Another day another surprise.

JIT has been revolutionizing logistics, manufacturing, retail and the planet in general for awhile now. The basic idea is that each level in the supply chain gets just as much as it needs at the right time to do the task at hand. So if you sell 42 widgets in your store each week you only keep 42 on hand and once a week a truck shows up with 42 more. The manufacturer only gets enough parts to make as many as they ship each week and the parts supplier, etc. Of course this means we drivers have to pick up at point A and deliver at point B in a fairly precise manner or it all falls apart. I understand this process and accept it as part of life.

Yesterday we learned about a different type of JIT. After we finished at K-Mart we were sent to a facility in Irving to pick up a trailer to deliver in Harrisburg, PA. We picked up around noon and were told to deliver at 2:00 AM on the 31st. Sounds like a classic JIT load because of the delivery time. However we are delivering to another trucking company. In fact we are picking up from a trucking company. There are mo producers or consumers in this chain, just middlemen. There are several messages about this being a JIT load at to be sure and keep everyone informed if we are going to be late. Given the time we had there should be no issue. At 5:00 AM we get a message asking if we are rolling. I reply that we are on time for delivery. Around 8:00 AM we get a message telling us our delivery time is 8:30 PM, five and a half hours earlier than we had based our trip planning on. After much gnashing if teeth, rending of hair, and talking to someone in the JIT group it becomes clear. The preplan should have told us this was a timed JIT load and once we were loaded we should have received a message with our new delivery time, 31 hours after pickup. What ever time we picked up it had to be delivered just in time 31 hours later. Can anyone explain why?

Fortunately since the information we were given was wrong we were not responsible for it being “late.” We got there at 9:30 PM and of course the consignee could not have cared less. It will be tomorrow before they unload the trailer anyway. Oh yes, we had also been told this was a driver assisted unload. The consignee NEVER does live unloads. How can a company be so out of touch with its customers?

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