Editor's Note: Got Milk? Not When It Snows

When it snows in my area (which it has been doing a lot lately), three types of personalities come out

Stephanie Stahl, Contributor

February 4, 2005

2 Min Read

When it snows in my area (which it has been doing a lot lately), three types of personalities come out. There are those who freak out and flock to the store to buy six gallons of milk on the off chance that they'll be trapped in their houses for weeks (I don't live in the North Pole, so that's highly unlikely). There are those who pretend to scoff at such behavior but just happen to be near the grocery store, so what the heck, they pick up a few gallons of milk and feign disgust at all the folks freaking out over the snow. Then there are those who are unfazed and only go to the store to buy milk if they really just need some milk (I'm one of those, by the way).

None of this matters, of course, unless you really need milk and the grocery store is sold out before the first flake rears its frosty head. But after spending a few days last week at a business-intelligence user conference hearing about fascinating customer applications that yield real-time decision making and better customer service and predictive analysis, and after reading about how Walgreens is becoming a just-in-time family supplier, and how a men's store has found a way to reduce or eliminate stock-outs, how is it that my grocery store can't predict a milk shortage (It happens every winter. Hello! There's pattern here that a kindergartner can figure out!), can't meet the demand (even if it's ludicrous), and can only tape up a handwritten note saying, "Sorry, no milk due to snow scare"?

Hats off to those of you who are investing in technologies, supply chains, and business processes that make it easier for you to meet your customers' needs. I'm through with my rant and will check my calendar to see how many days until spring!

Stephanie Stahl
[email protected]

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