Have you heard of Sam Walton? No, not John-boy Walton’s father, but the patriarch of the Wal-Mart Walton’s. An amazing man who took a small little retail store and turned it into a multi-million…now multi-billion dollar company. Most people hate Wal-Mart, or absolutely love it! Few are in-between. Yet you can’t deny Sam Walton wasn’t a genius.

 

The genius of Sam Walton was that he realized he had a problem. His backroom in his store? It was packed with inventor. Some of it was moving just fine, other inventor, not so well. Then there was inventor that try as he might, he couldn’t get reliable vendors, and was constantly out of stock.

This was the way of retail stores when Sam ran his. A mess of vendors, storage room, and trying to second guess what his customers will buy, and what they won’t.

 

So, Sam came up with a plan, a good one. He would reduce his overstocked inventor, demand his vendors supply just what he needed, keep track of what his shoppers wanted and keep them happy.

 

And he called it, Just In Time.

 

Just In Time took over the retail world like a stormfront moving in on a hot summer day (Sorry, that’s the pathetic writer in me). Others copied Sam Walton’s model, even his vendors. Just In Time would change the world, and possible, doom our future.

Having PPE (Personal Protective Equipment) was costly for hospitals back in the day. Likely they were overcharged, and keeping PPE in stock means having the room to store it. It was likely a nightmare. Then Just In Time came along and they didn’t have to the pay the high prices, or so they hoped, and they didn’t need those large storage rooms. Keeping months and months of PPE, some that stayed in closets for so long, it became useless, those days were gone.
Now, Hospitals can keep just what they need, get more when they need it from multiple vendors, and never have to worry about grabbing facemasks of a dusty shelf only to find out they expired three years ago. The rubber straps rotted, to add insult to injury.

It was a wonderful plan, and hospitals embraced it because it was cost saving, and logical.

Tragedies happen, tornados, mass shootings, fires and earthquakes. Those tragedies? Are all localized. Pandemics? Those are not anywhere near localized. Pandemics are everywhere.

We changed our shipping and receiving model, to better suit our norm. But the norm changed in a way we didn’t truly expect or hoped would never happen. History should have taught us otherwise, unfortunately, humans tend to ignore history.

If you were wondering why we have a PPE shortage, Sam’s the answer folks.

 

 

[Author’s Note: The Just In Time model innovated by Sam Walton was a game changer. It has done more to help retailers grow and bolster supply chain needs, than any other model before it. The adoption of the Just In Time model was good thing, and the unforeseen consequences can not be faulted upon Sam Walton, nor his heirs, nor the companies they operate. The Author is not implying the Walton’s are at fault for the current lack of PPE ]