The following events were reported in "To The Rescue (Again)," Think, April 1972, pp. 24-25.
Forty-eight hours after a fire destroys its IBM System/360 Model 20, another one is up and running at Citizens Bank of Michigan City, Ind. In the process, IBM's South Bend branch office learns a lot about airline schedules, and the customer learns a lot about IBM's brand of unparalleled service.
This fire in Michigan City, Ind., destroyed a System/360 Model 20 housed in an annex by Citizens Bank.
The fire starts on a Wednesday. Within hours the IBM Data Processing Division branch office is searching for a new system. Administrative operations manager Bill Hamman coordinates the shipment of components, aided by Bob Shearer, an administrative accounts specialist, and Denny Peet, senior orders and movements specialist.
Mute evidence of the fire's destruction: almost unrecognizable tape drives. The Model 20 CPU was also destroyed.
The three assemble components from seven IBM plants -- a central processing unit (CPU) from Boca Raton, Fla.; cables from Poughkeepsie, N.Y.; a reader/punch from Rochester, Minn.; tapes from Boulder, Colo.; a printer from Raleigh, N.C.; a magnetic ink character reader from Endicott, N.Y.; and keypunches from Toronto.
"Finding the components seemed the big problem until we tried to get them all to Chicago by Thursday," Hamman recalls. "Then we really had a problem." For example, there is only one flight a day from Boca Raton. That difficulty is solved by trucking the CPU to Miami and, jetting it from there to Chicago. "But then we discovered," says Hamman, "that commercial flights might not get other components to Chicago as quickly as necessary."
Air freight is the answer, and soon all of the necessary components begin arriving at O'Hare International Airport. On Friday a moving van trucks the gear to Michigan City, two hours away. Waiting at the temporary site is a team of IBM customer engineers headed by field manager Jim Horne. Just four hours after the Model 20 arrives, the CEs complete testing and turn the equipment over to the customer.
In response to an emergency call for system components, a System/360 Model 20 CPU arrives at O'Hare. Seven plants contribute parts to the new computer.
Says Russell McWhorter, president of Citizens Bank: "I was just overwhelmed by the terrific response we got from IBM."