Supply Chain Wednesday


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(1) To brainstorm: This means to try to think of ideas.

The plastic bottles keep cracking. I’m not sure why, but let’s have a meeting and brainstorm solutions.

(2) To test at the limits: To check something in extreme situations.

Let’s test this at the limits. What if we increased production by 1000%?

(3) Labor: This just means work

The labor cost will be higher in California, but the shipping costs will be much less.



1. What does it mean to test ideas at the limits?

a. To check them at zero

b. To check them at infinity

c. To check them at zero and infinity

2. How will he get free labor?

a. He’ll use robots

b. He’ll use slaves

c. He’ll get infinite employees

3. What happens when you let things start talking to each other?

a. Work emerges

b. Logistics are harder

c. Systems get stronger

7 ________________________



By Jeremy Schaar

Mick Mountz–Let the Inventory Walk and Talk (Part 4)

Click here to see Part 1, Part 2, and Part 3.

This week, you’ll learn some vocabulary and ideas you can use on the job. You’ll learn how to effectively brainstorm and you’ll see the results of one man’s brainstorming.

We’re continuing to look at a video by Mick Mountz. (See above.) In total, this is a 12 minute video. In it, he explains how companies can quickly organize complicated orders and ship them to the customer. This week, I’ll be talking about the video from 4:00 to 6:20. If you haven’t seen the other lessons, you might want to check them first.

This section of the video starts with him thinking about building a warehouse in China and testing his ideas at the limits: infinity and zero.

This is a great suggestion that you can use at work. To test an idea at its limits means to think about crazy possibilities. What if everything was free? What if you had unlimited resources.

If I was building a hospital, I might think of infinite doctors, money, and medicine. How would I build a hospital with infinite resources? You should also think about zero. How would I build a hospital with no doctors or money? You won’t find your ultimate solution with this method, but it can result in good ideas. Think about how might you use it at your work.

In his situation, he’s thinking about building a factory in China. He wonders what it would be like if employees were unlimited and they all worked for free. In that case, he would ask the employees to hold an item and wait to get called.

In the real solution, he’ll use robots so that he can have free labor.

He also says this idea is like at the Beijing Olympics when all the performers are talking with each other. They don’t need a big director because they get information from other performers. He says: “It speaks to the power of emergence within systems–when you let things start to talk with each other.”

This just means that things get better with more communication.

He ends by saying that the “journey” part of his talk is ended. Next week, we’ll get to see the practical result. What actually happens in his factory? How does it work? Of course you can watch it by yourself. But I’ll explain next week.

Got questions or comments? How about practicing some new vocabulary and posting your thoughts on the blog, Facebook, or Twitter?


Answers To Today’s Questions

C, B, A


You Can Do It All Yourself But You Dont Have To

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