French aircraft bids
A client, who manufactures a very precise aircraft part for use in jet engines and auxiliary power units for aircraft, regularly bid on supplying replacement parts to the French aircraft industry. This company, which had a long track records of successful bids, lost three bids in a row to a new French company.
The president, who was venting his frustration at a general strategy meeting of key suppliers, asked what could be going wrong. His complaint looked suspiciously familiar, so we asked how bids were sent to France. The first two went sent via modem and the third via satellite. We asked if they were encrypted, and were assured that all of their transmissions were encrypted. We asked if the company had supplied the public key to the French Government. We were told absolutely not!
Of course it had been supplied by their French subsidiary: French Law requires anyone sending encrypted information to provide the Government a key to the encryption. It is an open secret that the French Government has one of the most active and successful industrial intelligence communities in the world. The industrial intelligence is used ti support to French Industry.
For the next bid we had the client send a bid both by telephone and a day later by satellite. The bids were similar but different, showing the evolution of the thought process of the bid. The final bid was to be sent via courier, and would contain the final bid numbers. This final bid was mentioned in both the telephone and satellite transmissions.
The courier was given a bid locked in a brief case that had a built in counter, and sent to France. He arrived at his hotel, locked the brief case in his hotel room, and enjoyed a two hour meal and a small glass of wine. When he returned to his room, the brief case had been opened twice! He called back to the home office using a code he had been given in advance.
The next day the courier brought the CD Rom that was in a case strapped to his chest to the office of the manufacturer, and the final bid was printed up and delivered by hand.
One week later our client was awarded the bid. The competitor laughed and looked our client straight in the face and said, “Well done: You’ll get the hang of this eventually.”
Our client was shocked. Finally after some mumbling to himself, he smiled and said “thank you” to us.