logistics supply chain

Does Your Gas Smell?

By Brian Glick on November, 3 2018
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Brian Glick


Originally published March 12, 2018 
Kids Can Teach Us About Logistics IT –

Do you have a gas leak?

Natural gas doesn’t smell.

Since it’s dangerous, we add a stink to it using a chemical called mercaptan. It smells like rotten eggs. We all know that smell. We’ve been trained since childhood to react to it. Rotten eggs smell = danger. Now imagine a world where we added smells to everything:

  • Rotten eggs smell = danger
  • Rancid chicken smell = there’s a slow water leak in the basement
  • Sort of moldy smell = the front door is unlocked
  • Kind of hard to identify but definitely unpleasant smell = your windows aren’t totally energy efficient

Think about your supply chain alerts. Are you using one clear method for true emergencies, or are they mixed in with things of varying importance? Is “container stuck and you must take action now” mixed in someone’s inbox with “there’s a slight chance that this container will be late, but it won’t impact the in-store date”?

Make sure you’re categorizing your alerts by urgency and communicating them via the correct channels. The exact right answer depends on your team and culture.Here’s a example of a priority list you could build:

  • Emergency: Needs action in the next 15 minutes, send to pager
  • Important: Needs action same or next business day, send to group chat room
  • Actionable: Needs action at some point, transactional email
  • FYI: Might be actionable in the future, include on status report

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