Is Your Company Another Pickup Truck BBQ Gone Horribly Wrong?

Pickup Truck BBQs Are Fun Until Your Supply Chain Goes Wrong

Pickup BBQ Gone Wrong
Optimized BBQ. ROSCO

This photo is untouched.  It is unaltered.  It is unedited.  It is what it appears to be – a pickup truck, ablaze, with the source of the fire – a Weber charcoal grill – upended, next to it.  My wife took this photo, as I drove past the truck, on Interstate 5 in Los Angeles.  The pickup’s occupants are just out of frame – fleeing. 

So what happened?  And is what happened to this pickup exactly what’s happening at your company?


First question – what happened?  Someone had competing priorities – i.e. get home versus finish grilling the burgers.  So what do you do when you have competing priorities?  What do you do when you’re at the park and you realize the burgers aren’t ready, but the Dodgers are playing the Giants and there’s no way you’re going to DVR a game against the hated Giants?  You optimize, that’s what you do!  Who says you can’t get home and barbeque – in parallel?  That’s why pickup truck BBQ’s were invented, by gosh!

Second question – is what happened to this pickup exactly what’s happening at your company?  Maybe.  Does your company have competing priorities?  Do you have to deliver to your customer what it wants, when it wants it?  And do this by spending less money on inventory, shipping and expedited production?  Are those competing priorities?  How do you improve on-time delivery, customer satisfaction and cost of goods – without spending more money?


The wrong answer, of course, is a pickup truck BBQ. 

You don’t load burning charcoal into the pickup bed.  Your planning needs start earlier.  Same with your supply chainRobust demand planning is early and regular planningYour holiday planning needs to start in the spring.  Your supplier and customer communication needs to start - again - early and be frequent.

  Analyze real-time metrics to check and re-check assumptions. 

And if you’re not willing to do that, you better check and re-check your rearview.  And kick that grill off the truck before the wheels catch fire (look closely).  Or bring an extinguisher the next time management wants to review your metrics.