The data is out there; the episode of the nibbled chainsaw

So; this is the sorry sight that greeted me as I deployed the tools for some light hedge trimming this morning. For those unversed in garden machinery lore and wizardry, what you see here is the result of a rodent nibbling on the carburettor primer pump of a chainsaw. Since integrity of this small plastic component is vital for it's correct operation - Mr Rat has quite effectively, and probably most efficiently, sabotaged my weekend's "hedge trimming"; however, he's not that smart as we can narrow down the suspects - this guy is clearly into solvent abuse.

How to find a replacement part? Of course "to the Internet" and surely the trusty search engines will pop up a suitable supplier. So I did learn there is a forum for "International Chainsaw Collectors", whether you are expected to have chainsaws from two or more countries to join in is unclear, but there I did find the user manual (scanned by some kind soul) although sadly not a parts list. Search did find several plausible components that "looked similar" but at no point could I verify that the offered parts would do the job. The manufacturers website grudgingly started to appear in the lower ranking of the searches and with sinking heart I thought I might as well try the manufacturers website...

The reason for my (soon to be justified) gloom was that this has been a recurring pattern; it's been a bad year for domestic appliances in the McAuley household (probably due to climate change) but from memory so far: boiler, cooker, fridge, washing machine, lawnmower, laptop, vivarium thermostat, camera, and now chainsaw - each time I have gone to find information about a product at the manufacturer's website I have found nothing - lots of their new products, often animated with the latest and greatest web technology, but if it is not on sale anymore, it's pretty much invisible.

I exited the digital and went old-school - trip to the local garden centre and associated lawnmower maintenance facility. A brief check in their stores turned up about 5 close candidates but not an exact match, so, much to my amazement, with oil under fingers and pencil behind ear, lawnmower-repair-man jumps on his rather grimy PC and pulls up a vector graphic exploded view schematic of carburettor assembly for the chainsaw in question, zooms in, clicks on the part, clicks on "add to shopping basket" and reports to me that I can collect Tuesday. Beautiful manufacturer supplied data integrated into a purchasing system.

I returned home and having clocked the name of the supplier went to their website; why had they not shown up on the search engines? Was it the deep web? No - in large friendly letters it says "trade only" and "login required". So it's a supply chain conspiracy; a classic closed v. open argument to protect existing business relationships.

So the hedge is still 9ft tall but at least I've got another supply chain anecdote.

Written on October 15, 2011