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EBOLA WARNING FULFILLMENT
I was in the security line at JFK airport recently and contemplated the four Ebola Warning signs displayed in the rather lengthy security line. The message was targeted to US passengers flying to Western Africa who were unaware of the Ebola crisis.

No comment.

Anyway, being in the logistics field for so long, I can't help but think about what went down to fulfill this urgent and sensitive information. Besides, I had plenty of time in line.

MISSION:

DISPLAY EBOLA WARNING SIGNAGE AT DOMESTIC AIRPORTS

While we did not work on this project and have absolutely no visibility to the chain of events, this is a scenario we envision.

1. DEVELOP MESSAGE

CDC project manager writes verbiage similar to those used in past epidemics. Submit to decision makers. Wait for decisions. Update verbiage twice and re-submit for final approval. Add images and graphics. Repeat approval process. Add Spanish language translation. Remove silhouette symbol of child. Make font larger for elderly or handicapped passengers. Obtain final approval.

2. BUILD DATABASE

Contact severely overburdened TSA to provide database of airports flying outbound to
West Africa. Obtain list of each carrier at those airports. For each carrier, determine number of signs required based on the quantity and typical size of queues. Submit database. Obtain approvals for database and authorization to drop signage at TSA headquarters. Due to significantly reduced labor pool, TSA successfully diverts delivery and distribution of the signage to individual airline carriers increasing the number of deliveries ten-fold.

3. PRINT SIGNAGE

Locate pre-approved print suppliers . Must be based on East Coast for proximity to primary airports. Contact most familiar supplier capable of urgent turn for 1,750 units. Call the next two guys. Obtain three bids to print 2-sided, 2-color signage. Submit for PO approval. Provide art to print vendor. Printer prints signs.

4. DELIVER SIGNAGE

Locate pre-approved transportation supplier. Must be in close proximity to printer. Obtain three bids to 1,750 units to authorized fulfillment company. Get approval and obtain PO. Determine warehouse receiving hours and supervisor name and cell phone number. Deliver signage to warehouse.

5. ASSEMBLE SIGNAGE

Signage received and scanned at warehouse. Verify inventory counts. Assemble into sets of 12. Wrap each set with plastic band. Download database. Database has formatting errors. Re-submit database. Sort database by location (most urgent first) with a sub-sort of the number of 12-packs needed for each carrier at each airport. Print shipping labels. Select ship carrier and determine rates. Submit for PO approval. Realize that instructions sheet (with approved verbiage) should be inserted to each carton. Copy inserts. Purchase and build cartons to accommodate twelve 24"x24"x12" signs. Pack-out each carton with 12 sign pack, instruction sheet, ship label(s), quantity identifiers (1 of 3, etc.) and "URGENT" sticker.

6. DELIVER SIGNAGE
Deliver signage to carrier at each airport. Due to security alerts, loading dock access is severely delayed resulting in one-hour wait time for each delivery. Deliver unit(s) to LAX-based airline loading dock.

7. INSTALL SIGNAGE
Each carrier -- approximate 14 for each airline at each airport -- drives golf cart to deliver signs to each security queue. Discover carrier does not have enough metal stands to accommodate new signs. Carrier obtains approval to replace current "dangerous items" alert with Ebola alert. Signage installed at each security line for each major airport.

MISSION ACCOMPLISHED!

8. NEW AIRPORTS IDENTIFIED. CDC adds O'Hare International Airport and Washington Dullus Airport to Ebola notification list. Repeat steps 3-7.

9. CUSTOMER SUPPORT
Respond to airlines asking what to do with signs because they didn't read the instructions sheet.

10. RETURNS AND STORAGE
Manage and process returned , refused, undeliverable or damaged cartons. Inspect, re-pack, re-furbish and replace as needed. Maintain minimal stock levels to avoid storage fees.

This projection is not intended to be pessimistic or condemning. We just wanted to illustrate that most "simple" projects are not simple at all.

 

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