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Halloween, Zombies and the Supply Chain

Halloween, Zombies and the Supply Chain

October 27, 2011 0 Comments

With Halloween rapidly approaching, coupled with continued interest in zombies, I thought to myself: how could we apply some supply chain principles to surviving a potential zombie out break?

First let us make the following assumptions about the zombie outbreak – it mimics the characteristics of the zombies on the poplar show “The Walking Dead.” Yes I admit I am a big fan. So the zombies can smell and hear their prey, they do not see very well but they are attracted by rapid motion, can travel in packs, are always hungry so looking for “food” (maybe they should think about a hunter – farmer model), seem to have varied rates of speed and if they spot a human…look out.

For the humans the rules are fairly simple as well – survival means not being eaten or infected (this can happen either via bites or scratches from a zombie). The only way to incapacitate a zombie – the head/brain of the zombie needs to be disabled, how you do it is a personal choice (bullets, arrows, shovels, blunt objects, screw drivers…really anything that is available).

So let us apply some of our supply chain concepts to surviving a potential zombie infestation.

  • Visibility is vital for survival. You must be aware, and with as long a time horizon as possible, as to exactly where the zombies are in relationship to you. Are they lurking the woods you are camped in? Or maybe down the road from where you RV broke down, or in the same building as you. This has to be in real time as well, learning about the presence of zombies in your building the next day is not very useful if you decided to overnight it in that same building. If you cannot see it, you are blind to the threats that could be right in front of you.
  • Correlating the actions of the zombies. Okay you now know where they are, but can you assess what they intentions are? Granted you should always assume they are looking to make you their next super size meal, but what if they already fed? Regardless you need to quickly assess the situation and the events presented – do you fight them, if so how are your inventory levels with regards to weapons? Does your personnel have the appropriate technical skills to fend of the threat? At what point would any delay cause irreversible damages to you and your entourage? If you decide to avoid contact do you have the appropriate routes available to achieve this goal? If you do engage what are the potential consequences of that course of action – attracting more of the flesh-eating horde and therefore creating a greater problem?
  • Take action, now you know where the zombies are and you have figured out that they are really hungry and active but you are confident in your groups’ skill set and your weapons inventory. You must now be able to coordinate and give direction in real time. Provide instructions and guidance to fend off the threat. Ensure that the proper personnel are undertaking the appropriate tasks in order to ensure success.

Seems fairly straightforward to me! Just make sure you can do this in real time! Learning about a stock out in your weapons inventory 2 days later, or seeing that a horde of the undead are waiting for you in that building after the fact, could be dangerous for your well being. Being able to survive a zombie infestation is similar to being able to dynamically process and manage your supply chain’s events, ensuring a positive outcome.

Guy Courtin

View all posts from Guy Courtin on the Progress blog. Connect with us about all things application development and deployment, data integration and digital business.

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