Archives for May 2019

Qualified truck drivers are in short supply.  Let’s address it.

By Steve Geary | 05/26/2019 | 2:34 PM

Congress is on the right track. The DRIVE-Safe Act (Developing Responsible Individuals for a Vibrant Economy) has been introduced in Congress.  The bill makes sense.

Basic economics tells us two options can bring a labor market into balance.  One option:  increase wages to motivate more people to become qualified truck drivers.  Another option:  reduce unwarranted barriers to qualify as a professional trucker.

Today the federally specified minimum age is an overly stringent limitation.  The federal government requires interstate drivers to be 21 years of age.  Many states set the age requirement for intrastate truck drivers at 18.  Some are lower than that.

DRIVE-Safe opens opportunities to qualify as an interstate trucker right about the time most teens graduate from high school.  Those not headed for college need to earn a living and begin a career.  They can apprentice as a plumber, an electrician, join a union and start earning seniority, or any number of tracks as a skilled practitioner in the trades.  For some reason the feds prohibit high school graduates from becoming a long-haul trucker for another three years.

Call your Senator, call your Representative, and ask them to support the DRIVE-Safe Act [S. 3352 + H.R. 5358]

If it smells like scat, it is scat.

By Steve Geary | 05/18/2019 | 5:24 PM

Understanding data perturbations is essential in Supply Chain Analysis.  Of course, that assumes that those performing the data analysis understand data analysis and the underlying functional and operational relationships.  Unfortunately, that isn’t always the case.

The National Oceanic and Atmospheric Administration (NOAA) just published its intent to award a sole source contract to Florida Atlantic University Harbor Branch Oceanographic Institute.  Specifically, Florida Atlantic University will perform genetic sampling of harbor seal scat samples.  NOAA has published a finding that Florida Atlantic University is uniquely qualified to perform this work.

That’s right.  Florida Atlantic University is uniquely qualified to gather and test seal scat.  That by itself is amusing, certainly, but it gets better. 

NOAA attempts to justify the sole source award, which by statute must be justified.  “A statistical analysis of population structure using microsatellite data from multiple laboratories would require a model with additional parameters to explain any variability due to data collection, which in turn, increases the risks of inflating or masking any differences between populations.”

Notice there is no assertion that Florida Atlantic is better at collecting or analyzing scat than anybody else.  That would be a valid sole source justification.  Instead, NOAA asserts that Florida Atlantic’s results cannot be replicated by anybody else.  In other words, their scat apparently doesn’t stink.

Put it all together, and what we have is sole source justification to analyze scat based on the assertion that other scientists are unable to replicate the results.  “If a finding can't be replicated, it suggests that our current understanding of the study system or our methods of testing are insufficient.

Numbers matter, and so does scat in the real world.  When measuring your “no-scat” operations, make sure the measurements are repeatable and can pass the smell test.  If it smells like scat, it probably is scat.

It’s hard to turn a battleship on a dime, but DoD is changing course. 

By Steve Geary | 05/05/2019 | 4:29 PM

Last September, then Secretary of Defense Jim Mattis issued a memo directing the military services to achieve a dramatic improvement in the readiness rate on four key aircraft.  The memo directed an 80% readiness rate be achieved for the F-35, F-22, F-16 and F-18 fleets by September of 2019.  As icing on the cake, the Secretary also directed a reduction in operating and maintenance costs for those aircraft.

So after more than six months, how is the military doing?

On May 1, in remarks to a House Appropriations Committee panel, acting Defense Secretary Patrick Shanahan hedged.  As reported in Defense News, Real Clear Politics, and several other outlets, Secretary Shanahan said the F-18 is tracking to meet the 80 percent readiness rate benchmark, but it remains unclear to him if the F-35, F-22 or F-16 will be able to meet the mark.

Achieving an 80% readiness rate may not seem like a high hurdle to a supply chain professional operating in the commercial sector.  In the land of fielding leading edge – or in the case of the F-22 and F-35, bleeding edge – systems, it is an aggressive goal.  Progress has been made.  Supply chains have been streamlined.  Perhaps getting to the goal for some of the platforms will roll into 2020, but the military’s progress merits respect. 

We’ll check at the end of the Fiscal Year.

The opinions expressed herein are those solely of the participants, and do not necessarily represent the views of Agile Business Media, LLC., its properties or its employees.

About Steve Geary

Steve Geary

Steve Geary is an adjunct faculty member at the University of Tennessee's College of Business Administration, and is on the faculty at The Gordon Institute at Tufts University, where he teaches supply chain management. He is the President of the Supply Chain Visions family of companies, and Chief Operating Officer at ROSE Solutions, consultancies that work across the government sector. Steve is a contributing editor at DC Velocity, and editor-at-large for CSCMP's Supply Chain Quarterly. He is listed in Who's Who in America, Who's Who in the World, Who's Who in Science and Engineering, and Who's Who in Executives and Professionals. In November of 2007, Steve was recognized for "Selfless Service to Our Nation and the People of Iraq" by the Deputy Secretary of Defense.


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