Wednesday, 31 October 2012

The Logistics of Keshie's Shape Sorter and the Single Fuel Concept

I have been away...... I know.  I am sorry I left you hanging I have tried to continue in the Twittersphere as things got busy here and we have made a few posts on the more official blog of TLP.... I have a serious side.  We have projects going in Haiti and Somalia that I have got myself involved in alongside our venture with PSI Group which should liberate logisticians from the woes of building the disaster response base camp ever again.  So I got busy and I apologise.

As regular readers will know I have often feature Joel my oldest son as the subject of many of my blog posts; such as The Logistics of Joel's Christmas Toys or The Logistics of Toothbrushing with 2 year Olds.  Today my focus shifts to the very precious Keshie, Joel's little sister.  She is now 15 months old and well a dad likes to reminisce....I know she's only 15 months old but she has now learned the word no so the very cute DA...DDY is now a more well articulated No Daddy.  She is quite the young lady already, but in my reminisces I was thinking of her sat in the middle of our living room floor with a shape sorter.

Now you are wondering how this links to the single fuel concept aren't you?  Keshie, is extremely bright and I think much like her brother has some logistician tendencies that I am keen to cultivate.  If you are not familiar with Women in Logistics then here is your chance.  Keshie will be up there leading the charge.  What leads me to this proud father's boast?  As she sat with the shape sorter it wasn't long before she had matched the blue star with the star shaped hole ... it was a mile stone - father and daughter elated ...... then the yellow pentagon banged and ground against the star shaped hole and the moment was gone.  A series of other shapes were tried in that hole but none fitted, only the blue star.  Eventually over the course of a few days she worked out the shapes/holes problem.

I know I am still not connecting to the single fuel concept but I am getting there.   It was at this moment that her logistics genius shone through.  She looked at me with a little pain and confusion in her eyes that I felt said.....

"Daddy - I can see that this is a useful training tool in shape sorting but surely a shape sorter with a greater commonality of parts would mean there was a greater chance of fitting the right shape in the right hole.  Clearly the size of inventory is limiting the efficiency in progressing small coloured blocks from the outside of the box to the inside of the box"

I could be reading too much into that split second gaze but I knew then she would understand the single fuel concept.  This is the concept that if you have one fuel across your vehicle (and sometimes aircraft fleet) you only need stock one type of fuel, truck one type of fuel and never worry about cross contamination.

This extends well beyond just fuel.  Vehicles themselves for instance are a great place to draw down the size and complexity of your inventory, if you can buy a fleet with 70+% commonality of spares you can massively reduce your stockholding (and consequently money tied up in that stockholding).  It is easy when so often we loggies get cast as the overall wearing store men to think that stores are a good

"Repeat after me, we are logisticians not store men"

thing but the modern loggie has to think lean.  If you have a forward thinking team who are looking to involve you in designing projects then think about ways to encourage a lesser inventory.  For example if you are building shelters can they be designed to have as few parts and materials as possible.    If all else fails take a child's shape sorter into the meeting and show them what every baby knows drawing down you inventory is a good thing!

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