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The Brewery

A very old traditional brewery decided to install a new canning line, so as to enable its beer products to be marketed through the supermarket sector. This represented a major change for the little company. When everything was ready, the local dignitaries and past employees were invited to witness the first running of the new canning line, which was followed by a buffet and drinks.

After the new line had been switched on successfully, and the formalities completed, the guests relaxed in small groups to chat and enjoy the buffet. In a quiet corner stood three people discussing trucks, transport and distribution. One was the present distribution manager and the other two were past distribution managers, having retired many years ago. The three people represented three generations of company distribution management, spanning over sixty years.

The present distribution manager confessed that the job was becoming more stressful because company policy required long deliveries be made on Monday and Tuesday, short deliveries on Fridays, and all other deliveries mid-week.

"It's so difficult to schedule things efficiently - heaven knows what we'll do with these new cans and the tight demands of the supermarkets..."

The other two nodded in agreement.

"It was the same in my day," sympathised the present manager's predecessor. "It always seemed strange to me that trucks returning early on Mondays and Tuesdays couldn't be used for little local runs, because the local deliveries had to be left until Friday."

The third man nodded, and was thinking hard, struggling to recall the policy's roots many years ago when he'd have been a junior in the despatch department. After a pause, the third man smiled and then ventured a suggestion.

"I think I remember now," he said, "It was the horses..... During the Second World War fuel rationing was introduced. So, we mothballed the trucks and went back to using the horses. On Mondays, the horses were well-rested after the weekend - hence the long deliveries. By Friday the horses were so tired they could only handle the short local drops..."

Soon after the opening of the new canning line the company changed its delivery policy.

If you find yourself constricted and stifled by something, reflect back to why you’re doing things a particular way. How did it start? Is it relevant now? Is there an alternative solution?

Something to think about...

“It would be foolish to despise tradition. But with our growing self-consciousness and increasing intelligence, we must begin to control tradition and assume a critical attitude towards it, if human relations are ever to change for the better.” - Albert Einstein


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