Thursday, May 21, 2009

Why I Love Logistics

At 8:30 this evening, the CAM design manager called me with an urgent request for a stencil that our company uses in its manufacturing process to apply the solder paste that holds electronic components to the printed ciruit board.

Really? Okay, when do you need it.

Tomorrow? Before 8am? No worries. Standby, I will have an email address for you so you can mail the files.

I called our up and coming stencil supplier and Ally, our regional sales rep, said she needed some time to get ahold of a CAM operator on her end. She called back 2o minutes later. Good news and bad news.

Bad news: No CAM operator available.

Good news: She called their VP of Technology who lives in Oregon. He was on his way home and volunteered to do the work when he arrived at home.


Ally sent me a text message with the VP's email address and we were in business.

Meanwhile, Eric, our fearless CAM manager was putting the finishing touches on the CAM design from our end. Ally called the stencil production facility in Memphis, TN and told them that they would be receiving some files later in the evening.

An early, and BIG, thanks to the folks at Fine Line Stencils for their work. Or course, this will be rescinded if no stencils arrive tomorrow.

This little exercise rekindled the passion I had for logistics while the logistics officer for my tank battalion. There is a famous quote that says "fighters talk tactics, warriors talk logistics". I look fondly back on coordinating the movement of 150 combat vehicles, 500 soldiers and tons of equipment by rail, air and land from Texas to California.

It is amazing what we can do when all parties involved are pointed in the right direction to get something done.

My personal favorite was during our training rotation at the National Training Center at Fort Irwin, CA. It was the day before Thanksgiving and the Assistant Division Commander for Suppport, the ADC(S), arrived at the brigade logistics rehearsal. He only had one thing for us.

"Ladies and Gentlemen," he said. "Tomorrow is Thanksgiving. Tomorrow, the Division Commander wants all of the soldiers in the Ironhorse Brigade to eat their Thanksgiving meal with ice cream and pumpkin pie. We are 80 kilometers from the cantonment area, and I don't have any of it on hand yet."

The next afternoon, my driver and I (pictured below) set up a landing zone and UH-60 landed, dumped off two coolers full of ice cream cups and four dozen pies and took off for the next LZ.

I love logistics.

Captain Doug Huber and PFC Ernest Neuman - Nov. 2002

No comments: