Tuesday, 4 June 2013

I'm bringing 6C back....

Well I have been gone for a while and yet here I am back tapping away on a battered but faithful laptop.  Now normally I would title most posts as "The Logistics of" and try and make some kind logistical point thinly veiled by the cuteness of my own children.  Long time followers will hopefully remember the joys of baby feeding or the challenges of tooth brushing for 2 year olds.

Today I start with a a play on Justin Timberlake's song title.  It is nigh on impossible to bring sexy back
You can't disguise a nose pick
as a logistician- although I have claimed that logistics is the rock n roll of the aid world..... I can't actually recall what I meant by that when I said it.  I can however bring 6C back, well at least I can recall 6C on a Sri Lankan airlines flight from Colombo to Delhi. If I was to literally bring 6C back it would constitute some kind of theft and probably require customs paperwork that I hadn't done.

So why am I writing about seat? Well it all comes from a change of professional direction.  You will see from the links across the top of this blog that I am the director of The Logistics Project.  Earlier this year I took the decision to work from the inside in trying to promote not only good logistics practice but something I heard described by the Attorney General of Massachusetts as civic capitalism.  I have taken up a post as the Head of Enterprise Operations for Motivation.....oh we have a linked in page too for you social media savvies.  Motivation are all about promoting quality of life for those whose circumstances require them to use a wheelchair.  Their focus is predominantly on the developing world.  Now whilst I am all for using commercial know-how to reach humanitarian and development objectives I did have to have a little read up on wheelchair provision.

So my bedtime reading for a few weeks has been the WHO Guidelines - and I can't suggest they are a John Grisham or Stephen King novel. They will swivel your opinion on providing wheelchairs in less resourced settings.  It turns out that the Monty Python sketch about the dangers of comfy chairs and cushions does have a reality when it comes to the prescribing and fitting of wheelchairs.

HOLD ON AL........ I thought you were brining 6C back.... in fact how does 6C tie into this whole thing.... and should we take a blog seriously that combines WHO guidelines and the work of Monty Python.

Trust me I am a logistician!

I am brining 6C back because it will allow me to explain a big old WHO guideline in one simple picture. Aircraft seats are made to fit the widest number of shapes and sizes possible and consequently only fit a few perfectly.  I was over the moon that Sri Lankan airways upgraded "for the benefit of other passengers" as my 6ft 4in frame was likely to mean some poor individual got pinned to the bulkhead.  I loved the comfort of their business class seat and I have to say you can do a lot worse than fly Sri Lankan.  What I realised though is that even in the lap of luxury I was a little uncomfortable; not seriously, my knees weren't jammed into the seat in front, I did not have to consciously contract to fit the headphone cable in the socket and I could recline to a point where sleep was a possibility.  It started  with a little shift from side to side, the a wriggle to shuffle back, a sneaky lift of the left buttock and then the right to get the blood flowing back to the skin.  My long legs hung over the edge of the seat cantilevering my lower back away from the generous lumber support.  Don't get me wrong these seats were extremely comfortable but to sit still in them for 4 hours was a significant challenge.  I started to get the physical realization of what our work is about, too often in the aid world we do something rather than nothing but in the case of wheelchairs, something rather than nothing can kill you.  Pressure sores and urinary tract infections kill and incorrect seating is a prime cause, an inappropriate cushion can be the terro that Monty Python joked at.  My four hours in 6C showed me that a wheelchair users who may not have the sensation to realize that their butt has gone numb or doesn't have the upper body strength to relocate themself properly needs a seat that is bespoke to them. Fitted neatly, cushioned appropriately and supported efficiently; and that is what we at Motivation do, we design and produce chairs that can be bespoke to each individual and we train people to do that - not in a flash London clinic but in the developing world and less resourced settings.

So when you are looking to mainstream mobility don't forget:

I'm bringing 6C back
That chair has shown me how  to act
We will needd to support your back
Seated correctly with out no slack.
Take em' to the bridge 

 (this does not constitute clinical advice!!!)

Tuesday, 22 January 2013

The Logistics of Angry Birds


During my time away I have to confess to having played a little too much Angry Birds....yes Angry Birds is the route of only the best procrastinators; although in my defence I have been playing it whilst sat outside Joel's room waiting for him to finally drop off to sleep.  As always I can see the logistics in almost everything.

Available for iPhone/iPad
or Android 
You see I was a little bit cheap in my Angry Birds habit and I only dowloaded the free version of Star Wars.  Yup....cheapo..... now that can easily (ahem reasonably easily) be completed in a couple of nights of listening to Joel sing to himself before dropping off to sleep.  I know I am a big ruffty tuffty male but that is the cutest thing to hear.

Anyway in my cheapness I went back to the beginning of the free levels and changed my aim.  I was looking not only to progress to the next level but to gain 3 stars in doing so.  Yes I was aiming for elite level procrastination!  Now it would be easy to turn this into an ops blog about "quality and continuous improvement" and that would be good but I am in a problem solving mode of thought.  I was once described as "a hatchet man with velvet gloves".....I think it was a compliment.  The idea being that I could take operations with serious operating issues and conduct rapid change management and restructuring without bruising the people involved....or at least that's what I hope was meant.

Enough about people's pet names for me, my point was problem solving.  You may remember a post about ROT.  We invited you to tell your Boss that you're work is ROT and survive. In that blog we suggested that in the majority of logistics conundrum you are playing with only three variables Resource, Objective and Time..... Go back and revise if you don't recall...teacher says so. ;-)  I am still on course for a link to the logistics of Angry Birds.

It took me a lot more time to get 3 stars at all the levels I had previously cleared easily.  What I found was that my initial angle of attack to clear the level was wrong for the objective of getting 3 stars.  As any archer will tell you, you rarely aim for the bulls eye to get top score in competition.  You take into account wind, distance and .....erm ...err other stuff.  In a similar you may have to consider your angle of attack to solve any given problem, you can't just trot out the ROT principle and expect it to fall into place.  You may have to consider whether your Little Han Solo bird with laser should be aiming at the storm trooper pig directly or aiming at the seemingly innocuous large round stone to get the job done.

Anyway when all is said and done this blog has given you a great excuse to play Angry Bords in the office and if the boss catches you leap up exclaiming ROT before explaining how you were considering other angles of attack on your particular logistics conundrum.

Happy Logisticking for 2013!