Nov 04, 2019

Lead Times, Land Miles and Learning Lessons

I can’t keep track.

There is so much going on right now that I am lost in a veritable seasonal “smoothie” (or fruit salad?) of trans-continental email chains, regional customer visits, project updates and purchase order numbers - after a little chasing or course.

And I’m sticking to my 2019 mantra and not giving negative association to the word that starts with “B” and rhymes with “dizzy”. Instead, I’m positively “engrossed” and “fervent” (Thanks Google).

The seasonal stress of aligning various Capex “stars” and mustering urgency from suppliers and customers to meet the following seasons deadlines once again becomes an ongoing factor. The key here is to always stay ahead of the game and keep talking! Even at the risk of being the proverbially “shot” messenger, it’s better our customers know what’s going on, for the better or worse - like a good marriage.

Both lead times and land miles have a habit of evaporating in short time. There’s always someone guilty of piping up and highlighting the fact that “there’s only EIGHT weeks until Christmas”. And, as much as we roll our eyes and admit to ourselves that the past year has gone “far too fast”, the reality is that this ol’ industry of ours is fast-paced and growing (excuse the pun).

I’m looking towards 2020 already and getting through this time of the year has taught me some valuable lessons:

  1. It pays to partner with the right people. We have a solid stable of long-standing suppliers, agents and NZ business partners. History has taught me that this history means a lot. Knowing who to go to at the right time for the right solution is crucial.
  2. Communication is everything. Unless you are a hard-nosed, emotionless robot… it is never fun to be the messenger when it comes to things like delays. But it is always better for everyone to be on the same page.
  3. If at first you don’t succeed, ask more questions and chase more often. Hound people if you have to! A moment of discomfort, in the form of nagging or pestering, can save a season of absolute pain. If you’re missing calls from me this time of the year… you can probably expect a follow up very soon.
  4. Take your job seriously, but don’t take yourself too seriously. For fair of sounding like a cliched life coach, life is all about balance. Whether it is a rushed harvest, an export packing season or a looming deadline there is always another day, another challenge. Prioritising moments of reflection and rest (even a 15-minute stroll to clear the head) can give you the energy to push on and make every extra hour count.

One consistent theme across these lessons? Partnering, communication, perseverance and balance… these are all human-driven aspect of our daily lives. Things that are difficult to automate.

For all the parts of your business you can automate - Jenkins Freshpac Systems have your back.

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