From the Black Hole to the Wild Blue Yonder

[From iSource Business, July 2001] First, imagine that you are the director of public works for a city of 30,000 people. And like any city of modest size, you're required to manage the infrastructure of its roads, housing units, water and sewer functionalities, airport runways, construction sites, lighting and anything else associated with its mandatory, day-to-day operations. And because the universe tends toward chaos, it's inevitable that, at times, water mains will burst, HVAC systems will malfunction and streetlights will dim to darkness. But, imagine the level of frustration when logistical circumstances force you to wait an average of eight months for replacement parts.

Such a scenario might seem antiquated in today's world, where instant response time can almost be taken for granted. Yet, until about two years ago, such was the everyday reality of supply chain managers for Kadena Air Base in Okinawa, Japan. For Master Sergeant Kevin Shavnore, superintendent of material acquisitions, and David Gannon, infrastructure chief, life was like a shell game of patch-fix repairs while waiting for the proper supplies to arrive.