Thursday, April 5, 2012

just in time: when our trucks stop rolling

Photobucketjust in time delivery is a fabulous  means of inventory and cost control which came on our  scene 20 years ago.
the intricate remarkable efficient complex american delivery system has been considered a given by myself and the rest of us for controlling and enriching many elements of our lives.
to order an inexpensive item from the west coast and have it at my doorstep, often by the us mail in 2 or 3 days is a rare delight.
whatever we want or need is usually at a local market.
it won't take much, to screw up these lines with drastic implications on our lives and our way of life.

this recent article caught my eye.

Most Americans take for granted the intricate systems that make it possible for us to engage in seemingly mundane day to day tasks like filling up our gas tanks, loading up our shopping carts at the local grocery store, obtaining necessary medications, and even pouring ourselves a clean glass of water. When we wake up each morning we just expect that all of these things will work today the same way they worked yesterday. Very few have considered the complexity involved in the underlying infrastructure that keeps goods, services and commerce in America flowing. Fewer still have ever spent the time to contemplate the fragility of these systems or the consequences on food, water, health care, the financial system, and the economy if they are interrupted.
report prepared for legislators and business leaders by the American Trucking Associations highlights just how critical our just-in-time inventory and delivery systems are, and assesses the impact on the general population in the event of an emergency or incident of national significance that disrupts the truck transportation systems which are responsible for carrying some ten billion tons of commodities and supplies across the United States each year.
A shut down of truck operations as a result of elevated threat levels, terrorist attacks, or pandemics would, according to the report, have “a swift and devastating impact on the food, healthcare, transportation, waste removal, retail, manufacturing, and financial sectors.
So too would events such as an EMP attack or a coordinated cyber-attack that could shut down global positioning systems and the computers responsible for inventory control. Another potential scenario that is more likely now than ever before is liquidity problems within the financial system stemming from currency crisis or hyperinflation. All of our just-in-time delivery systems are built upon the unhindered transfer of money and credit, but when credit flow becomes restricted or money becomes worthless, no one will be able to pay for their goods. Likewise, no one will trust the credit worthiness of anyone else. This is exactly the scenario playing out in Greece right now and the consequences on the health care industry in that country have left many without life saving drugs. When there’s no money, no one will be transporting anything.
from the gutter

from peter grimes
an opera by benjamin britten
 librettoadapted by Montagu Slater from the Peter Grimes section of George Crabbe's poem The Borough.

From the gutter, why should we trouble at their ribaldries?
And shall we be ashamed because we comfort men from ugliness?
Do we smile or do we weep or wait quietly till they sleep?
When in storm they shelter here and we soothe their fears away.
We know they'll whistle their good-byes next fine day and put to sea.
On the manly calendar we only mark heroic days.
Do we smile or do we weep or wait till they sleep?
They are children when they weep 
We are mothers when they strive
schooling our hearts to keep
the bitter treasure of their love.
Do we smile or do we weep or wait till they sleep? 

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