A few weeks ago, in my CSCMP Conference 2006 review and comment, I mentioned that I thought too many presentations, both there, elsewhere, and ones I’ve done myself, were including lengthy repetition of all the recent woes and challenges of transportation management. These are no longer adding much value, as we hear the same things over and over again.
Many readers agreed with me, including CSCMP CEO and president Rick Blasgen, who wrote, “I totally agree with you about fuel surcharges, rising fuel expense, driver capacity – blah, blah, blah to be sure!” and Greg Andrews of AdTran, who wrote, “I second that plea to end the “slide drone” explaining the state of Logistics-Transportation.”
But not everyone saw it this way. Jeff Moore of Lakeside Logistics is one of several with this perspective: “I don’t agree with you on your reference to every speaker bringing up what I would call the “biggest issues in transportation today!” The reason everyone brings this up is it’s a “real” issue, and believe it or not many companies still don’t get it! We have to keep harping on it because we live this every day in our industry and we need everyone to be aware and to work together to try and solve some of these very serious issues.”
My response in general is that I think most companies get it – there’s just a big difference in how they are responding.
So, keeping it light as we approach the end of year, I proposed use of an acronym that I would make freely available to all that we could use to sum up rather quickly this litany of challenges, enabling speakers to “move on to more value-added material” with dispatch. My suggestion was RISCED.
- Rates (rising)
- Infrastructure (lousy in the U.S.)
- Service demands (customers keep raising the requirements)
- Capacity (who’s got a truck?)
- Energy (ok, I needed a vowel, and used this instead of fuel)
- Driver shortages
But recognizing it could use some work, we opened it up to SCDigest readers for improvement, offering a nice prize (gift card to a major electronics store) for the winner.
We were overwhelmed. Over 350 responses, and one or two more still show up every day. They range from the thoughtful to the ridiculous to the profane, but we enjoyed almost every one. Most popular were various riffs on CRISIS, TRUCKS, DRIVE and TIRES – a few of which were pretty good. There were many identical or nearly identical responses -we publish a selection of many suggestions and other fun stuff nearby in News and Views. This also allows us to include a few of the slightly more, well, let’s say unusual suggestions that probably wouldn’t make it past the firewall if we put them in the newsletter.
Most active contestants: JJ Berrall of RedPrairie, Lynford Apple of PricewaterhouseCoopers, and Pat Johnson of Michaels Foods, each of whom sent in numerous suggestions, Ms. Berrall and Mr. Apple in one fell swoop, Mr. Johnson whenever the muse inside him took hold.
Best creative idea that didn’t qualify: Kevin Murphy of the Borders Group, who offered the intriguing concept/ term of “Transportunities.” He later wrote back and said the term appeared to already be taken, but our Google check finds only two obscure references. Not an acronym, but we like it – a half prize (busting the promotional budget) to Mr. Murphy. I suspect this term will show up on many presentations from here on out.
The “OK we’re taking this a little too far” award to the rather large group who sent in very long acronyms, like “DISCREPANCY”, “CHALLENGED” and all kinds of things that would be hard to fit on one slide. This includes friend of SCDigest Doug King of QVC, who offers “DISCOVERING” – and even sent along the artwork! Sorry Doug – too long!
The “Dan was close” award to the many readers who basically liked my first attempt, but re-arranged things a bit. Example: Don Call of Georgia-Pacific, who had offered a few such permutations, including, “Replace ‘Service Demands’ with ‘Increasing Service Demands’ and you get IDRIVE:
Increasing service Demands
The “Vanna White” award again to Lynford Apple of PriceWaterhouseCoopers, who offered a number of pretty good ideas, but just kept needing another letter or two to make them work. He asked if he could “buy a vowel” or other letters. The answer is maybe, but we would have to use the prize money.
The “wow, I better think about this” award to Mark Bedeman of Accenture Supply Chain Solutions, who wrote: “This list is missing one vital and highly threatening new cost, particularly for those in Europe, but for sure one day in the US - Road Pricing. Once the governments, national, regional and local realize how easy it will be to charge via satellite based GPRS systems for road use, by day and time of day, load capacity, and route etc, the industry will be “hammered”! This makes the choice of an acronym even harder…” No prize, but thanks for a future SCDigest article idea.
The “over confidence” award to Jeff Gantt of Manhattan Associates, who started his two submissions out with the statement: “50 bucks here I come.”
The “best rejoinder” award to Tim Meester from an unspecified retailer, who wrote: “If you would like, I could submit this to our AGC (Acronym Governance Committee) for review.”
OK, enough suspense. Our small committee was not extremely overwhelmed with any one submission. After seeing what we were getting, we looked for one that was short enough, actually seemed like one people might use, didn’t torture the acronym by stretching the phrases too much, and connoted some sense of pain, urgency, challenge, etc. We strongly considered OUCH from Mark Shary at BestTransport, CURSED, from David Lynch of Dorman Products, FREIGHT from Mike Reese at Hershey Foods, DIESEL from Wally Harris, SCARED from Ronald Factor of Rogers in Toronto, DREADS from Gregg Lanyard of CombineNet, STORMS from Pat Johnson and SCRAPE from a few people (details on the link).
In the end, we decided that the several entries that used CRISES were in the winner pool – short, sweet, urgent, and a couple added in “security,” which we should have included. We randomly drew among several CRISES submissions, and the winner is Greg Andrews of ADTRAN: Capacity Rates Infrastructure Security Energy Shortage of drivers. You could add one more S on the end to include Service. Sorry to those others who had this idea but were not drawn. Awards on there way to Greg and Kevin Murphy.
Any submissions you especially liked? Will you actually use CRISES or any of these suggestions? How about “Transportunities?” Is there a better idea still floating out there? Let us know your thoughts.