Remembering Early Times at HP

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International Procurement Can Be Fun...!!!!
An autobiography of my working life..., by John Wastle

Part 9

Table of Contents:

Dedicated to:
Harris. The greatest Grandson in the world.
"The world is what you make it. It isn't fair, but it is good."

  • Part 1
  • Part 2
  • Part 3
  • Part 4
  • Part 5
  • Part 6
  • Part 7
  • Part 8
  • Part 9

  • Part 9

    68. Worldwide IPO Managers Meetings...

    One of the achievements of Bill Boller, was to bring the worldwide IPOs much closer to each other. He accomplished this in such a way that it was meant to try and have the IPOs being seen as operating as a single unit in the customer's eyes. This was, in effect what happened but in reality it was the opposite, competition was rife between the IPO's. I personally think the competition was healthy as it kept us on our toes. During Bill's tenure there were notably three worldwide IPO Managers meetings, Singapore, Hong Kong and Boeblingen. Actually, there was a fourth, held at South Queensferry, which I played no major role in since I was soon to leave the IPO and Hewlett Packard. Wolfgang Zenger saw it as unimportant that I should partake in the event, which turned out to be a big mistake on his part and damaged his credibility amongst his peers.

    The first meeting was held in Singapore, which as it turned out was also a good time as the new IPO systems were under development. It allowed quick decisions to be made and which speeded up the process. Bill Boller in his wisdom also invited a couple of his corporate peers to attend, one of whom was Marsha Begun, a lady from hell. She incidentally was related in some way to with the Israeli Prime Minister of past years. On this occasion, I was going to have a major dust up with her. At the meeting it was planned that all the IPO Managers would give a presentation of their past years' business. There also would be other topics open to be presented and discussed. I was asked to come up with a topic and give a presentation, the topics had to be related to the IPOs on a global basis. The topic I chose was "Global Communications and its barriers for the Global IPOs."

    My presentation on Global Communications was well accepted by all, with the exception of Marsha Begun, who took real issue with an overhead slide I had produced. I had intended to inject a bit of humour, which everyone to a person saw and accepted as fun, except Marsha Begun. She accused me of being sexist and tactless! I had started to talk about ways that communications can get confused and misread depending on the circumstances that prevailed at the time. I produced an overhead which showed the picture of an old witch with typed captions top and bottom which I had covered up to be shown at the appropriate time.

    The slide first showed the old crone, complete with warts. Then I removed the paper cover from the first caption, which read, "Before six Beers!" Next I spun the same picture through 180 degrees, and the old witch turned into a beautiful Princess. When the paper that covered that caption was removed, the caption read, "After six Beers!"

    There was laughter all round until Begun shouted out, "That is sexist and has no place in a HP presentation!" I asked "What is sexist about that?" She replied, "It's degrading to women!" I replied, "On the contrary, if anything it is derogatory towards men as it portrays them as drunks." Bill Boller had to pacify her by talking to her off to the side. She had won no Brownie points with everyone else in the meeting room, each of whom came up to me at a later stage and said she was way out of line. She was never invited back to another IPO meeting!

    Begun's hysterics were soon forgotten about that evening, when a boat trip had been organized that took all the IPO managers off to an island just off Singapore. It was not a restaurant as such, it had all been cobbled together to make a fun evening with a big bonfire, lots of booze and food. There was a Barbie-no, not the doll kind-the charcoal kind, and music. As the night wore on, everyone ended up doing the Limbo dance, which was made all that easier to fall over. Two ladies helped to pick us back up again. Next day there were a few twinges from the back aches and the drink induced headaches!

    The next Worldwide IPO Managers meeting took place in Hong Kong. This time it was organized by Gary Peck, who was in his last year before taking early retirement. He had decided it was to be a meeting we would all remember. He got that right, he didn't seem to care about the expense, that would be someone else's problem.

    World-wide IPO Managers head out for a floating dinner in China.

    The whole meeting took place in the very up market Aberdeen Marina Club. It was so up market, that, to save money. They weren't going to allow our spouses and partners in to use the swimming pool and join us for lunch! The facilities were excellent, I'd swear all the bathroom plumbing was gold plated!

    Gary did everyone proud, even the partners and spouses, who all received a necklace made out of Ming pottery! The meetings all went to plan. No Marsha Begun at this venue. Gary had also gone out of his way to make sure people got a good sightseeing view of the Hong Kong and Kowloon area. One of the dinners involved us going up to the new territories in North Kowloon. We first traveled by bus, then by boat and then onto an even smaller boat at sea, to get into the small landing at the restaurant, but what a great Chinese restaurant it was.

    World-wide IPO Hong Kong meeting. Checking to see whether managers can
    Kareoke, singing, "Born to be Wild?"

    We all got sat down and the waiters came around to ask what we would like to drink. I didn't notice, but the Chinese restaurant owner was listening to me order a beer. He came over beside me and said, in the strongest Scottish accent, "Ow's it goan Jimmy, yae want a pint o heavy, yuil bae haein a wee Ruby Murry fur yur tea then!" Everyone at the table looked up and wondered what the restaurant owner had just said to me, it sounded like a foreign language to everyone, except me of course. Turned out the owner lived in Stirling in Scotland for a number of years, he loved it and had picked up the Scottish accent and colloquialisms. Upon hearing me order a beer, he had to come across and talk about Scotland. After that, the service to our table was always the quickest, with the boss helping and spending a few more minutes talking with me. He wanted to go back to Scotland, but his Mother was old and frail. But in the future he hoped he would go back.

    Boats seemed to figure in Gary Peck's plans, on another night it was a small water taxi in Aberdeen to the world's biggest floating restaurant, Jumbo's in Aberdeen harbour Hong Kong. On another night we had dinner in the Aberdeen Marina Yachting Club, afterwards the evening went with a bang as he had arranged a Karaoke evening. One of the highlights featuredall the IPO managers giving "Born to be wild" a rather painful and tuneless airing.

    A number of the IPO Managers who had brought their partners had discussed with Gary staying on longer to go and see the ancient Chinese artifacts and buildings in Beijing. Gary worked out a deal for us all, we'd visit Beijing and see the Great Wall of China, the Ming Tombs, the Forbidden City, the Summer Palace as well as other famous places around the Peking City or Beijing as it is now known as, such as Pearl and Cloisonné factories.

    The Hotel we stayed at, in Beijing, was named the Capitol. We were not sure at first what we would be arriving at, but it was luxurious, our bathroom was floor to roof in marble. Even the TV was set up for westerners. It was there we saw the death of Diana Spencer as it happened in Paris. To walk around Tiananmen Square looking across at the Forbidden City was quite eerie, especially as we could recall the brave Chinese dissident standing in front of a tank in protest. Where ever we wandered, there were always two policemen close by. The Chinese themselves would gather around us to listen to us as speak. When we were in the Forbidden City the police or security would film us no matter where we wandered.

    It was good to see Beijing, which was also getting a fair amount of Chinese visitors. They would come to their capitol from the furthest flung corners of China and be dressed in the native costumes of that area. We had Wolfgang Zenger's children with us, their blonde hair and blue eyes was like a magnet to the Chinese who would stretch forward at every opportunity to touch their hair. Eventually the kids were getting truly (expletived) off with it all and they would stand in the middle of our group out of the reach of touching hands.

    What a fantastic feeling it was to walk the Great Wall and through the Forbidden City, and thousands of years of history. It was a pity that the Red Guards in Mao Tse Tungs' days were allowed to destroy so much. Most of the treasures were now on Taiwan, taken there by General Chang Kai Chek, which I had the fortune to see when I was in there on another visit.

    At this WWIPO meeting at the Bad Tienach spa resort in Germany,
    some managers brought their families.

    The worldwide IPO Managers meeting in Germany, was not as exotic as those in Asia, but Zenger had organized some good sightseeing trips. The meeting took place in Bad Tienach, and we did have dinner in the same hostelry as our EIPO dinner. But this time the dinner didn't take place in the cellar and there was no "Zum Wohle Allerseit." To be honest, I felt a golden opportunity had been missed by not doing that. Our Asian IPO Managers would have loved it. But Zenger would think it was not the type of Germany he wanted others to see.

    I was never a great lover of the Bad Tienach spa resort, to me it was too typically German in taking the "cure" as they call it. Rotund old Germans of both sexes walking around in white dressing gowns, flip-flop shoes drinking the spa water, but they seemed to like doing that.

    The sightseeing trips were more interesting when we went on to Oberammergau, Garmischpartenkirchen and visits to the Neuschwanstein Castle and Mad King Ludwig's Palace hideout. It was built to resemble a cave. It was all very nice, but it was missing something, it was just too clinical and sanitized. A fun evening could have been had in Sindelfingen at Funzel's Bar, which as I've mentioned is like something out of Hansel and Gretel. They do serve a mean rost schweinehaxe, to be swallowed down by lots of wheat beer. That ambiance would have gone down well with all the others. There was also a nice restaurant in Boeblingen but the Pils takes forever to pour. You also need to make sure that when in the Boeblingen area that you like meat. Fish is seldom on offer, and stay away from the schmaltz unless you want a heart attack. Otherwise you'll be injecting pig fat straight into your arteries! The beer is good though as is the Wuerttemburg wine.

    I'm celebrating the Oktober Beir Fest in Munich with Gary Peck, CIPO.

    The technical meeting trip was organised to be in Munich in time for the Oktoberfest, which is not in October. At last it was something everyone had heard about and typically German, well Bavarian to be exact. It was always going to be a great hit with all, as was the Volksfest which took place in Stuttgart. But as those nights wore on, it was up to each individual to get themselves back to the hotel. I'm still amazed we never lost anyone. It's a very German thing to sit at very long tables and eat the huge sausages, swilled down with huge steins of beer. The beer was supplied by the serving ladies, who seem to be able to carry around eight one litre steins at the one time. The music is loud and the lederhosen is everywhere. It's not long before people are standing on the tables and dancing on the form seating. The most favourite song being "Alice" where every person to a man can be heard shouting the lines, "Alice, Alice, who the (expletive) is Alice?" Though at our IPO Managers table, the Alice quickly became "Marsha, Marsha, who the (expletive) is Marsha!" It was a pity really the old witch wasn't there to hear our praise being placed upon her!

    The Macarena was also popular at that time, allowing Victor Melendez to come to the fore and show us how it is done in Mexico! As the night wore on, everyone was getting drunker. Jeff Cooke in a sober state would never have been seen chatting up the ugliest woman in the world, but I was obviously sober enough to take the picture. This picture of Gary Peck and I in Bavarian hats make us look like the local village idiots!

    We had some fun times at those Beer festivals, but I always avoided going on the shows rides. This was a wise and calculated move, when seeing those who disembarked from some funfair death ride, puking down the front of themselves, mostly women!

    69. East European Trip...

    After the fall of the Berlin Wall, Eastern European countries came to the fore as our low cost supplier base. Karl Daumueller and Manfred Kandolff had been doing a lot of research in a number of those Eastern European countries. Some of the USA Materials Managers wanted to know more about it. This was right up Wolfgang Zenger's street. He would organise a trip, actually his minions would, but Zenger would take the credit.

    This is the frog-eyed Russian Anatov jet that carried us around Eastern Europe,
    previously owned by the Romanian dictator.

    A supplier trip was organised that would take us to Poland, Hungary, Czech Republic, Estonia and Russia. The trip would hit all the oldest and most beautiful cities in Eastern Europe. We would visit, Prague, Warsaw, Brno, Budapest, Tallinn and St Petersburg. There was a huge demand to join in on the trip. It gave Wolfgang an ideal opportunity to pull a fast one. He organised the trip in such a way that the guys traveling wouldn't have to worry about all the different currencies or travel arrangements. He told them he'd work it all out to cover the transport and hotel costs. Then he would bill them the cost in advance, they all thought it was a great idea. What Wolfgang never told them was that all of us IPO guys-there were about six of us-we'd be going for free, our costs were divided amongst all those other Material Managers!!! All they would have to pay extra was their bar bills and they could do that with their credit cards. If they had found out Wolfgang's scam, all hell would have broken lose.

    The IPO would charter a plane and a bunch of buses to ferry us around. It was still a bit difficult to move from one old Iron Country to another. So it was easier to charter a plane from within one of those countries. We ended up flying in a bug eyed, well that was what it looked like, Anatov. It was a strange contraption, I never felt all that safe in it. It apparently had belonged to some East European dictatorial leader. Thus it was kitted out for his comfort, complete with sofas and easy chairs, as well as a drop down door at the back which allowed his bullet-proof luxury Zil to drive in! I'm sure the plane bodywork was made of steel! I'm positive it had a few of our USA visitors a wee bit worried. One even shouted at me to switch off my lap top when we were taking off in case it interfered with the avionics!!

    The trip around the suppliers was different, I didn't see one that could match what we could achieve at our West European supplier base. What was really interesting though, was that some forward thinking western companies had installed their own people in suppliers with the best potential, most notably in Hungary. Even an OEM (Original Equipment Manufacturer) from Ireland was there. Their Irish engineers loved it, their money was worth just so much more there, so they lived a life of luxury. IBM had a Disc Drive Facility up and running, supported by their imported engineers.

    One of MCG's major European competitors, W&G (Wandel & Goltermann) from Germany, had an assembly line building Signal Analysers. It gave me a certain pleasure when I got back to South Queensferry to go and update George Taylor, who was Manufacturing Manager to tell him of my findings. I had previously asked George if he intended to send any materials person on the trip. He said no, there was nothing there that would be of any benefit to his division or that of MCG. His face changed a little when I said, "George, one of the reasons W&G are taking business from you is because they have an assembly line in full operation in Hungary."

    The visit to Russia and the Russian suppliers were more restricted than the other east European countries. There was a distinct wariness and distrust from the people we met. It started the minute our plane touched down on Russian soil. As soon as we started to taxi towards the terminal building, almost immediately soldiers with dogs started to appear out of the woods to line our path into the terminal building. After a long wait, immigration people arrived to check out our documentation, then we could set off. It was not much better when we returned to fly out. We had a charter plane, so departure should have been quick, but it wasn't. Those same immigration people were off having lunch somewhere, even though they knew when we planned on leaving, so we often had to hang around for a couple of hours.

    Even at the Russian suppliers, they watched every one of us during the plant tours, pushing some along to keep up with the main party. They even hovered over us when we all sat in their dark wood paneled meeting rooms, which had pictures of Lenin on the walls and Hammer and Sickles. When any of the guys got up to go to the loo, someone would stand outside the door to make sure that was the only place he went to and came back from.

    St Petersburg's old buildings were marvelous though, it was early Spring and the ice on the river was breaking up as we took a boat trip up and down the river past the Hermitage. A beautiful city, yes, but it was dirty, dust lay on the streets everywhere, and nearly all the windows had not been cleaned in a long time. The drainpipes from the roofs ran down the side of the building and were open at the bottom where the water just sprayed across the pavements. Maybe that's how they got rid of all the dust.

    A couple of the ladies in our group got up early and took off jogging around St Petersburg, when they got back they were telling folks where they had been. Our Russian guide's face changed colour, he said that that was not a good idea, especially where you jogged to. Foreign visitors had been mugged and kidnapped in that area! There was no more early morning jogging outings after that!

    One of the major highlights on our visit to St Petersburg was that Wolfgang had organised an evening at the ballet. So we all set off to watch the Kirov Ballet perform Don Quixote. It was the first time I had ever been to a ballet, the place was packed out and the show was just mesmerising, I will never forget it.

    The hotel in St Petersburg was very old, but it had been somewhat renovated to cater for upmarket tourists. The decor was well done, though not up to western standards. But somehow it was just right for the area, complete with old chandeliers and doormen on the main entrance. Their primary job, I think, was to keep the distasteful and unsavoury characters at bay, I'd have thought that the walk through metal detector at the front door would have done that.

    Our arrival in Poland was also a jerk into reality and was a sign of what was to meet us. Immediately outside the air terminal as we boarded the bus, were lines of hookers. The suppliers in Poland were a bit more upbeat and keen to shrug off their past history and move closer to Europe and the west. You could feel the resentment they had towards the Russians, and beyond that, they were not too keen on the Germans either. With good reason, Warsaw had been razed to the ground during the last war, but the Poles have re-built it brick for brick exactly as it once was. They have made an absolutely superb job of it. All around are memorials to the last war, most probably instigated by the Russian. The Jewish Ghetto area is also on the tourist route.

    On our first night, we all went for a meal in the re-built Old Town Market Square, which was just stunning to wander round and inspect. The restaurant had a classical music group playing in the corner, similar to that in Prague. The meal though has not made a mark on my memory, but there was copious amounts of ice cold vodka which had to be passed around. On returning to the hotel, we all made our way to the bar. On this occasion it was full of ladies, 'ladies of the night.' They must have thought their boat had just come in and that their pay cheque had just arrived. Although they chatted to all the guys around the bar, but with women in our group, they tended to keep their distance. That was until our ladies turned in for the night. Then they got chatty again.

    A little while later a couple of the Americans had commented on the bar. They had looked across the street and wanted to go see what a local pub was like. Despite us telling them it was not an ordinary pub where the locals would go, half a dozen of them set off to visit the pub. The next morning over breakfast we heard their story. It was an escort bar, they no sooner walked in the door but they were joined by a few lady escorts, whom of course they had to buy drinks for! All went well, until it was time to leave and they asked for their bill! Between the six of them they couldn't raise enough money to pay the bill.

    The bar bouncers had no intention of letting them leave the premises until the bar bill was paid. In the end, the bouncers let one of them leave to go back to his hotel and collect his credit card to pay for all their drinks. On his return and bill payment they were allowed to leave. I wonder how they covered that on their expenses? After that evening those same six guys never parted from the total company. Lesson learned I guess.

    Budapest was also a beautiful city for sightseeing. But even here, within spitting distance, the hookers plied their wares around the hotel entrances. It was a bit cold for the guys to do any extra walkabout activities after walking around the old towns of Buda and Pest that straddle the Danube.

    It was much the same in the Czech Republic, though there was a stronger air of mechanical capability. This was probably because they manufactured automobiles like Skoda and they made tanks and other military vehicles. But it meant most of their industry was attuned to those types of specialist markets. Prague has to be one of the most beautiful cities in Europe, Wenceslas Square, very classical. Every restaurant we visited had a classical music group playing away in the corner, the ambiance was great.

    Tallinn in Estonia was quite a surprise on the supplier front, until you realise that Finland is just across the waterway and as such has a huge presence in Estonia. They make use of the cheaper labour for the manufacture of Nokia mobile phones. That Finnish presence was making a huge difference to Estonia's manufacturing capability. It appeared a much more affluent country than all the others we had visited, in spite of previously being under Russian control. It was cleaner and tidier for starters. It featured beautiful cobbled streets all around the old town centre and around the old castle.

    We would eventually seek to do more in Estonia as an Irish company formed a partnership with their PSA CM suppliers.

    All in all, the East European trip was very enlightening, though I did come away thinking that it wouldn't be too long for those companies to catch up in capability with the west. In cahoots with western OEMs, their cost structures would rise, as was later proved with the Irish/Estonian HP partnership. Though if HP was to follow suit like many of the other OEMs, there were huge savings to be made in building final products. BCD was to follow that up with Ink Jet Printers.

    The other area that struck home with me was Wolfgang Zenger. That trip gave me an insight into how his unknown and unmentioned plans would shape up. He had brought along two of his previous henchmen that had worked with him in the past in Zentraleinkaufen. Zenger had it in his mind he was was going to create something out of nothing. He wanted to have his sidekicks back beside him in the IPO. Unfortunately this was going to be at the expense of a couple of the other German IPO members that had worked for Karl Heinz Hartmann. It had also quickly dawned on me that I would have a bigger fight on my hands with Zenger and his henchmen. I had already made sure I deliberately stood on both those new guys toes on this East European trip. I tried to put them in their place, and they didn't like it. I knew of course that they went running straight back to tell their Fuhrer that I had disagreed with them.

    70. Enough is Enough...

    It had been building up for some time, actually from the very first day both Karl Heinz Hartmann and I tried to persuade Bill Boller not to hire Wolfgang Zenger. Sadly, Bill had this fixation that there needed to be a European IPO Manager to manage the whole region. This despite both KHH and I doing really well without another level of Management. It was a crazy move by Boller, and one where he knew nothing of the past history of Zenger.

    Wolfgang's first task was to get rid of Karl Heinz Hartmann. This was not an easy task, when it was he who had originally hired Zenger into HP. Karl Heinz also had 30 years' service with the company. Wolfgang was wily enough to make it look like he wanted to use Karl Heinz's skills in other areas. So he brought in one of his pet Yes Men from Centrale Einkaufen, Karlheinz Hauber, to manage the order processing side of the IPO and leave Karl Heinz with the engineering side. Hauber was not an Engineer. Karl Heinz knew this was the beginning of the end and told me so. He also said this is how Zenger operates, he whittles little bits away at a time to get his own yes-men around him. This proved to be the case, as it was shown when Manfred Kandolff and Karl Daumueller started to do work on researching Eastern Europe. They had to report directly to Zenger on that project, which left Karl Heinz with little people management left.

    To Karl Heinzs' credit he hung on until Zenger sweetened the pot enough for him to take early retirement. That move was to benefit me later. Zenger was also smart, he knew KHH had lots of information and knowledge he needed access to, so agreed that when KHH left, he would use him as a consultant under the guise of Quality Training. I attended KHH's retirement celebration in Germany, I was intent on making sure he would go out with a bang and a big smile on his face, which he dearly deserved.

    At the retirement dinner, I sloped off and covered the dining area in huge posters I had made on our department plotter. I used old photographs of KHH from his years in the IPO. They brought huge smiles from KHH and his wife Crystal as well as hoots of laughter from his team members. Zenger just smiled, which was understandable as he was the brunt of some of my not-so-subtle humour. I presented KHH with a huge Edinburgh Crystal Bowl from all his friends in the UKIPO, which he and his wife loved. I gave Crystal a bouquet of flowers. I'm glad I gave the flowers as there were none forthcoming from the German side.

    Even at KHH's retiral dinner, I could see the Wolfgang Pack crowding around their Fuhrer at the one table. I decided I wasn't sitting there and sat amongst KHH's team. They asked me why I didn't sit at the other table. I told them I wanted to sit beside my friends, people whom I could trust and have fun with. It brought smiles of approval to their faces and comments, that they knew that I knew what Wolfgang Zenger is like. KHH said to me after dinner that he had wished he had sat with Crystal beside me and his team as it would have been much more fun. You couldn't measure it by the sound of all the laugher emanating from our table. KHH's team couldn't stop talking about the posters I had put up. They enjoyed the put-down, and the fun we made of everyone, including Wolfgang Zenger!

    KHH, moved to northern Germany but would travel down roughly each quarter and do some training, it lasted about a year. Then KHH decided he had had enough and stopped doing it. I believe KHH was hurt pretty deeply about the way he had been treated by Wolfgang Zenger. The end result being that to this day, KHH no longer makes contact with anyone, even in the German office. This sadly has also upset some of his former team players.

    Once KHH was gone, I was on my own in dealing with the Wolfgang Pack.

    There was never once that Zenger could or ever did criticise my team, though he always had plenty of criticism for the German team. I'm sure it irked him that it was always the senior players in my team that took the leadership and drove everything from the front, and were more creative in every aspect. The only really strong member on GIPO side was Doris Fischer. But she was too focused on her own little DRAM world. Besides, Karl Heinz Hauber stifled creativity within his team. He was of the Zenger idiom. It was only he who could come up with good ideas, he was a purchasing guy, so was always out of his depth on engineering issues and marketing capabilities. Even on the Systems side, he was never as creative as Jim Rooney was, but again Jim was also an engineer, so looked at systems from that angle.

    Meeting after meeting, it was always the UK IPO guys that dominated. But Zenger wanted to change things, he wanted an EIPO Zentraleinkaufen. He demanded that Hauber and I have weekly calls, I think basically to keep tabs on me and on what I was having my team working on. I knew Hauber would feed things back to Zenger, I pulled that string to the maximum.

    Eventually Zenger had no option but to come clean on what he wanted to do, and that was to create a EIPO Zentraleinkaufen. He was clever enough to work it as playing to our strengths. He said Hauber has great Purchasing knowledge and experience while I had great Engineering and Marketing skills. He wanted all the Purchasing, Systems and Processes to fall under the responsibility of Hauber and all the Engineering, Selling and Marketing responsibilities to fall under me. Even though the strength on the Systems side lay in my team with Jim Rooney.

    The group would have been split with all the German engineers reporting to me and Jim Rooney and our purchasing staff reporting to Hauber. I knew though, that this was just the thin end of the wedge. It would lead to eventually all the purchasing moving to Boeblingen and the loss of the UK IPO purchasing jobs in South Queensferry. All in all, it would have been a good job for me and all the engineers, but it was bad news for my purchasing folks. This meant that I totally rejected the idea out of hand, and said it needed more work before proposing it.

    I could only delay the inevitable, Zenger had made up his mind. It was going to happen, with or without my support, and those were the words he eventually used to tell me. I had to make a decision. My first loyalty was to my team, so I spoke with both Malk and Jim in confidence and let them know what Zenger's plans were. Both agreed I would get a good job out of it, and that it would impact the Purchasing side and the Systems side. I also told both of them that I had had enough of the infighting and that perhaps it was time for me to take early retirement. This kind of stunned them a bit. I also suggested that they might also want to consider their futures, which was what happened with all my key team members.

    It was in a way, good timing for Malcolm, Terry Pierce in Roseville had approached me on offering Malk a job in Roseville. I talked it over with Malk and he was interested, Zenger knew nothing about what was going on. Malk took the job and as soon as it got out, Zenger tried to change his mind, it was a done deal, it was too late. Zenger was too busy working on a package for me, he took his eye off the ball and left me to work away in the background with my senior players to seek other opportunities.

    I had told Zenger that I could not stay and work with his plans, he knew the job he was offering me was a good one and had expected me to look after myself and take it. He had underestimated my bond with my team and that I had had enough of the continual infighting he had brought to the IPO. This meant he would have to rethink his plans and he would have to make me an offer. If acceptable, I'd take early retirement. Wolfgang agreed and gave me everything I wanted, including my choice of date for departure, which helped ensure I got all my key players sorted out. When each person left, they were not replaced, which eventually led to Jim Rooney moving to Germany, and even then moving on to another department in Germany outside the IPO.

    In the end it left Germany with all the work and no excellent people to run it! With the eventual takeover of Compaq and its subsequent impact on Corporate HPP, and the demise of Agilent, many of my team moved on to take up other key positions in other companies. With their training, skills and ability it wasn't long before they were making their marks in their new positions. I'm still receiving requests to supply them with references, all those years after I left the company.

    71. My Last World Wide IPO Managers Meeting...

    My very last World Wide IPO Managers Meeting was to be held in South Queensferry. Unfortunately this was about two months before I was leaving the company, as I had decided on taking early retirement. Wolfgang Zenger, in all his wisdom, decided I shouldn't attend the meeting, his thinking being, as I was about to take early retirement, I didn't need to attend. It didn't matter to him that Michi Enji, the JIPO manager was also retiring at the end of that month, and he was in attendance!

    This Wolfgang Zenger decision didn't win him any brownie points with all the other World Wide IPO Managers in attendance. Every one of them had brought their spouses or partners along, all of whom wanted to tie up with my wife Sheila, particularly after they all had bonded at the last World Wide IPO Managers meeting in Hong Kong. Zenger was worried that I'd upstage him. After he told me his decision, I said to him, "Don't ask me to organize anything for the meeting." He was an idiot, because I'd have made sure they all had a ball whilst in Scotland. In the end, the meeting more or less fell flat and the wives and partners felt let down. I was to find that out on that last night as I mixed and socialised with them before and after dinner.

    All the IPO Managers and their spouses and partners surrounded both Sheila and myself all night, which meant I ended up with a bit more to drink than I had planned! I wasn't caring as it was going to end up on someone else's bill.

    That night was to be an IPO dinner where all the UK IPO staff would attend and Enji-san and I would be given retirement gifts, which I had not been made aware of. Those gifts were an insult to both Enji-san and myself. Nor had it been mentioned that both Enji-san and I were expected to give speeches at the retirement presentations, Zenger wanted to catch me cold. However, I had been around too long to get caught out by him, and was aware that as this would be my last time at this gathering, a farewell speech would have been mandatory.

    Enji-san stood up and got out all his retirement notes and started to read his speech from them. I had previously written my retirement speech and had learned it off pat. So when it became my turn and everyone looked at me to make a speech, I stood up, I looked at Zenger and said, "Oh, I didn't realize I was to give a speech, no one had informed me of a retirement presentation, but I've never needed an excuse before to mouth off." Which brought a few smiles from around the room.

    I started my speech without a piece of paper in my hand. I firstly went on to praise every single member of my IPO team and heaped the praise on all of them for making our IPO such a success. I gave Bill Boller a quick reference on some of the direction he had given. I never once mentioned Wolfgang Zenger by name, but I let it be known I was concerned for the European IPO future. I then went on about all the special help I received from someone who knew HP and the IPO inside out. I noted that without that person's help, support and guidance, I doubted if I would have been able to go the distance and been so successful. I went on to say I'm sure you are all wondering who this Hewlett Packard person is? Well, it's my wife Sheila. At that point I sat down, and all my UKIPO staff all started to cheer and shout. At that point Carl Snyder HPP Corporate Procurement Director shouted across at me, "Well John, I didn't know all that much about you before, but I certainly know a lot about you now!"

    At my retirement gathering, my IPO team and support departments offer their
    appreciation to me for those wonderful years, doing what we did best, saving
    LOTS of money for HP. (The baby employee came with mother Claire Urquhart.)
    Sheila was not there that day.

    I did get the last laugh on Wolfgang Zenger. After dinner we all adjourned to the bar. Carl Snyder said to the barman, "Put all these folks drinks on my room." After this was done Carl Snyder went off to bed. I just kept adding more and more rounds of drinks to Snyder's room number. Wolfgang Zenger was getting angrier every time I did it. In the end, I lost my head with him and told him exactly what I thought of him as a manager. I emphasized that he was destroying the European IPOs and that I'd give it twelve months and they would be done, finished, destroyed forever. As the night ended and we were making our way back to our car and Zenger his way back to his room, I was still at his throat on what I thought of him. He was visibly shaken, obviously he had never had anyone tell him what they thought of him. I made sure there was no way I was going to miss him and hit the wall!

    Unfortunately, time would eventually prove I was wrong, it took close to 18 months for our IPO to die! Followed by the end of the GIPO not long after. In my last two months in the office, I never spoke once to Wolfgang Zenger! After I had left the company, he was eventually moved out of the IPO world.

    As for the retirement gift that Wolfgang Zenger had presented to Enji-san and myself, this was basically a lump of coal with a clock inserted into it. It carried a brass inscription which had spelling errors. Zenger hadn't even made sure the syntax was correct. I sent my retirement gift back to Bill Boller, he was the manager in charge, it was up to him to do what he wished with it. However, I knew it would not go down well and it would not make Wolfgang Zenger look good!

    One of our creative wags in the department fancied my office stance,
    and presented this caricature to me on my retirement in 1999.

    The end was messy, particularly the last three years when Wolfgang Zenger came on board. And yet those years in Procurement and the IPO were the best work years of my life, thanks to the great team I had and the support I got from my real allies.

    During those last couple of months, I just played around at the IPO. It was pointless really to get too involved in anything, so I just cruised along with lots of support from my team who continued to tell me they were sorry that I was going. The very last day was the saddest. I was the last person in the office that morning, that was a first for me. My team had a surprise presentation ceremony where they gave me various gifts. The best of those still takes pride of place in my study, a caricature painting of me sitting with my feet up on my desk, with 'The Boss' written on the desk and with a caption with the words written below it saying...

    "Simply The Best!"
    Here stood a vibrant and vital factory in the Hewlett-Packard family for some
    decades. HP brought a modern work culture to Scotland, and left hundreds of
    retired employees.

    It was the perfect send off on a sad day, I said my goodbyes to the team. There were a lot of hugs and a few wet eyes in the process. Both Malcolm Newlands and Jim Rooney led me out to my car, having handed over my security pass and credit cards etc. to Personnel, I was otherwise locked in the building. Both Malk and Jim stayed and waved till I eventually disappeared outside the Security Gate and onto the public road heading for home for the last time.

    The day I left Hewlett Packard, was the day Sheila and I moved our house to East Linton. That day was the 31st October 1999. The Millennium and a new life beyond Hewlett Packard was about to start.

    72. The Aftermath...

    And now the end is near, as large demolition machines move in to destroy the
    physical plant where so much human creativity was unleashed.

    As it was to turn out, Wolfgang Zenger was to get his wish, but not the way he had intended. It involved moving of all the UK IPO Order Processing to Germany. At the time of my departure HP had decided to hive (spin) off as a separate company the MCG Instrument part of the company. This would not be part of HP and would be known as Agilent Technologies.

    The IPO, of course, was part of HP and Corporate Procurement. The time had come where a decision had to be made about the IPO, as it was part of HP and not Agilent, so it could no longer be housed within the Agilent building.

    How do you say goodbye to an entire community of workers, engineers,
    researchers, and a tenant group who lived and worked there in the
    Queensferry plant, but whose domain circled the globe, the
    International Procurement Operation?

    Confusion abounded on where the IPO would be housed. The IPO ladies worried about what would happen to their jobs, they didn't want to move anywhere else. They wanted to stay working at Queensferry, as their lives revolved around that location.

    Sadly, the decision was made to find jobs for them in Agilent and move all the IPO business to Germany.

    Bill Boller left the IPOs not all that longer after I had departed, Corporate as usual replaced him with a very much less dynamic leader, who didn't last all that long. It just added further to the mess, at which point another major change was about to take place in HP.

    That change was caused when HP bought Compaq Computers, headquartered in Texas. A major reorganisation then took place regarding both Companies Corporate Procurements.

    Compaq Corporate Procurement had a much better record at negotiating competitive pricing. Many components suppliers made identical parts that HP was purchasing. A major reorganisation ensued with Compaq Corporate Procurement employees commanding the prime positions and say in the organisation.

    Part of that reorganisation involved moving of Wolfgang Zenger out of the IPO to take on a role of Managing the Memory Team. This was a job he had done previously at Apollo. Compaq did not have IPOs in their structure. Not long after Wolfgang was also given early retirement.

    The IPO that remains today in Germany is a shadow of its former self. To reduce costs further, a large part of the Order Processing transaction work was moved to the Czech Republic, a low cost labour rate country.

    Agilent Technologies, also underwent major restructuring. They failed to have the products to meet the changes in technology, so much so that the facility at South Queensferry, which occupied approximately 800,000 square feet, was closed down. All employees were made redundant and the building razed to the ground to make way for housing.

    A very sad end to 40 years of state of the art electronic engineering in Scotland's Silicon Glen.

    73. The Real Inspirational Motivators...

    There are two people who should not go unmentioned, without them the majority of my memoirs would have been involved elsewhere. They were two of the world's greatest and forward thinking Captains of Industry, Bill Hewlett & Dave Packard. Those forward thinking men, who were way ahead of their time, brought a whole new dimension to employee - work place relationships. There was no class divide, through their "HP Way" and with their inspired leadership they allowed and encouraged employees to aspire to attain their best.

    From the first day I started at HP, I knew I had found an unbelievable company to work for. There was no real "We or Them" everyone was on first name terms and treated equally, though some employees were a bit laxed on the latter. After I had addressed and dealt with my itchy feet need, I came back to HP. After that, HP was always going to be my first choice. I never looked back. HP was home, I felt it was part of my family. HP gave me access to new opportunities, that were not readily available in other companies, a chance to take ownership and responsibility to achieve.

    My thanks go to Bill & Dave for that opportunity which allowed me to have such an exciting, challenging, hard-working and rewarding career. I thoroughly enjoyed every minute of my 32 years at Hewlett Packard. I would do it all again.

    Since retirement, I have been asked on many occasions, HP, do I miss it? Seventeen years have since passed from my last day at HP, in 1999. Do I miss it? Yes and No. I don't miss the stress, hassle and the managing of some of HP's more self-centred, egotistical-the world revolves around me, I know better, do as I say types. I do miss, the friends and friendships I made all over the world, many of whom I still stay in touch. These were the real sincere HP'ites, who no matter race, colour, nationality were just like everyone else, they wanted a good life for themselves and their families and wanted the very same for you.

    Closer to home and within HP Queensferry, as well as Ferranti, there were a few who I want to single out, and who helped to motivate and inspire me. One, from my apprenticeship days in Ferranti's, Bob Robertson. Although part of the old class regimental type structure, he instilled in me that you can always do better and master the more difficult tasks, I always regret the fact I never got back to see him and thank him. From my first days in HP, coming in contact with David Simpson and Alan Watts, they convinced me there was a better employee working relationship to be had, in how to treat and manage people. Peter Carmichael showed me how when he became Divisional Manager and Managing Director. Though David and Peter were Division Managers and Managing Directors, both of those leaders always managed to find their way down to the grease monkies on the shop floor. Even if in some cases they wanted a wee homer done, but they did come themselves. Peter would also like to hear what the latest rumour mill was at that time.

    There are two other HP managers that in my mind deserve a special mention, as they put their trust and faith in me, then cut me loose and supported me. Unfortunately, one has passed away, so I can't thank him personally. Jimmy Queen. The other, left HP to start his own Global Procurement Training Programme. Dick Locke. Both of these men played a major role in my development and access to a great world opportunity career.

    Having acknowledged those in HP Management for their help and guidance. I must give a massive acknowledgement and sincere thanks to ALL my South Queensferry IPO team. Many have been mentioned personally in my memoirs, but there are still others who in my mind were the unsung heroes. Others worked in South Queensferry support departments, IT, Traffic and Accounts. I salute all of those who worked diligently in the background to make ALL our IPO team and myself the great success. We were in business to supply a "Knock Your Socks off Service" to all our customer divisions and supply base. I could not have asked for a better or more supportive team.

    There is one other person who basically without her help, none of it would have been achieved. My wife Sheila. She stood by me, while making sure I had the support to go back to College and study to gain further qualifications. Sheila knew HP inside out, and gave me great support and inputs when I came home from work moaning and bitching about some of who I had to deal with. She frequently gave me great advice on how to deal with some situations. She showed MUCH more understanding in putting up with my many, many days/weeks away from home, building up my career. It would not have been possible without Sheila's endless support.

    "Simply the Best!"

    ---John Wastle
    East Linton, Scotland
    May, 2016

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