June 2001 | Commentary | Checking In

Gan's the Man

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As editor of Inbound Logistics, I get plenty of mail from readers. This month, I was bypassed. All your mail went straight to Gan McManus, the fictional hero of Strikepoint . It's only fair to turn this column over to Gan and let him talk to you directly.

—Felecia Stratton, Editor

Wow. I want to thank readers for their advice to help me face the crisis. Here are just a few of the suggestions I got. (Read some of the full responses in our Strikepoint section)

David White, from the logistics and distribution department at Merck and Co., recommended cutting a stock deal with Zip for the use of its manufacturing and distribution network. "For Cornelius, the demand that the unexpected Bigger Scott endorsement had created would be met with an acceptable customer service level which, in turn, would greatly enhance Cornelius' bottom line."

That was great advice, and we were actually working along those lines until Zip threw us a hard curve. Check out what they did—read Strikepoint now.

"This definitely has got to be a team effort or Cornelius might just as well sell the company now," was the advice I got from Deon Hull at Morton Thiokol. Hull preached going back to basics, giving me a window on how silo functions can pull together to meet a logistics challenge. "Each area of the company has to assess what they can do and how fast. They need to check for bottlenecks on their production floor and work through those problems first. They can only sell as many as they can make," he said.

We are trying to work toward integration. If we weather this crisis, the communication lines will be in place and benefit Cornelius in all future operations. Deon's right. You can't build sophistication into your supply chain if you skip the basics.

One reader told me to take my options and bail: "It's unreasonable to expect a low-level guy to step in and save the day. You should immediately buy stock in your company, queer the Bigger Scott endorsement idea, and go to work for the acquiring company, laughing all the way to the bank as your stock more than doubles. Then, in good time, you should take your profits from the sale and reinvest them in Microsoft...In a year or two you tell everyone to pound sand as you quit work altogether and retire at a young age, never looking back on the worst decision of your life: going into logistics in the first place."

I could take the money and run, but there's more to life than money. I'm young, idealistic, and a little contrarian. What could be more exciting and fulfilling than overcoming this challenge, saving a great company, and maybe, just maybe, making more money in the long-term? I disagree that going into logistics was a bad decision. Maybe the old logistics was boring, but not the new logistics. It makes my blood pump. Yours may, too!

E-mail Gan with your suggestions: gan@inboundlogistics.com

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