’t seem to keep their servers online despite how cool they pretend to be as a pioneer in Cloud computing.

The list goes on. Honestly, I think the real challenge for a huge enterprise is NOT screwing it up. The G4S fiasco is shameful, but not all that disastrous in my opinion.

Nintendo of America’s E3 Showcase – now THAT’S a travesty.

ragingloli's avatar

My guess it has to do with greed and saving money and therefore not hiring enough people.
And then people complain how the government does nothing right and want to privatise everything.

Nullo's avatar

The primary goal and function of a company is to make more money with fewer expenses. My guess is that G4S was trying to skate by on as small a staff as they could afford.

CWOTUS's avatar

Any enterprise can be incompetently led. That’s nothing new or surprising.

It would be interesting to see the contract that was drafted and agreed to. “Security for the Olympics” is a pretty broad scope. It may be that the parties had failed to adequately define the “expectation” vs. “proposed solution” by the vendor.

Does the contract also cover security for the new sites being constructed, for example? Because of the routine schedule over-runs in venue construction, the base contract manhours may have been also over-run to a point where the security provisions of the final events may be compromised.

Finally, there are penalties for private companies who fail to live up to contract obligations, or who overrun their budgets.

woodcutter's avatar

It may be the tactic to under bid competitors to get the gig then worry about doing the job later after it’s too late. Ever wonder why certain road projects seem to go on forever?

flutherother's avatar

You can watch the CEO of G4S, Nick Buckles giving evidence to the House of Commons Home Affairs Committee here. Jump to the 1 hour 26 minutes position.

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