For those of you old enough to remember that wonderful sitcom WKRP, I am sure that these words make you chuckle. 

The premise of this  Thanksgiving episode is based on the radio station giving away turkeys as part of a Holiday promotion.  The station owner took charge of planning the entire promotion, getting the live turkeys, arranging for the give away location, arranging for a live broadcast, scheduling the helicopter. . . .  Helicopter?

Yes, it seems that Mr. Carlton privately and secretly arranged for everything and planned for a spectacular release of the noble bird, and he arranged everything based on the base case scenario.  Unfortunately there were two tiny issues that were overlooked. 

First, there were no contingency plans in the event anything went wrong. 

Second, Mr. Carlton didn’t fully research the product he was delivering.  it seems that the Turkeys do not fly.

OK, I know wild turkey’s do fly a bit, but the kind that are bred for our Thanksgiving dinner don’t, even when dropped from a hovering helicopter.  

Besides an extremely funny half hour, the show helped point out two extremely important items to take into consideration when managing your supply chain. 

A primary consideration in moving product is to understand it.  If it’s turkeys, you need to know if they can fly, how the temperature affects the birds, do they need water or food, how are they packaged and does the packaging protect them?  If it’s lettuce, you need to know the effects of temperature on the product, how it’s packaged, is there an expiration date, and other items.  If it’s a wind turbine blade, you need to know the effects of temperature, the size of the product, the sensitivity to vibration, etc.  The product factors need to be taken into consideration in the movement and delivery of the product to assure it gets to the consumer in optimum condition.  Without this knowledge you are opening yourself up for damage, claims, delays, monetary losses and other equally or more nasty problems.

Additionally you need to have a back up plan in case something goes wrong.   

While the majority of the time there are no problems, a program should be set up to provide directions or guidance in case something does go wrong.   In Mr. Carlton’s case, his spur of the moment plan was to land the copter and release the birds to the waiting crowd.  Unfortunately the birds were a bit agitated what with the noise, the people waiting to grab them once they were handed out the door, not to mention seeing their cousins tossed out of the open door and instead of  quietly going to their new homes, they began pecking at the crowd and making a break for freedom. 

A good contingency plan is worth it’s weight in gold in the event something bad happens, and help you sleep at night even better than a big turkey dinner.

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