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On today’s Tech, No Babel: Troubleshooting techniques: Paying in time and trouble
Most people only think of things costing money, but there are other costs.
-how much something costs to replace.
-how often you replace it.
-how much maintenance does it require.
-does it require more people to operate?
-does it add unnecessary frustration to someone’s life?
Should you just replace it?
-How much is the person who has to deal with it being paid to do so?
-Are maintenance costs making repairs more costly than new?
-Does a new one bring additional benefits that add to the calculation?
Transcript: One thing that a lot of people think is that the only way that you pay for things is with money. That’s actually not true. Money is just one of the many possible ways that you pay for things. Another way is with time and trouble. Consider how much does it cost to replace something vs. how often do you replace it. Also, how much maintenance does it require? Does it require more people to operate than if you got a different piece that may be a little bit more money? Does it add unnecessary frustration to someone’s life, frustration that really doesn’t need to be there?
Perfect example of this is there was a story not too long ago that came out where some school system was still using a computer system to control their HVAC unit that was, I don’t know, ten or 15 years old. Crazy, I know, but when it finally broke, there was no one that could fix it. The only way to fix it would be to either replace it wholesale, or to fly in an expert from somewhere else who knows how this was created, and try and figure it out. Replacing it earlier might have saved all kinds of time, all kinds of trouble, and maybe some on the energy bills. That’s a perfect example.
Should you just replace the piece? Ask yourself how much does it cost to pay the person who has to deal with it. If you’re paying someone a lot of money to deal with a broken piece and they keep fixing it but over time you’re actually paying for the equivalent of a new piece in their labor, maybe you need to just buy a new piece. Are maintenance costs more than getting a new one? Consider that. Also, does bringing a new piece, a replacement, bring additional benefits that really you’re looking for. Like you’d like the piece to be able to do something that it can’t do, and the replacement of it would do that. That might be an intangible that’s not clearly aligned on the budget.
Back to heating and cooling. If you’ve got an ancient thermostat and the first person that gets to your church in the morning, it’s always way too cool or it’s always way too hot, perhaps having a new thermostat allows this person to schedule it to when people arrive, be the right temperature, as opposed to arriving two hours early to turn it on to make sure that it’s the right temperature. There could be some intangibles there that you just don’t know.
Remember, a lot of times it’s the case that you’ve got a choice between cheap, reliable, or capable. Something might be cheap and capable but not reliable, or cheap and reliable but not capable, or reliable and capable but not cheap. Sometimes you’ve got to pick two. In doing so, you’ll sometimes have to pay a little extra money, and that’s okay if you’re actually saving time and saving frustration.