Good governance in disposition

Despite the horror of the attack on the Berlin Christmas market, did you notice it?

A Polish driver arrives a day early with his truck, is turned away by the customer and is forced to wait on the side of the road for a night. A process that happens countless times a day.

How did it happen that the driver was a day early? Presumably either the supplier dispatched too early to ensure that the delivery date would be met, or the truck was better able to get through the traffic jungle, which is completely unpredictable for trucks these days.

Just in time is cool, but don’t we sometimes overdo it with our demands on “the others”, namely suppliers and freight forwarders? We insist on the utmost precision in delivery and dispatch dates, chop up our requirements into ever smaller order quantities and penalize any deviation from deadlines in either direction – too early or too late. And in this way we are inflating the already growing volume of transportation even further. This contributes to freight times on the road becoming even more unpredictable.

One could argue that the merciless competition makes it necessary to bring so much precision into the material flow in order to work efficiently. However, I don’t know of any company where inventories could not be further reduced by purely dispositive measures. Even if there is constant discussion about sensible delivery readiness levels in order to reduce stocks. Nevertheless, the impression is that far too much is being planned, because there must never be a stock shortage – no matter how the delivery readiness is set! So collateral is hidden everywhere in the planning parameters. Are we not applying double standards here? Is it “good governance”, to use the ethical vocabulary of business, if a level of precision is demanded from freight forwarders and suppliers that is not met by the company itself? This discrepancy in the performance evaluation is expressed in waiting times, penalties and special trips, which also cost money and must be included in the total costs.

Picture of Prof. Dr. Andreas Kemmner

Prof. Dr. Andreas Kemmner

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