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Logistics- Schlemistics: Mother Nature is Going to Call the Shots

I’m in a a marketing management class right now and we’re talking about logistics – the planning, the distribution and aligning the marketing and operations plans in international business.

I read an article about how passengers and airlines are frustrated with the decision making on travel constraints because of the Iceland Volcano and the ash that is in the airspace. As of today, it was speculated that 50% of the airspace over Europe might be re-opened..

My background:

I’ve worked in the grocery industry, the manufacturing industry, the health care industry and I’ve owned a few service related small businesses over the last twenty years.

In the last 10 years, I’ve worked in the airline industry, first in their aftermarket supply chain, then in their communications department for technical support working product recalls, and then finally in the largest airplane systems repair station in the world. logistics app

My job experience:

I’ve been a lean or six sigma consultant/mentor for the last 10 or so years, getting my training in the prior decade in the health care, grocery and manufacturing sectors. I’ve also done short and long term forecasting, sales, customer services, purchasing, HR, Legal, Finance. So my point is, I’m a girl that’s been around the block a time or two, not that it means anything, I just have a global view of things.

My point:

The Volcanic Ash from the Iceland Volcano is wreaking havoc with air travel around the world. Over 700,000 people are stranded, and although several airline carriers balked and some even carried out their own tests, with a 50% failure rate, a possibility of crashing is too high for air travel to be allowed to resume.

One of the principles of Lean or Six Sigma is using local suppliers, so that you can network, partner and grow the community.

Many of the US companies have chosen to outsource their work to foreign countries, presumably to make bigger profits for the “investors” and Wall Street and their own generous bonuses. Others to increase the GDP and wealth of the world. Whatever the reason, we have become more interdependent as a world.

When a tragedy such as this occurs, how do the nations coordinate so that vendors and customers can get their wares, and people can get where they need to go? When earthquakes or floods need to move rescue people in, we saw in Haiti where it required paperwork to be signed before the US could move in and give aid. Is that the protocol? Paperwork before humanity?

Buy Local is great when the problem is elsewhere, but what if no one comes to help when it’s you?

I bet proponents of buying local are having a field day today, watching industry suffer. I don’t think Osama Bin Laden or Al Quaida could ever have had as much of an ill effect on the world and the global economy as Mother Nature is doing right now.

Have we pissed her off? I don’t know. Maybe God actually is Mother Nature? Wouldn’t that be ironic?
All I know is when the momma aint happy, aint nobody happy.

My experience at Chicago, O’Hare Airport

A few years back, I was headed back to Bradley Airport in Hartford, CT from Chicago O’Hare. All flights had been delayed due to tornadoes, heavy wind gusts and very strong lightning strikes.

I was standing outside with a bunch of people getting soaked from the rainy wind gusts, smoking with the rest of the idiots. They were complaining about the inconvenience of having to wait. Some were saying once you got up over the clouds it wouldn’t be bad, which was a true statement, but there were confirmed tornado touchdowns all around us and getting above the clouds seemed way too risky too me.

It occurred to me then as it does now, how fragile our world is and that any moment, of any day, everything that we know, and have known for our entire lives can change. That is why it is so important to take each new day as it comes, and live it to the fullest. Life is a journey, not a Destination. (Ralph Waldo Emerson)