The tragedy of batch thinking
Lean folks spend a lot of time agonizing over shrinking production batch sizes, but transportation batches can be equally uneconomical – sometimes even more so. Last week an Australian forklift operator dropped a container. When it was opened up to survey the damage, "It was like a murder scene. There was red everywhere." 461 out of 462 cases of $200 dollar a bottle Mollydooker wine were smashed – a million bucks worth. "The accident has crippled Mollydooker's U.S. launch in September. It will also impact the wine market in Australia." Shoulda gone with one piece flow.
How do you really feel, JIm?
Ford sales exec Jim Farley was asked how he felt about GM by the author of an upcoming book on the auto bailout of a few years back. Said Farley, "F*** GM. I hate them and their company and what they stand for." You have to respect a guy who gives a straight answer to a simple question.
Time to stop the 3 martini lunches at the Chamber
The US Chamber of Commerce is crusading with Congress to clarify the Foreign Corrupt Practices Act. "The Lindsey case and others like it have brought attention to the need to reform an outdated law that many believe is hurting American businesses’ ability to compete fairly in the global market," wrote Lisa Rickard of the Chamber's Institute for Legal Reform.
You have all heard of cases where matters of ethics are black and white, with a vast gray area in between. Well, this isn't one of them.
A couple of Lindsey executives are quite likely on their way to federal prison, having been convicted of bribing the executives of a Mexican utility company. "Among the sweeteners: a $297,500 Ferrari Spyder sports car, bought in 2007 at a dealership in Beverly Hills, Calif., and a $1.8 million yacht named Dream Seeker, paid for in part with money wired from a Swiss bank account."
The Chamber's argument: How were the execs at Lindsey supposed to know that anyone could possibly contrue using intermediaries and Swiss bank accounts to give yachts and Ferraris to quasi-government utility employees to get them to buy their products to be a bribe? My esteem for the Chamber has dropped substantially if their members really need their dues to fund a legal effort to clear this question up in order to be competitive.
Why we should never empower idiots
The Midway, Georgia police chief shut down a lemonade stand being run by a couple of girls trying to raise a few bucks for a trip to a waterpark. Chief Kelly 'Wyatt Earp' Morningstar has a short fuse for anyone operating without a $50 a day business permit. Worse yet, she says "police also didn't know how the lemonade was made, who made it, or what was in it". I would think a grown woman – especially one in the south – would know how to make lemonade and its basic ingredients, but one thing is clear: Nobody better try to sell this mysterious concoction on Kelly's watch without explaining these things to her in advance.
Not to be outdone in the drunk-with-power category, Nolan Koewler was fired from Dillard's department store for eating two hot dogs left over from last year's 4th of July picnic. Seems they were supposed to be kept in the freezer to be hauled out again for the Labor Day picnic. The store manager was watching a surveillance tape and caught Nolan in the dastardly deed – told him to confess or answer to the local cops. Understandably Nolan wanted to avoid a night in the pokey so he fessed up – and was promptly fired.
Why the $6.1 billion a year Dillards would serve its employees two month old left-over hot dogs on Labor Day was not explained. Why the store manager spends his time watching the refrigerator via surveillance camera was also left unanswered. Whether the local cops would have actually come out and slapped the cuffs on the hot dog thief is a question for the ages. In any event, a local judge with infinitely more wisdom than Dillard's collective management ruled that poor, hungry Nolan was fired without cause and made Dillard's pony up for his unemployment benefits.