|I defy you not to go and search for cake now.|
This week it has been the logistics of cake. Joel is now 2 and a half and is fully aware what he wants. A large proportion of the time that is cake!! But it could equally be Lion (his favourite cuddly toy) or at 3am the other morning a series of mumbled requests fruit, play park, daddy.
This got me to thinking about how often in supply systems we (that us the collective logistician) reply to mumbled demands. I have spent a great deal of time working in disaster relief and development and I don’t think anyone would be surprised by the number of mumbled demands we get; but my time working with commodities and in commercial freight forwarding shows that it is a perennial problem for many logistics systems.
So what do I mean by mumbled demands? I guess they fall into several categories but essentially they are unclear requests or un auditable demands on the stock.
A classic mumbled demand from running medical programs in Kashmir, Darfur and Haiti is
“We need 20 boxes of latex gloves”
It usually comes at the end of the day or perhaps as you settle down for a beer of an evening and it has no detail about sterile or non sterile, powdered or powder free or even whether the recipients have freakishly large or small hands. (I long to receive a demand gloves, sterile, powdered......freakishly large). Working for a commercial freight forwarder has similar challenges, on more than one occasion a client has asked for 4 of one stock item meaning 4 cases of it.
LOGISTICIANS OF THE WORLD DON’T STAND FOR IT!!!!
|A demand template can be simple|
check list to ensure you have all
the relevant details.
Your demand system can be as simple or as complex as you wish or are able to make it. RDD (required delivery date) is a useful category and also noting who made the demand. I like to keep a list of authorised demanders (Joel is not on the authorised demanding list for cake) as a loss reduction tool another option is to limit who can receive and authorise a demand for fulfillment.
The upshot of this is that it is OK to tell your programme staff that they are mumbling their demands like a half asleep 2 and a half your old if you have sufficiently thought out your system to give them a crystal clear voice in the demands process.