Friday, 4 March 2016

In the firing line for buying bendy rifles?

If this were the 1st April I would have thought what follows was an April Fool, but since it is early March we will have to take reports that the Paris police have bought guns which don't shoot straight at face value.

We are led to believe the German army had concerns about Heckler & Koch G36 assault rifles and their unreliable aim in temperatures over 23C - supposedly 50cm off target at a range of 200m when the temperature is 30C!  As a result, the German army has embarked upon a replacement plan over the next three years.

However, the French appear to have been unaware of, or ignored, the German concerns and have just bought 204 of the same rifles as a part of a €17m investment. To make matters worse, it is also said that the French have insufficient shooting ranges where the rifles can be used.

So, some obvious questions:

  1. Were the rifles purchased by brand or performance specification? A performance specification may provide the French with some reassurance?
  2. Is a high degree of accuracy actually required by the French? If not, well perhaps the lack of accuracy isn't an issue unless you're an innocent bystander of course.
  3. Were the rifles bought without considering the potential range of temperatures in which a high-degree of accuracy would be required? It certainly looks as though a warm day in Paris may cause problems and heaven only knows what the consequences of the searing temperatures of Syria would be.
  4. Did the French reduce their exposure to risk by discussing their needs with other users to learn from their experience? If they were aware of the German concerns perhaps they were able to negotiate a particularly good deal to offset the lack of function.
  5. Have the French reduced their risk of a product not fit for purpose by testing a representative sample in the full range of possible scenarios of usage? Maybe the test will provide an opportunity to escape from the deal.
  6. Did the French consider the additional requirements of practice ranges when committing the purchase? Sometimes buyers forget the additional costs incurred in the pursuit of lowest price.
Seems a pity that what appears to have been a rushed procurement with good intentions may be a case of flawed procurement - a faux pas.

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