Tuesday, 20 December 2011

What starts in the phrase "I am a logistician" and ends in silence?

What starts in the phrase "I am a logistician" and ends in silence?

"Sorry a dental technician?"
Pretty much any conversation which includes the phrase "I am a logistician". Occasionally you'll get a polite "oh" or "sorry?" assuming you have mispronounced dental technician. On the upside of this you never have the doctor's curse of trying to diagnose someone's distribution maladies, but you are left trying to fill the void about what you do.

So what do we do?  (pause) erm...... (longer pause) well nothing really. Hauliers haul, truckers truck, warehouse managers warehouse, clearance agents clear but logisticians are rarely referred to as logisticking.... (predictive text wants me to write logistic king which is a title many of us try to attain). In essence logisticians are lazy, know it all, interferers ...... We don't do anything but we know what should be done and have no qualms in shaking off our idleness to harangue other people to do it in a timely cost effective and efficient manner. Any tongue lashed shipping clerk will tell you a dozing logistician is moments away from manic exertion if a transshipment is botched, any client will tell you a good logistician equals a good nights sleep.

HF radio fitting we love it!!!
So what are we? In Darwinian terms -(who knows if he recanted on his death bed) - we are evolved project managers. We evolved out of a need to understand the worlds of the trucker, shipping line or warehouse in fact that is where many of us came from and erupted into the world of the consignee and consingor to make sense of it all. We are the make it happen make sense of it all people, the go to guys and girls.
Nowhere is this more true than aid work. In 13 years I have fitted HF radios, built tented cities, dug communication cable lines, fixed IT, managed vaccination campaigns, run medical evacuation teams, cleared mountainous rubble, mapped austere snow bound mountain passes and occasionally done warehousing and distribution. The Logistician is aid's catch all term for the guy who just seems to be able to do stuff. If your sick call a doctor, arrested call a lawyer for most other things an aid logistician will do. ;-)
Gunung Sitoli, Indonesia, Post Tsunami Earthquake Relief

1 comment:

  1. Nice one Al. I can so relate to this - I have resorted to using the modern supermarket's global sourcing model.. that most people can easily relate to - to try and explain what it is that people like us do!