November 14, 2008
In a flush of enthusiasm in my youth, I started studying for an MBA. It seemed like a good idea at the time, but fourteen years later it remains unfinished. The complexities of business economics and company accounting and reporting are just hazy memories. Any fragments of fact about mid-90s Australian industrial relations, are now antiquated. Hours of study gone; knowledge vaporised.
Except, that is, for this ...
I did love studying the manufacturing process. It introduced me to a strategy used in production that I felt I could embrace and call my own. My mantra; my life-philosophy: its a concept called just-in-time. In the manufacturing world this is the process of having your equipment, resources and labour available only in the amount required and at the time required to do the job. (A concept employed by the Ford Motor Company on assembly lines as early as the 1920s). Stock is produced just when needed - no earlier, no later.
Of course, I could see immediate application: exams. Why waste valuable intellectual real estate storing facts ahead of time, when cramming at the last minute might work? Then it was household tasks. Ironing? No need to spend hours starching and pressing - simply iron-as-you-go. Genius. And so started the slow decline: everything happening just at the time required (belated note-to-self: composing wedding speech during the reception is cutting it fine). From the outside it might have looked a little bit like procrastination or disorganisation, but it worked for me.
However, years later - as just-in-time has become part of the fabric of my very being - I think I may have discovered a failing.
With Mr HB away and the boys ill, I have discovered that its not a good thing to buy food just as you need it. Or nappies. Or toilet paper. If you can't leave the house, you are in strife. Thankfully, my kind parents have bailed me out. They have shopped for me and made sure that we haven't had to resort to eating tinned water chestnuts and putting Bargy into left-over newborn nappies.
But it has got me thinking.
With a young family relying on me, maybe these days I should be thinking more Baden-Powell, than Henry Ford. What if we're all sick again? Or heaven forbid, there's a natural disaster? When everyone is well again, I think I should head out and stock the cupboards for that proverbial very rainy day. Never mind just-in-time ... I'm moving immediately to Hoppo Bumpo's new just-in-case strategy. This will almost certainly entail an emergency plan, a flashlight and of course ... a lot of toilet paper.
What do you have at your house just-in-case?
Filed under: Domestica