Project 313 – Post No. 061

I’m back to a just-in-time Project 313 post supply chain mode. For them not familiar with the terminology, it means I’m out of prepared posts and writing this some hours before it’s due.

There are advantages and disadvantages to a just-in-time supply system. On the one hand, any current topics I might touch on are fresh. Also, I don’t risk writing about something that will change or be significantly impacted between the time I write it and when this is published. There’s also the added advantage that I can react to current events in real time. 

I mean, wouldn’t I have eggs on my face if I wrote about what great breakfast I had but three days later — when the post is published — it’s lunch that was actually memorable . . . and it wasn’t even eggs. 

The disadvantage of just-in-time Project 313 post writing is that if something comes along that requires my attention, I might not be able to prepare a post for its scheduled publishing and hence why I tend to have a few ready to go ahead of time.

I’m mentioning this because a few days ago I was discussing something with a friend. Don’t worry, it wasn’t in person, so no actual social contact occurred. Anyway, the discussion was regarding “preppers”. You might have read something derisive about people preparing for this or that apocalyptic event by storing food, water, and — of course — guns and ammunition.

They seem crazy, right? Well, let me remind you how a just-in-time supply chain works. First, it came about as a way of reducing local storage costs. So, for instance, rather than keeping a week’s supply of eggs, a store might keep a few day’s supply of eggs, the exact amount based on their average demand for fresh eggs by their customers. 

The same thing for bread, and other perishable. But, it also extends to non-perishable. It’s cheaper to just carry what you can fit on a shelf for any one product and restock it — via a just-in-time scheduled delivery — when the shelf gets about half empty.

When the system works, it’s a fairly efficient way to minimize costs, maximize your facilities, and meet the demands of often fickle consumers while reducing the risk of getting stuck with something consumers no longer want.

When it works . . . but it doesn’t always work. The flaws are a bit more evident here, in Hawaiʻi. That’s because weather and other factors might disrupt the chain of supply. 

Consumers know this, so they are more apt to buy more than they need. I’m not talking about storing food. I’m just saying that when a given item is in, you might be inclined to buy two so that you have one in reserve for those times when the store runs out and because you don’t know when they might carry it again.

As a side note, this can mess with the idea of just-in-time delivery because it skews the data for the demand for a given item. I think stores know this and adjust accordingly. The end result is that it’s not uncommon for a store to run out of certain items and tell shoppers it will be in with the delivery later that week. This even happens at Costco. 

So, back to preppers . . . it’s one thing being aware that you might have to wait a few days for your favorite brand of jam. It’s another when you see what a natural disaster can do to an area and realize the supply chain might be disrupted for more than a few days. There are areas that are still trying to recover from disasters most of us have forgotten about. 

Some may think this is just a problem for less-than-developed countries. I will remind you that a significant snowstorm can paralyze even big cities like New York and Washington  D. C. and Chicago. 

Especially big cities, but also dispersed suburban areas can quickly run out of stuff. In Monument (where we lived) we had a few storms that made the streets impassable. Once, for three days. But, a few years before we had moved there, it was for one week. One week before large enough machinery came through to clean the streets and allow traffic to come and go from the subdivision. 

We lived in Michigan when we suffered the blackout of August 2003 . . . along with 45 million other Americans (and some Canadians). For us, it lasted a number of days and we didn’t know when we’d have power again.

After that, we made sure we always had sufficient food and water to last a while (a while fluctuated between a few weeks and a number of months). The next house we have will have an emergency generator. 

The point is that even a disruption of just a few days can quickly empty store shelves and gasoline reserves at the local station. Imagine if the 2003 blackout occurred in the middle of Winter. Some places were without power for more than a week. 

Just how well-equipped are you to weather not so much the collapse of civilization, but the disruption of food, power, and water delivery for even a week?

We may laugh at preppers but perhaps we should do a little prepping ourselves. While we’re at it, think about looters, as well. Or not. I mean, what can go wrong? We live in a share and share alike world, don’t we?

And now, the photo:

Project 313 061

Yes, more Florida photos. As an aside, the beach (any beach) is a great place to observe critters. 

We don’t go to the beach here all that often and if we do, it’s usually so that I can observe waves. There aren’t that many seagulls here on the Big Island. In fact, I’ve never seen any. 

Perhaps they prefer the other islands. 

Today’s cartoon is funny . . . or, at least I think so.

As a general rule, I help out around the house. I do dishes, vacuum, take out the garbage, and help with the laundry. Melisa is the one who cooks unless I’m making my eggs, French Toast, or cream-of-wheat specialty dishes. I can be trusted to cook pasta and rice and even occasionally barbeque. 

We shop together and visit most places together, regardless whether the place is of interest to just me or just Melisa. I think I’m OK enough as a husband and might even be classified as “great” if I weren’t so dang annoying. But, we’re going on 45 years together so something is working.

Today’s doodle is a representation of . . . The Wheel Of Orderly Chaos.

The Wheel Of Orderly Chaos

And . . . that’s it

Some of these posts will likely be longer as the mood hits me, but most will be thus; short, uninteresting, bland, and relentless.

You can read about Project 313 HERE.

That’s it. This post has ended . . . except for the stuff below.


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