Monthly Archives: October 2013

The end is near…you were once great Blackberry

No surprise, the vultures are already circling Blackberry and looking to recruit some of their top talent. The likes of Apple and Intel are starting to make overtures to Blackberry workers.

This cannot be a surprise to anyone. After the Waterloo based company

Back when it was the cool phone...

Back when it was the cool phone…

announced intentions to being acquired by Fairfax things have continued be out of sorts. With rumors that the financing might not be in place. There is talk of Blackberry heading to the chop shop and having their parts sold off. Something this blog has advocated to happen. Click here for post. It is interesting that the likes of SAP are looking into opportunities. If SAP were to get some of their enterprise assets it would be a very interesting asset for the package application giant. Being able to instantly have a powerful and secure mobile platform could be the catalyst for some of SAP’s solutions.  Something to watch.

It is sad to watch, but the end of days seem very close for the once powerful mobile player. I might need to dust off my old Blackberry, wonder what it will fetch on eBay from the collectors!

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Filed under Current Events, Mobility, Smart Phone

Exit Sandman – microcosm of supply chain failures in the Bronx

Those of you who are baseball fans know that the greatest closer in baseball – Mariano Rivera – retired from the game this season (mind you I am a diehard Red Sox fan so that was hard for me to write). Rivera was a model of consistency in excellence – since 1995 the pitcher known as the Sandman accumulated some gaudy statistics:

  • 652 saves
  •  2.21 ERA
  • 82 wins
  • 1173 strikeouts
  • 1.00 WHIP
  • Oh and 5 World Series rings

His post season statistics are at an even greater plateau of excellence:  0.70 ERA, 8 wins and 42 saves…and those 5 World Series titles. To honour his retirement the Yankees decided to give away bobble heads during one of his last home games. Unfortunately the management of the supply chain was

The holy grail for Yankee fans

The holy grail for Yankee fans

opposite of how Mariano pitched. It was an unmitigated disaster.

Supposedly there was a break down in the logistics; the truck delivering the inventory broke down on the New Jersey turnpike. Fans arriving at Yankee stadium were met with no available bobble heads, were given vouchers and asked to come back later during the game to collect their tchotchkes. Of course this being the Bronx, there were fights amongst the fans, long lines and people missing the game as they waited for their bobble head. All this caused by a simple truck breaking down on the highway…not an uncommon disruption in supply chain.

So what lessons can we learn from this?

·         Do better planning! The night of the give-away was known for months if not a year, everyone know that Mariano was retiring this season. The Yankees had plenty of time to plan the manufacturing and delivery of the items. But clearly their plan did not leave much buffer for any potential pitfalls – like a broken down truck.

·         Weigh the costs of not being able to have inventory on time with the cost of warehousing the inventory. Would it really have been that difficult for the Yankee to have the shipments arrive a week early? Would their “warehousing” costs have been that great? I highly doubt it. Maybe they were afraid that the stock would suffer from shrinkage prior to the give-away.

·         Have a plan in place to respond to potential supply chain outages. Trucks break down, factory manufacturing suffers unforeseen down time, points of entry suffer from labour strikes, and natural disasters cause interruptions. The Yankees had a plan, but it did not seem very well thought out – forcing the paying audience to leave their seats to wait in line for something they should have received upon entering the ball park not a good plan. Why not let people get their bobble head dolls on the way out of the park? Plus that would have guaranteed everyone stayed until the end of the game!

What is fascinating about what happened with the Yankees is that it was a microcosm of problems that can strike your supply chains. The problems with inventory management, transportation, and the desire for just in time all blew up under the weight of one truck, broken down on the Jersey turnpike.

Unlike Mariano, the Yankees did not demonstrate superior execution when it came to the bobble head give away. The Yankee closer was relentless in his ability to come into a game with a plan – throw that cutter and get people out. His ability to execute to that plan led to his gaudy statistics.

Unfortunately the Yankees supply chain for bobble head dolls looked more like Byung-Hyun Kim from the 2001 World Series – all over the place, not executing properly and leading to a minor disaster.

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Filed under Current Events, Supply Chain