$100 million security system fails at JFK airport

August 14, 2012

When we pay $100 million for a security system to protect a major, international airport from perimeter intrusion, you expect to receive what you paid for.

So, how is it a jet-skier was able to swim ashore after his jet-ski ran out of fuel, climb an 8 foot tall fence, walk undetected across 2 airport runways, and finally get stopped by a Delta airlines tarmac employee  who contacted airport security? You can read the article here.

And, to add insult to injury, they have booked this unwitting person with criminal trespass. You’ve got to be kidding me! We ought to give this chap the Congressional Medal of Honor for helping us understand that the $100 million system isn’t working.

The system was provided by a major defense contractor, Raytheon. The claims are that the system “exceeds Federal requirements.”  Well, if it meets the specifications, it certainly isn’t doing what it ought to do: alert security to a possible perimeter intrusion of the airport!

What on-going testing and validation is being done to ensure the system continues to work properly?  Assuming the system conformed to specifications when it was accepted and paid for, the Port Authority of New York and New Jersey is responsible for the operation of this security system. They dropped the ball. And, in so doing, put the flying public at risk.

And, I therefore, by the power invested in me, induct the Port Authority of New York and New Jersey in the “Business Execution Hall of Shame.”

Dave Gardner, Gardner & Associates Consulting http://www.gardnerandassoc.com



Heathrow Airport Operator BAA Airports Ltd. enters Business Execution Hall of Shame

December 22, 2010

Heathrow Airport travelers are suffering horribly as a result of some bad weather this past weekend. This has negatively impacted the holidays for tens of thousands of people.  London Heathrow is the world’s largest airport hub.


  • The airport received 3.5 inches of snow this past Saturday.  [Chicago O’Hare and Boston would consider this a “dusting of snow.”] Cold and ice that followed have snarled airport operations for days.
  • Until December 23rd at 6 a.m. local time, Heathrow will operate only 1/3 of scheduled flights.
  • Heathrow canceled 752 flights–389 arrivals and 363 departures (58%)—on Tuesday out of 1300 flights planned for that day.
  • Gatwick airport canceled only 50 out of 695 (7%) flights scheduled on Tuesday.
  • Since the snow storm on Saturday, Heathrow has canceled 3200 flights (60% of the total) whereas Gatwick as canceled 25% of its flights.
  • Heathrow had 100 contractors clearing snow; Gatwick had 140 contractors working around the clock
  • Heathrow’s second main runway remained closed all day Tuesday
  • The airport’s operator declined an offer of assistance from the military to help with snow and ice removal.


  • Heathrow operates at nearly full capacity making it difficult to clear the snow. [Really?]
  • Planes froze to their parking stands—special equipment was required to free the aircraft.
  • This is the coldest December on record in the southern U.K.—they are not used to such conditions.

While there is little that can be done to prevent weather events, BAA Airports has shown little imagination  in getting the airport back to normal operations.

BAA does not have a sense of urgency expected for a world travel hub to get flight operations back to normal.

BAA did not have contingency plans or resources in place for a relatively minor weather event that ensued creating horrible implications for people traveling through Heathrow.  The weather event is a smoke screen for a massive business execution failure.

I fervently hope that all who have been inconvenienced by this debacle will reach their destinations in time to celebrate the holidays.

For business execution failures and the disruptions to holiday travel of tens of thousands of people, the airport operator, Ferrovial SA’s BAA Airports Ltd., is entered into Gardner & Associates Consulting’s Business Execution Hall of Shame.

Dave Gardner, Gardner & Associates Consulting http://www.gardnerandassoc.com

© 2010 Gardner & Associates Consulting All Rights Reserved

GlaxoSmithKline enters Business Execution Hall of Shame

October 27, 2010

GlaxoSmithKline (GSK) has committed a string of business execution failures—some of the most outrageous failures that I could ever have imagined in the pharmaceutical industry.  The bottom line: GSK has agreed to pay a fine of $750 million for producing and selling “adulterated and improperly made drugs.”

What is GSK admitting happened at its now-closed manufacturing plant in Cidra, Puerto Rico?  The plant:

o         Produced medications that were mislabeled

o         Produced defective medications—too weak or too strong

o         Mixed dosages of the same drugs in the same packaging, e.g., 10 mg and 30 mg tablets

o         Produced drugs contaminated with micro-organisms

According to 26OCT10 MSNBC.com article “Drug maker to pay $750 million for defective meds,” “A big factor in the lawsuit was the role of a former quality assurance manager for GSK who became a whistleblower after she was fired.”  Her job was to monitor products produced and speak up about non-conformity to standards. This woman spoke up and it cost her her job.

Pharmaceutical products are produced under GMP—good manufacturing practice–standards.  What does this mean?

Rigorous testing and quality control practices must be continuously applied for every lot of drugs produced.  This is to ensure consistency in the drug formulation, quality, etc.  Documentation must be maintained proving that the testing was performed by a specific employee, the date and time of the testing, the serial number of test equipment used, the last calibration date and next calibration date of each piece of equipment used, the test results, etc.  All of the test information is captured.  It is not permissible to modify any information in the test process—any changes must be crossed out (not erased) and signed and dated by a supervisor and the person performing the test.

For example, if you manufacture a product called “aspirin,” there are rigorous tests that must be conducted to prove the product is indeed aspirin and meets the FDA requirements for what an aspirin is.  This would include things such as confirming that an aspirin tablet contains all right ingredients in the correct proportions but will also dissolve within a certain period of time enabling the drug substance “aspirin” to be absorbed into the human body through the digestive system.

What conclusion can we reach? GSK knew about the problems and chose to look the other way. GSK did not do the right thing even when it had the chance.

This fine was not the result of an isolated incident.  This was an out of control plant, a plant that has since been closed.

The pharmaceutical and biotech industries attract competent, brilliant, compassionate, and caring people—people with a great deal of integrity.  I’m sure those in the industry find what happened at the Cidra GSK manufacturing plant to be as abhorrent as I do.

GSK has a moral, ethical and fiduciary obligation to produce drugs that conform to industry GMP standards.  For this horrific business execution failure, Gardner & Associates Consulting enters GlaxoSmithKline in the Business Execution Hall of Shame.

Dave Gardner, Gardner & Associates Consulting http://www.gardnerandassoc.com

© 2010 Gardner & Associates Consulting

iPhone Leak Immensely Damaging to Apple

May 18, 2010

For a number of weeks, we have observed the drama unfold over Gizmodo’s buying a prototype iPhone and sharing details about it before its public release.

My take:  Gizmodo has, at a minimum, acted unethically and may have acted illegally.

Apple goes to extraordinary lengths to protect its intellectual property.   Gizmodo knows this.

Apple, like all high-tech consumer product companies, needs to manage the transition from one generation of product to another with great care. High tech companies do not want delay current customer purchases due to confirmed features about next-generation products.  Not only does this undermine the sale of current product inventories, but, it delays revenue.

What should Gizmodo have done?

Immediately return the iPhone to Apple with no investigative work on its own.  That’s would have been the “right thing to do.”  It would have been taking the “high road,” not the “low road.”  And, it would have shown Gizmodo respects it’s role in the industry, not made Gizmodo look like tabloid paparazzi.

If you find $10,000 of cash in a paper bag in a public place, you don’t keep it–you make every effort to try to reunite the money with the rightful owner.  That’s what Gizmodo should have done.

For Gizmodo’s reprehensible actions in this matter, I hereby enter Gizmodo in Gardner & Associates Consulting’s “Business Execution Hall of Shame.”

Dave Gardner, Gardner & Associates Consulting http://www.gardnerandassoc.com

How do you price your pizza?

May 5, 2010

It’s 4 pm and I’ve got a 5:30 pm meeting at the house with my wife.  The light lunch I’d had a few hours earlier is wearing thin.

I’m thinking I’ll stop by Premier Pizza in Santa Clara on my way home and grab 4 different slices of pizza to go.  My wife is a vegetarian; my mother-in-law and I are both carnivores.  So, being able to mix and match different slices is appreciated.

Premier Pizza is a tremendous value at $3.75 per slice.  Here’s what happened in the store.

Me:  I’d like to get 4 slices of pizza to go.

Cashier:  I can only sell you 3 slices.  If you want a fourth, I’ll have to charge you for a whole pizza.

Me: Huh?

Cashier:  They are really big slices.  I can only sell you 3 slices.  If you want a 4th, I have to charge you for a whole pizza.

Me: You’re kidding, right?

Cashier: No

Me: How much is a whole pizza?

Cashier:  About $20.

Me:  So, I can buy 3 slices for less than $12 but a forth slice is an additional $8?

Cashier:  Right.  Each slice is really big.

Me:  I’ll take 3 slices.  You realize I’m going to have to write a blog piece about this.

Cashier:  Okay.

But, the slices are really big.  Sure.  And, tasty, too.

Dave Gardner, Gardner & Associates Consulting


© 2010 Gardner & Associates Consulting All Rights Reserved

PowWeb dumps customers–why?

September 29, 2009

This past weekend, PowWeb entered the Business Execution Hall of Shame for dumping with no notice a top Internet web entrepreneur after having solicited web hosting on the basis of:

  • Unlimited bandwidth
  • Unlimited disk space

Why would a company so arbitrarily and capriciously dump a loyal customer of 6 years with no notice?

One could speculate that PowWeb makes certain assumptions about how much bandwidth and disk space it expects a “typical” customer to use.  It is likely this web entrepreneur exceeded the norm, perhaps by a very wide margin.

What has happened in the last 6 years to the Internet?

Two important factors are driving the need for more and more bandwidth and disk space: audio and video. These factors really didn’t exist 6 years ago and, today, represent a significant drain on resources that normal html web pages do not.

I suspect that PowWeb took a close look at who the big consumers of disk space and bandwidth were amongst their customer base and unceremoniously dumped them to protect the infrastructure needs of their other clients.  It may well be that a very small number of customers tied up a sizeable chunk of PowWeb’s infrastructure capacity.

Is this excusable?  No.  PowWeb remains in our Business Execution Hall of Shame for its actions.  It is horrible to dump a customer with no notice.  They should have given notice and a reasonable period of time to migrate to a new web hosting company.

It is not realistic for PowWeb to offer the “earth, moon and sky” at the lowest price in their market particularly given the way the Internet has involved to require more and more bandwidth and disk space.  It is not, as has been proven here, a sustainable business model for them.

The question is who within PowWeb’s customer base is next to go if not now, next week, next month, next year?

Dave Gardner, Gardner & Associates Consulting


PowWeb Enters Business Execution Hall of Shame

September 26, 2009

I received disturbing news this morning from a top Internet marketer and entrepreneur, Nerrisa Oden (also known as The Video Queen):

On Thursday, http://www.freevideocoding.com,  was shut down without warning. I saw the situation this morning and began working with my webhost of 6 years to get it back up. But they refused citing it had exceeded its’ unlimited bandwidth amount.  (I’m not making this up!)

“Just upgrade me,” I said.

“No. We don’t offer upgrades,” powweb.com said.

So I immediately changed to another web host company. During this process http://www.freevideocoding.com was offline. Currently it’s new servers are being propogated across the Internet. It’s happening fast so everyone should have full access by the end of the day Saturday.

I am also moving these websites:
http://www.freevideoediting.com and

Again, the interruption in service should be minimal and well worth the move. I am just sorry that it happened suddenly and without warning.

It takes about 48 hours under the best of circumstances to migrate web hosting to a new Internet service provider if you have time to plan for it.

To cut off a customer of 6 years with no notice who is operating within the published parameters of “UNLIMITED Data Transfer” and “UNLIMITED Disk Space” is absolutely unforgivable.

By the way, if your Internet business is dependent on PowWeb, caveat emptor–let the buyer beware!

For this action, “PowWeb, The Perfect Hosting Solution,” is hereby entered in our Business Execution Hall of Shame!  Congratulations, PowWeb.

Dave Gardner, Gardner & Associates Consulting