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Author Topic: 'gallows engineering' expression?  (Read 1648 times)

bit

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'gallows engineering' expression?
« on: December 21, 2013, 01:42:51 PM »
'gallows engineering' is the nearest I can get to what I can't remember.
There is an expression which encapsulates the phenomenon whereby companies use cheaper engineering designs or procedures in critical applications...
...and they only improve or correct substandard designs after someone dies.
It's something more like 'gallows engineering' or something, but not that.
'coffin engineering' doesn't quite sound like it either.
'necrotic engineering'? Nope, that isn't it.
'necro-engineering'. Catchy, but still not right, or is it?
Does anyone know the expression I'm trying to hint at, please?
« Last Edit: December 21, 2013, 01:55:15 PM by bit »

superboyac

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Re: 'gallows engineering' expression?
« Reply #1 on: December 21, 2013, 02:27:10 PM »
lol never heard of that.

MilesAhead

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Re: 'gallows engineering' expression?
« Reply #2 on: December 21, 2013, 02:56:30 PM »
I don't recall a technical term for it.  But I knew an engineer expert in this field.  He worked for Burnt Cadaver Consulting Incorporated.  I believe they also had some banking interests at one time.

TaoPhoenix

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Re: 'gallows engineering' expression?
« Reply #3 on: December 21, 2013, 05:21:27 PM »

"Penny Wise Pound Foolish" is a term that's very close to this. In other words, per your example, they want to save 12 cents per unit on a run of 20 million units, but then because the part was made cheaply, a customer dies etc.

This kind of discussion floats around business classes all the time, though I don't recall hearing about a fancy term like your suggested "gallows engineering". From outside the company when they do that, such as a friend of the dead customer, the phrase "cheap ass bastards" also comes pretty close.


MilesAhead

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Re: 'gallows engineering' expression?
« Reply #4 on: December 21, 2013, 05:31:26 PM »
One of the best known examples was the Ford Pinto.  The trunk had no "floor" because it just used the top of the gas tank as the bottom of the truck.  Rear end collisions tended to rip the gas tank open, causing fatal fires.  I don't know the savings per automobile accrued by skimping on the sheet metal.  But I never owned one!

bit

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Re: 'gallows engineering' expression?
« Reply #5 on: December 22, 2013, 12:10:12 PM »
There's a 'dynamic' factor involved, in that improvements are not made to a given design until after X-number of people die from the negligently cheaper design first.
There've been any number of movie remarks addressing this, as in, "Why did/does someone have to die first, before they finally fix (that rotten design)?"
The expression is supposed to encapsulate this, and the closest I can come to recalling it is the one I suggested; necro-engineering.
But I'm not sure if that's it or not.

MilesAhead

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Re: 'gallows engineering' expression?
« Reply #6 on: December 22, 2013, 03:54:40 PM »
Quote
There's a 'dynamic' factor involved, in that improvements are not made to a given design until after X-number of people die from the negligently cheaper design first.

That's exactly what happened with the Pinto

Business being a profession practiced cold, I think they just call it cost/benefit analysis.

Innuendo

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Re: 'gallows engineering' expression?
« Reply #7 on: December 23, 2013, 07:27:48 AM »
Cost/Benefit analysis, as a term, has been getting some bad press and the business world has moved on to fancier terms that are less likely to stir up emotions in their vict...er....customers.

Everything that's been discussed in this thread here falls under the umbrella of "Risk Management". What bit is talking about now has a new fancy term under this umbrella and the terminology used is "Risk Appetite".

Definition from Wikipedia:

"The level of risk that an organization is prepared to accept, before action is deemed necessary to reduce it. It represents a balance between the potential benefits of innovation and the threats that change inevitably brings."

How much of an appetite organization has dictates how much risk they are willing to accept.

You can read more here:

https://en.wikipedia...g/wiki/Risk_appetite


Discussing 'appetites' with stockholders is much more conducive to business than discussing 'gallows'. :)

MilesAhead

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Re: 'gallows engineering' expression?
« Reply #8 on: December 23, 2013, 09:33:36 AM »
Hmm, it is strange how people get into jargon.  Some business theorist must've come up with the appetite angle after seeing Ford eat crow on the Pinto settlements.  Speakin' of which, I think I could risk some breakfast soon.  :)