Creative Corner

Inventory (lack of) Management

Sandy is annoyed at being enveloped by the frigid air as he stepped into the warehouse.  Dust, floating in daylight rays coming thru skylights, gave true atmosphere to this warehouse, as if you would expect chilled fog in the early morning as a matter of course, a unique bio-climate.

Already frosted because inventory just had to be wrong, he called “Inventory is wrong again Pearl!”  Sometimes there is just no being nice about these things.  What a waste of time, trying to keep his inventory right, always having to do the foot-work.  No doubt Pearl is taking yet another of her famous breaks.  Seems like she takes a dozen a day, eats like a bird, one tiny snack after another.  So just because, Sandy looks in the break room, and there she is, playing a game on her cell phone and eating a carrot.  “Inventory is wrong again, Pearl.  Can you check out item 35B689X?  We had 75 yesterday, now we have 150.”  Sandy hands her a post-it with the part number on it, still not sure if she is paying any attention, so absorbed in her game and with ear-buds on.  Pearl, still focused on her phone, says as soon as she is done with her current count she’ll look at the 35B’s.

Break over, back in the warehouse with clipboard in hand, Pearl continued with her count.  Now where was she?  Looking at her clipboard and the tally in the margin:  131, 72, 19, 6, 6, 48, that’s 292 and there is supposed to be 305.  Ah, here’s another 24.  That should do it.  Imagine, she thinks, I love numbers and that’s what landed me this job!  But really how boring, just counting things all day.  So, on to the 35B689X’s.   This sounds familiar, bet I counted them the other day.

Pearl headed for her desk and pulled out the counts from the last several days.  Yep, sure enough, she had counted them yesterday.  In the margin, she had written 75, 75, that equals 150.  Clearly there were 150.  Armed with paperwork, back to Sandy’s desk, “Hey Sandy, I counted this item yesterday, and there were 150, see my notes?”  Sandy, looking at the paperwork snorted “That can’t be.  These things cost $400 each, there’s no way I’d have sixty-thousand-dollars-worth on hand!  Show me!”

Rolling her eyes, Pearl marches like a petulant kid on a school field trip.  “There!”  Up in the rack, on the third deck, a pallet of 72 “And the other pallet was over by Receiving” but there was no pallet in Receiving.  “They must have put it away somewhere – Hey Shelly, do you recall seeing the 35B689X’s?  They were here in Receiving yesterday.”

“Sure – they are at the end of that aisle, up on the third deck” Shelly points.  “I was glad to see them.  Production has been asking for them the last couple of days and we didn’t have any.  I gave them the 3 boxes they asked for this morning.”

Sandy’s eyes now icy blue, “Nice going, counted the same thing twice” thinking - is excelling at work done by magically doubling inventory?

“If I see it, I count it, that’s all I do.  See it, count it, see it count it, that’s all I do, all day long.”

Wade, his locomotive stride tossing sparks into the air as he speeds over to Pearl and Sandy holding his financials, paper fluttering in the chilled warehouse air and sending off palatable waves of frustration.  Furiously, “What are you doing Sandy, buying a 6-month supply of the 35B689X’s?  This is crazy!  Can you do a vendor return?”

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