Posts Tagged Transportation

Advances in Supply Chain? Thank a Veteran

There’s an old saying that an Army travels on it’s stomach.  The importance of supplies in keeping an army (or navy or

Members of WWII's the Red Ball Express

air force, or marine) unit moving has been a primary focus since Hannibal crossed the Alps.  Great military leaders understood the importance of getting supplies to the troops and made sure it happened.

The use of railroads, convoys,  air cargo planes, and packaging are a result of military need, or were improved because of military need.

Today’s posting is not about risk in supply chain, it’s about honoring the men and women of the military who have served, both on the field of battle and in support roles. 

To those brave men and women who have protected this country. . .

Thank You!

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DOT Bans Texting While Driving

On January 26th U.S. Transportation Secretary Ray LaHood announced that effective immediately commercial truckers and bus drivers are prohibited from sending texts while operating a vehicle.   This stand comes after a number of studies have identified texting and cell phone usage while operating a vehicle has contributed to many accidents and deaths. 

The decision is based on an existing Federal Regulation that focuses on driver distraction.  A $2750 fine. 

There has been an increased focus on distracted driving from both the commercial as well as civilian population.  Oprah has highlighted it on her talk show, a number of states have banned the use of cell phones and texting while driving and a significant PR push has been put into place to curb this issue.

If your organization owns a fleet, be sure your drivers are complying with the regulations.  Being caught has greater ramifications than just the fine.  It could affect your insurance premiums, on time delivery, operating authority, and reputation.

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As God is my witness, I thought turkeys could fly

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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