Friday, July 04, 2008

Modcomp again: Shipping in Place

One of the things that might have caused accounting trouble for Modcomp was its practice of "shipping in place." Occasionally they would ask us if we needed to receive a computer on schedule. If we didn't need it yet, because all our projects were behind schedule, they might offer to "ship it in place." This mysterious phrase means that they assured us the computer was all ready, and they billed us for it, but they did not ship it. This practice might have allowed them to accrue revenue for that computer. I do not remember what we did with these bills. We might have ignored them until we really wanted the computer, or (I hope we never did this) we might have passed the bill on to our actual customer for payment.

The thing is ... you always wondered whether there really was a computer, all fixed up and ready to ship, in some bay at Modcomp, with our company name on it.


Martin Langeland said...

Hmm... what was the point from your side? the liability isn't deferred if they bill you for something that hasn't shipped. Is it just not having to deal with it while you chase after the goals of the tardy projects?
--ml said...

When we were behind schedule, we might have no place to put another computer. These things were pretty large, typically three racks of hardware. Nor would we have time to unpack, to make sure it worked.
- PB

Martin Langeland said...

Ah yes.
So you might enjoy this tale of the largest computer west of the Mississippi (in 1950) and my friend Del who "programmed" it by rewiring it. said...

Martin, I'm delighted to find your blog, at: .Good anecdotes.
- PB