Sunday, December 28, 2008

Supply Chains, or, the tenuous nature of modern life

Over the past week, as Seattle has been blanketed with blizzards of biblical proportions, I've had a bit of a chance to reflect on supply chains. [Yes, I know. In Ithaca or Ann Arbor, the recent snow would be considered a "flurry" and not even merit reporting on the nightly news. But, in Seattle, it is a catastrophe.]

On Christmas Eve, I was in QFC, and was surprised to see the shelves empty of all milk and eggs. Now, maybe people suddenly were in a eggnog kind of mood, but I don't think so. Especially since the milk crisis lasted until at least Friday. Today, I was again at QFC, and managed to grab the last whole chicken they had.

I have experience with deep supply chains, and I know how they can go wrong. (*cough* fasteners *cough*) Or the lead time of custom-forged titanium landing gears. But it took the snow to make me realize that everyone's supply chain is just about as tenuous.

Not sure if this makes me go into full-on survivalist mode, but I'm thinking about it. Especially if it snows again.


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