Hat’s Incredible: A Day In The Life Of ALAN
Fun fact: I rarely wear hats, unless you count bicycle helmets.
But on a recent day, the ALAN team and I found ourselves donning numerous chapeaux over the course of just a few hours – so much so that we could have given Diane Keaton a run for her money. . .
The first hat was planned. I had traveled to Chicago to present ALAN’s disaster simulation game, which helps teach logistics professionals about the supply chain difficulties they’ll encounter during a disaster – and provides them with the tools they’ll need to create better solutions for the same.
It’s always a fun role to play, and I’m pleased to say the participants passed with flying colors.
The second hat was also a happy one, because when ALAN is at conferences or roundtables, it’s not uncommon for us to rub elbows with people who want to know more about this amazing industry.
After the simulation, I had the absolute honor of providing advice to two students who attended our simulation and are interested in careers in logistics. I was also able to connect some other professionals who are job hunting with several seasoned industry professionals who can point them in the right direction. (And I know these mentors will come through; one of the things I love about the supply chain industry is how willing people are to help others with their career plans).
Meanwhile, some massive storms had begun wreaking havoc across the Eastern United States. And darned if I hadn’t forgotten to pack my communicator’s hat.
So while I was out of pocket presenting the simulation and juggling some other responsibilities that I’ll tell you about in a minute, our amazing team of communications staff and volunteers (thank you Lori, Meg, Robert, and Noelle) worked diligently to get the word out about how businesses could support the response.
In addition, they created some social media about our CSCMP event and even trusted me to be a photographer (which is hat #4 in case anyone’s counting)
Shortly thereafter it was clear that it was time to trot out hat #5, which is one of ALAN’s oldest and most well-worn. Because the storms had serious impacts on supply chain infrastructure and regulation, ALAN worked diligently to provide businesses that were operating in the affected areas with information about road closures, re-entry requirements, and where to get waivers for Hours of Service and fuel. Messaging like this is critical for supply chain resilience and recovery, and we are always happy to play a role in making sure it’s widely shared, even if we do occasionally have to burn the midnight oil to do it.
Needless to say, we also spent a substantial amount of time with hat#6, aka connecting humanitarian organizations with the logistics resources they need. That day, this involved facilitating the move of a container that will be used in a farm-to-table veterans’ training initiative, looking for donated forklifts for a food bank and learning that we’d successfully connected a donor of boxes with a food bank in Atlanta (a win-win for both organizations since it will keep those boxes out of the waste stream and help the food bank process more fresh food). It also involved a fair amount of gratitude, because we love to see good things like this happen.
And of course all of this was also happening during the COVID-19 Outbreak –a situation ALAN had already been monitoring and sharing information about via e-mails, social media and our website.
That day we set up some technology – hat #7 – for monitoring related supply chain metrics.
I also met with a freight tech company to discuss how we can use its solution to improve humanitarian logistics. (Stand by for this one – cause it’s gonna be cool!)
Last but not least, while I was on the plane home (and writing this blog), I continued to lay the groundwork for a TED-style talk that ALAN has been invited to present later this spring.
By the time I touched down, I’d had the good fortune of recruiting a cross-functional team of volunteers who had agreed to survey businesses on how they work or want to work with government [Survey Here], so I could present this research (hat #8) And remarkably, I didn’t have to twist a single arm to do it. (Thank you Jon, Mitch and Alex!)
THE POINT OF THIS RE-CAP
Now I know what you’re thinking: Perhaps there was a full moon or something in the air. Or maybe it was simply “one of those days” that we all occasionally have.
But truthfully? It was pretty par for the course, not to mention a fairly accurate snapshot of the range of activities ALAN is involved in during the “calm,” non-hurricane season.
And we wouldn’t have it any other way – because true supply chain relief isn’t just about meeting immediate needs, it’s also about finding ways to help businesses do a better job of collaborating, communicating and preparing, so that when tough times come, our response can be even tougher.
Which brings me to my final point: None of the things I’ve described would be possible without the many businesses and individuals who have donned one of the most important hats of all: ALAN supporter.
Whether you are a Lead sponsor, Sustainer, Sponsor, Supporter, Contributor, Patron or In-Kind Donor, your contributions are the reason that we are still here 15 years in (and counting ), and they provide the fuel that allows us to save lives through logistics each and every day.
So thank you. My hat is off to you. Pun intended.