Wednesday, 21 November 2012

The Logistics of Sweetcorn and Marmalade

It feels like a little while since I have blogged about anything logistical.  It has been a busy time at TLP.  We have been spending a lot of time collaborating......we like collaborating.  I have taken an associate director position with PSI Group who do life support management for organisations that work in remote, austere and hostile environments.  They are looking to deploy life support facilities to disaster zones to help smaller specialist agencies meet their duty of care to staff and bring their specialist knowledge to bare on the challenges of disaster response.  We have also started to expand some of our free resources zone - the most exciting development here being a collaboration with DHL Global Forwarding to create a shipping route finder resource.

Anyway back to The Logistics of Sweetcorn and Marmalade.  At first sight there may not be an apparent link between sweetcorn and marmalade let alone between these food groups and logistics.  This is another sorry tale of logistics failures that occur in the Al of The Logistics Project household that I would never let happen at work.  I am sure your mind is racing about how sweetcorn and marmalade can end in logistics tragedy.  Sure it would be easy for them to end in a culinary tragedy.....although I am currently thinking up curried marmalade and sweetcorn recipes as I type.

This tragedy revolves around a failure to stock take.  Last week I was taking some time to work from home to avoid the biscuit temptation of the office.  Having successfully avoided the biscuits by lunch time I was hungry, I trawled our kitchen cupboards in search of healthy food only to find them awash with cans of sweetcorn and jars of marmalade.

"Curious" I thought, but figure that Mrs Al had a plan..... I was wrong for as she returned home and dropped down the bags from a shopping trip I spied yet another jar of marmalade.   I have to admit I started to giggle....it was the logistics shock you must understand.  When Mrs L enquired as to what I was laughing about I mentioned the steadily growing marmalade and sweetcorn stock.

Would had occurred was a consistent failure to stock check prior to placing a demand.  Normally we would get through a lot of these food stuffs but young children can change their tastes at a whim and Marmalade had been substituted for porridge on the household breakfast menu.  Mrs L was drawing up her replenishment list from her perception of consumption not from the raw data of a stock check.  This is a surprisingly common habit in many logistics systems.  For us it means that we will be eating a lot of sweetcorn and marmalade.... recipe suggestions are welcome..... but when you translate this to perishable or lifed commodities such as essential meds and drugs it can mean that the excess stock you build up can end up sat on the shelf - a drain on your financial resources and if they are not used a huge waste of medication.

So if you do not want to metaphorically end up eating marmalade and sweetcorn fritters you need to get a grip of your stock records.

Happy logisticking!!

www.thelogisticsproject.org                                                                                                                     www.psigroup.org

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