I prepared for the work day. Reviewing meetings and activities, I thought of "The Tell-Tale Heart".
I love Edgar Allen Poe's tale of murder, guilt and madness, and that beating heart that he imagines he hears that forces him to confess his crime.
Do I have a crime to confess? No, but I hear a beating heart.
I assumed another's duties in addition to my own back in July. A large part of his responsibilities was a tedious, energy drain of watching the inventory levels, reviewing parts orders, and priorities order fulfillment with the manufacturing and repair teams. Very, very tedious, this involves collecting information sent in from around the world in disparate spreadsheets - new buy and repair orders from each geo, inventories in each geo's warehouses, install bases for each geo and several countries, failure rates and RMA rates - and putting it all together to form a large picture to define gaps so they can be closed.
Those gaps were causing problems. Gaps represented parts shortages. Parts shortages had come to mean the inability to fulfill RMA requirements, which became backorders. Backorders upset customers. Upset customers upset senior management.
A weekly "Backorder Review" meeting was begun at the year's start. Each week, various teams, managers and execs would meet to discuss what open RMAs were in backorder and what steps were being taken to close those backorders.
By luck, a few weeks after I took over the role, we closed all of the backorders. We've not had any since. After a few weeks of that, they began cancelling the back order meeting. It was being done at the very last minute. Gradually, the cancellation shifted to being cancelled the day before. Each time, the responsible senior manager who chairs the meeting notes on the cancellation, "Another week without backorder! Hurray!"
That message worries me. I study the inventories and trends. I know where we're weak. That's my role. Determine where we're weak and ensure we fix it before it becomes a problem.
And that's why I hear the beating heart. I know where we're weak. It's just a matter of time....
Thump thump, thump thump, thump thump....
Causes Michael Seidel Supports
Kiva, Women's International League for Peace and Freedom, Propublica.org, Doctors Without Borders, GreaterGood.com