Tales from the Trenches: Unrealistic Expectations

LWL038 Screaming Man

We’re firefighters, we’re miracle workers.

LWL038 Firefighter Miracle Worker

When the plant is about to shut down due to missing components, they look to the logistics department to arrange the delivery on-time.

When the plant is running behind on production and can’t keep pace with customer demand, they look to the logistics department to arrange the delivery on-time.

But there comes a time when the demands put on us from the manufacturing teams, procurement departments and upper management are simply unrealistic to achieve without spending over $100,000 for a trans-Pacific dedicated air charter.

We worked hard to develop educational material in order to inform our teams as to what is and is not possible in the world of logistics, aviation and physics!

My team was recently asked to move 2 pallets of hazardous cargo (Class 9, UN3268) from our plant in southern Indiana to China OVERNIGHT!

Even if this had been non-hazardous cargo, it would have been difficult due to the flight time and the time zone differences.

But, the fact that it was hazardous material made it impossible.

We had to (again) educate management about the hazmat pre-checks that need to occur 24 hours prior to the flight departing. This is the concept known as “latest acceptance time” (L.A.T.). That alone would take the one-day that they needed for delivery to our customer.

That L.A.T. restriction came into play even before we were able to check for space availability on the next direct flight from Chicago to China.

This one we were truly not able to solve, but, in the end, management understood that the fault was not with logistics, but with other processes that needed to happen earlier.

Be sure that you have done your best to educate your internal teams about what is possible and what is not possible BEFORE an emergency occurs. Given this information in advance, perhaps they will ensure that upstream tasks are completed properly and on-time.

Below is an example showing realistic transit times to move merchandise from various locations in the world to our main plant in Juarez, Mexico. This was one of our many attempts to help our other functional areas understand the limitations of international transportation.

LWL038 Premium Times to Mexico

Good luck!

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About Lenny

Many years of experience in a Fortune 1000 companies, especially in the logistics and I.T. areas of manufacturing companies. Through process improvements and the use of many of the tools mentioned here, I have been able to identify and implement savings opportunities worth up to $10 million. I hope that some of these real-life stories, suggestions and tools can help you!
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