At the company where I work, we have numerous CNC milling machines. I know very little, but I’ve been told by numerous people that we need very specific Dynex brand USB-floppy drives to run programs on them. Unfortunately, Dynex has discontinued them, and the replacements somebody bought are junk and die after about 2-3 uses. Our options are to A) buy dozens, if not hundreds, of brands and models in an attempt to figure out what works; B) buy every Dynex drive off ebay no matter the cost; C) spend $350 per machine (there are dozens) to make them network capable. There was no good option.

Or so I thought. I was attempting to see what brand of floppy drive the CNC manufacturer made when I found some interesting info: We have two kinds of CNC machines. One kind has a built-in floppy drive, and those are working great. The other has a USB port. For flash drives. I asked someone why flash drives didn’t work (hence why we NEEDED the floppy drives), and I was told “They work, but the programs are already on the floppies, so we didn’t want to have to make a copy.”

In the past two months we have spent over $600 on floppy disks. In that same amount of time, for a FRACTION of the cost, we could have put all of the programs on flash drives, given two to each employee, and use the floppy drive built into one of the engineers’ computers to make floppies as needed.

Moral of the story: Anytime someone says they “need something to do their job,” ask, “Why?” Odds are they will say “That’s what I have been using,” and not “It is the best solution.”