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« Federated Discovery vs. Persistent Context – Enterprise Intelligence Requires the Later | Main | To Anonymize or Not to Anonymize, That is the Question »

January 31, 2007

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Tim Lester

Post Before Processing

Dumb things develop themselves and sometimes it doesn't take too many smarts to correct them. There are many dumb things but it is surprising how few see "dumb" written on the wall.

I was never that smart but I could read dumb. Often the situation is the same old dumb and only the magnitude is different.

"Do no dumb" was a secret standard of performance with surprising success in making people think I was smart.

This story relates to that idea and posting and processing. My boss thought I was smart, some sailors thought I was great because I cut them more liberty. I only avoided being dumb.

My supply ship was stationed in Sasebo, Japan but we spent a month at a time out replenishing ships off Vietnam from 20,000 items of stock we carried on board.

Material to replenish our stocks flowed to Sasebo and we took it on board when we returned for a week in port. After it came on board I received the paper work and posted receipt to my stock records. We were still putting things away and posting receipt while transiting the Straights of Taiwan headed for Vietnam.

Bright idea: Leave two sailors behind to pull the paper work off items arriving in the warehouse while we were gone. Post the receipts immediately upon return. Empty the warehouse. That created an opportunity to find out what I had, what I did not get (equally important) and order it for expedited delivery from Yokosuka before we left. It also gave me a double check on receipt since documents from receipt in the warehouse were matched to those from receipt on board. Paperwork was not always the top priority of the Material Division.

Being smart is often the flip side of not being dumb. I take pride in my career as being on the smart side of the coin but in all humility I know the secret behind it was often on the other side.

Old Sea Story: The departing CO told his relief that he left the secret to being a good CO in his safe. The new CO later opened the safe and found a piece of paper that said: Port = Left, Right = Starboard.

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