Words & Other Things

As many of you know, I’ve been reading Erik Larson’s book about Churchill during the German blitzkrieg of England in 1940-41, and have tried to glean lessons about leadership and how one faces death and destruction, and survives/even triumphs. Very interesting read. And Churchill’s speeches clearly rallied his people (and America), and are remembered even to this day: “We shall fight on the beaches…we shall never surrender…”

I was not around for Roosevelt’s famous “The only thing we have to fear is fear itself” (I know I’m old—but not THAT old 😊) that helped rally America out of the great depression and it, too, is still remembered and repeated to this day, nearly 100 years later.

The power of WORDS is impressive.

I do remember hearing John F. Kennedy’s words as a young kid, “Ask not what your country can do for you; ask what you can do for your country”. Inspirational then and now.

And though I was never the #1 fan of George W. Bush or Barack Obama, I will NEVER forget when each of them won me over for good.

October 30, 2001, Game 3 of the World Series, and America still on edge from 9/11, George Bush strode to the mound at Yankee Stadium and delivered a perfect strike in the ceremonial “first pitch” even though millions of people (myself included) worried that he might be assassinated there, out in the open by himself in the middle of the diamond. Bush, who was never a great speaker, did with this action the same thing, though. Rallied the people and courageously showed that there was hope and a future. That day, I became a fan. (Funny side story—Derek Jeter, the Hall of Fame Yankee shortstop, told President Bush before he went out “Don’t bounce it. They’ll boo you”. New Yorkers are a tough crowd 😊).

And on June 26, 2015, when President Obama went to deliver the eulogy for the nine black parishioners mindlessly shot down in cold blood by a 21 year old white supremacist after praying with them at the Charleston, South Carolina Emanuel African Methodist Episcopal Church, to deliver solace to the families, the community and the nation, and spoke about grace (many of the victims’ families had already displayed incredible grace in forgiving and praying for the shooter) he extemporaneously broke into song, singing Amazing Grace and lifting the spirits of those in the church and throughout America and the world, I became a fan.

I will never forget either of those moments and the strength and pride in humankind that they gave to me and millions of others.

It would be so timely today if something someone says/does in the near future will be one of the things that not only lifts our spirits and rallies our nation, but is remembered for generations to come as a symbol of the strength and the resilience of the human spirit.

When the Wagon Goes Into the Ditch, What Do You Do?

NOT the time to argue, point fingers about how it got INTO the ditch (usually there’s enough blame to go around).

You need to figure out how to get it OUT of the ditch. Basic common sense.

That’s what I hate about people pointing fingers and blaming others (China, Trump, Obama, WHO, CDC, DiBlasio, NY State, whoever) for where we find ourselves today. Trust me, there will be plenty of time (And ink. And internet outlets.) to lay blame when this is over. We can all sort that out then.

Now, though, let’s focus ALL our attention on how to get through this please.

Two thoughts in this regard:

1. I watched a very responsible 5 minute segment on NBC Nightly News last night on how to best keep your house germ free. All the things you can do to help avoid infecting you and your family. My question though: Why did NBC not show anything like that BEFORE this pandemic? Shouldn’t they/the press have better prepared us for this mess? Didn’t they (and everyone else) have fair warning that global epidemic was only a matter of time? So why did THEY TOO wait until the shit hit the fan? Why no 5 minute segments on the nightly news about this last year? Is the media at fault then too for us not being prepared better? I suppose you can make that argument (I guess I just did 😊) but it is impractical, and if they HAD been showing stuff like that on the nightly news last year, no one would be watching and they’d be off the air.
2. I’ve been reading Erik Larson’s book about Churchill during the German blitzkrieg of England. Great book and lots of lessons, I believe, for us in this time (War, right?) In early December, 1940, Churchill called his top military advisors together to put together a counterattack on a German city to rival the death and destruction (and sheer terror) that British citizens of Coventry had others had experienced over the past few weeks. He asked them to let him know the strength of the German Air Force, the Luftwaffe, so they knew what to expect. But, I guess not surprisingly, estimates of German air strength put together by all the British military leaders varied so much that no one really a clue how many aircraft they actually had. BUT…it was the same when he asked how many actual aircraft the RAF, HIS air force, had. And the numbers he got were as widely varied as it was for the enemy. And those were THEIR aircraft! And THEY didn’t even know how many planes they had. Unbelievable (maybe). But very typical, I’d bet.

My point is that this shit is hard. There is the fog of war, and even the best folks, trying their hardest, are gonna have a hard time making ANYTHING go smoothly or even look smooth. Having beds and ventilators and masks and nurses and doctors and patients etc all in the right place at the exact right time is very tough. (Logistics, once again, plays a key role as it does in any war). And things are changing VERY quickly, and unpredictably, as we know, so every “best guess” is not gonna be right. To me, what you ask for is cool, calm level-headedness, crazy hours of effort, everyone doing their best, cutting some slack for whoever, and pulling together to get through this. We can play the big blame games later.

If I’m drowning and someone comes up and throws me a life preserver, I don’t ask them who they voted for in the last election. I don’t ask their race or religion. Right now we need to stop the second guessing and the know-it-all bullshit and just everyone do their best to just “do the right thing” and help each other out. Less “noise” in an emergency is usually a good thing.

Focus on the goal at hand. Do your best. Be safe. Be strong.

Let’s get through this first.

Thanks,
Jim Berlin (Founder and CEO)

Every Link Matters

“For the want of a nail the shoe was lost,
For the want of a shoe the horse was lost,
For the want of a horse the rider was lost,
For the want of a rider the battle was lost,
For the want of a battle the kingdom was lost,
And all for the want of a nail.”

This epidemic has rightly been deemed a war. A war on ALL of mankind by an enemy none of us can see.

And some of the rules of war still apply.

Max Boot wrote years ago:

“Amateurs talk strategy. Professionals talk logistics. That well-worn saying, sometimes attributed to General Omar Bradley, contains an obvious element of wisdom. Modern militaries cannot fight without a lengthy supply chain, and the success or failure of major operations can turn on the work of anonymous logisticians”.

(And if you don’t believe me, or Max Boot, ask anyone who’s ever gone into battle. From the days of Genghis Khan to the war in Iraq or Afghanistan).

Same holds true today as this poster indicates:

If one link breaks, the chain falls apart.

So, we ALL need to do our jobs on our home fronts, to support our heroes who are on the front lines. They go into work every day knowing better than any of us how this exposes them and their families to this disease. But they go. They protect themselves as best they can/but they go.

And that’s what should be expected from the rest of us. Work safe. Work smart.

From the office (safely—wash hands, social distance, wipe things down)

Or from home.

In the factory that is producing all the supplies/ventilators (or a basic part FOR that ventilator).

In the warehouse (safely) that is receiving/storing/shipping the food and other goods

In the grocery stores that provide the various products to our communities that we all need to survive.

And in the many trucks that bring the product from the farm or factory—step by step (and know it or not, there are LOTS of steps involved) through the entire supply chain, and then (if you ordered online) right to your door, so you don’t have to venture outside any more than necessary.

THIS IS WHAT IT TAKES!

And clearly, there ARE risks to us doing all the above/No Doubt. So MINIMIZE the risk as best you can. Work smart. Work safely That only makes sense.

But please, Please, PLEASE—FIND A WAY to KEEP DOING YOUR JOB so that the brave doctors and nurses on the very front line (WAY more dangerous) can do theirs.

We are all TRULY connected, not only as people, but through the supply chain that physically connects us all, even when we need to be apart

Stay strong, and thank you for your efforts.

Onward!

-Jim Berlin (Founder & CEO)

Finding A Way

As we continue to (inch by inch/day by day) navigate this global crisis, SO proud of how the LP team is responding worldwide—finding a way. Thank you, all.

Delivering products that keep the grocery shelves stocked.

Working onsite at customer warehouses to help them get their products out.

Delivered 17 truckloads of product to Costco dist centers to keep the supplies coming/stores full.

Helping one of our banking customers get computers to their staff so they can work remotely.

Working to procure and supply local first responders, medical and nursing facilities with much needed PPE (personal protective equipment).

Keeping our customers informed about port/airport/road/border situations worldwide on a real time basis through various dashboards our BI guys created. (And then having ops helping them figure out appropriate solutions)

Helping a brand new customer set up the huge growth in their fulfillment/ecommerce business.

Housecleaning in the offices, both literally, with daily desk scrubdowns and making sure everyone is safe-distancing and washing their hands; to fixing processes, doing overdue data entry, working on billing/collections etc.

IT guys have set up a whole bunch of useful tools and communication to make sure the folks working from home are connected and productive.

A centralized coronavirus communication page set up by Scott and Ryan that is updated and sent out to all our customer and partners:
www.logisticsplus.net/lp/coronavirus-critical-updates/

And I’m sure there are many more.

Basically it continues to be us supporting the front line heroes and the global economy that provides for all of us and our families around the world/safely and efficiently.

One thing our customers all know for sure. We’re here for them, whether “here” is in the office or in the truck or at the warehouse or at home.

But we’re here.

A lot of others in our industry can’t say that right now. We certainly can/with pride.

Thank you all! Onward!

-JB

Toilet Paper?? Really??

“Fear is contagious too.”

Panic begets panic. Calm begets calm.

And panic never helps. Reminds of one of legendary basketball coach John Wooden’s quotes: “Be quick, but never hurry.”

So, being stocked up does make good sense. Just in case.

But 1. I don’t get the “take everything you can find” mentality. And
2. I REALLY don’t get the toilet paper craze.

For one thing, excessive shitting is not generally a symptom of this disease.

But secondly, Jeez, people—LOTS of ways to wipe your ass.

When I was living in a cave for six months (well, that’s ANOTHER story, people) we used to use whatever we had—newspapers, socks, T-shirt sleeves, leaves, whatever. Gross, but better than nothing “in a pinch” (ha ha). But, hey, all of us have garden hoses. Bathtubs. Showers.

So, people—Don’t hoard the toilet paper! Leave some for the other guy.

That’s the smartest policy for everyone “in the end” 😉

Keep Living

We could save 45,000 American lives THIS YEAR.

And EVERY year. Starting TODAY!

And it’s easy.

All it would take is for President Trump to announce a national US speed limit of 20 mph!

Instantly, 45,000 lives will be saved. Easy. But why DON’T we do that?

Because people don’t want to live their lives at that pace (even though as recently as our great grandparents would have been thrilled—AND AMAZED—to get around so quickly).

That is not how we deal with the very real (can I say—epidemic?) of highway deaths year after year.

So, what DO we do:

We buckle up.
We look both ways.
We watch out for the other guy.
We don’t drink and drive.

Yet still, year after year, over 100 Americans still die every single day.

“It’s not the same” you say. “COVID-19 is a virus, something we can’t even see!!!”

True. But I’d bet that most fatalities likely never see the guy who ran the red light, or the drunk driver who crossed the center line and plowed right into them and their family.

It may be “different”. But not all that different.

I certainly take this pandemic seriously and I know it may kill me and others I know/love. I get that.

But is the “cure” gonna be worse than the disease?

Sure—I know when I fly or drive to go to the beach or to visit my kids, I could die as well (45,000 Americans A YEAR actually do).

But I still do it. We ALL still do it.

We buckle up.
We look both ways.
We watch out for the other guy.
We don’t drink and drive.
And we hope to God our number is not up that day.

We live our lives, with care and with common sense, but we don’t stay home and not venture out (and I know that I, for one, would have a REAL HARD TIME driving @ 20 mph 😀).

I don’t get this. I really don’t.

Just sayin…

-JB

We Did Our Jobs

Well, it’s Friday. Let’s all head down to the bar for a drink.

Oh…wait. Just kidding 🤪 Our routines are gonna change—no doubt.

BUT…remember my “Inch by inch, life’s a cinch. Yard by yard, life is hard” thought for the day?

Well, as of today, WE MADE IT THROUGH WEEK 1!

Proud of everyone. We did our jobs. We helped our customers. We solved problems. We stayed strong. We worked safe and smart. We pulled together. We communicated. We FIGURED THINGS OUT.

That is what we do.

I’m afraid it may be like this for awhile. For how long…who knows?  But we’ll get through it.

Enjoy the weekend,

-JB

Inch By Inch

“Yard by yard, life is hard. Inch by inch, life’s a cinch”.

Keep doing the things we can control. Staying positive helps, in any situation. Eating right. Maybe trying to lose some weight (now that the bars are all closed so there won’t be the opportunity to eat a dozen wings with your beer when you’re out with your friends). Ditto for smoking. I know a lot of folks who ONLY smoke when they are out at the bar. Maybe use this “opportunity” to finally quit that terrible habit.

Stay in shape (or get in shape). I will miss training with Sam at Iron Oxygen while they are closed, but you don’t need to go to a gym to stay in shape. Work out at home. If you have weights or machines, use those. If not, the old fashioned push ups, sits ups etc work just fine (if you don’t believe me, check out Hershel Walker, ex-football player). Go out for a run, or just for a walk.

Don’t get negative. Don’t be “chicken little”. Like most tough times in life, we need to face it, to deal with it, to get through it.

Inch by inch when things get tough. But stay positive. Stay strong. Get through it.

-JB

The Chain That Connects Us

As we know, in 2001 it was the firefighters and the police and other first responders who drew the “short straw” and had to charge into burning, collapsing towers. Most of them did, without hesitation, and many paid for their heroism with their lives. It’s what brave people do.

Today, the nurses and doctors are our heroes, risking their lives daily to help us/the world deal with this confounding pandemic.

To me, it could be easy for them (or the firefighters or cops in 2001) to say, “I’m not going in there. That building might collapse”. Or, “Hey, if I go into the hospital today I might get the virus and bring it home to MY wife/husband and kids”.

It would be easy for them to say. Not irrational at all.

Probably smart and definitely SAFER for them and their families than going into work every day and “doing their job”.

But, by and large, THEY DON’T. They go. Every shift. Every day. At little thought for their own health and welfare. Isn’t that irrational?

But why do they go? Because brave people step up to the challenge.

Just like in a “normal” war (and I agree with the analogy that this IS a war, against an invisible enemy), people actually charge into battle, head towards the bullets, take the hill. They don’t simply put their safety first, and refuse to go because it is dangerous. It IS dangerous. But they still go.

I get the hunker down that is going on, and it makes sense for many. You don’t need to hit the bars every weekend, or to get your nails done. But, as I’ve said before, though our jobs here at LP are not as firefighters or policemen, or nurses or doctors, we still play an INDISPENSABLE ROLE in getting things where they need to be to support them, so that they—the true heroes, can do their job amidst all the disease and fear and uncertainty that they will be face to face with every day.

If their masks can’t get delivered. If they run out of sanitizing machines, or ventilators, they won’t be able to do THEIR jobs.

Or if food can’t get to the stores, and people start to have to fight to feed their kids, or to scavenger to find their medicines, I think we all know how ugly things can turn.

So, we’ll keep doing our job. We’ll keep finding a way (despite the many obstacles, some unavoidable, some-panic created) to support them from “the rear”. To keep things functioning.

I’ve heard the term “failure of imagination” to explain how we could not see this coming/not be prepared for this, and I agree. We didn’t see this coming.

Well, it is also a failure of imagination not to see how TRULY BAD things might get if this goes on for months/not weeks, and if society really shuts down. Just stop and think about that for a minute. That scares the shit out of me.

And, the term supply chain actually MEANS something. It is all a chain. If one of our customers, who makes a small part that then goes somewhere else—to another factory, in a different city/country—to be part of a ventilating machine is shut down, and that ventilating machine then cannot be produced, and is not there for the doctors and nurses (and patients) who need it to use, how does that work out?

If we can’t get respirator masks to the nurses in the hospitals and they get the disease while treating the sick and we lose them—if they get sick and die—then what??? Imagine…

We/things are truly all connected. And while shutting down that manufacturer, or stopping that trucker from driving cross country to deliver his goods, or stopping that flight that would otherwise bring in respirator masks might FEEL good and safe and right at the moment, I think we all need to look further down the road, look further down the SUPPLY CHAIN to recognize the dire UNINTENDED CONSEQUENCES of those seemingly smart, actions.

Just my 2 cents (and probably not worth any more than that). Sorry 🙂

So, let’s all be smart. Let’s keep our distance, sanitize, work from home if needed. Let’s be smart.

But let’s find a way to still play our role here, one way or the other, supporting the heroes at work and the nation’s economy that provides for us all.

-JB

One Day at a Time

We’ve seen this once before. 9/11.

The world did not know what was happening/coming next. People living in fear. Different cause/same effect.

But now as then, the brave people who are critical to the economy held their ground, did their jobs and got America/and the world through that terrible time.

The first responders.
The nurses and doctors and janitors.
The truck drivers and warehouse workers.
The airplane pilots and sea captains.
The flight controllers and the flight attendants.
The dock workers and factory workers.
The cops and the firefighters.
Our political leaders.
And the providers of all of our public services.

The people who continued to work, and to move the goods that supply the food and the medicine and everything that’s essential that keep our country, and our world, running. “The home of the brave”, right?

I always say, our jobs are not sexy. “What is logistics?”, I ask kids who come in here for job interviews —“We Move Shit”, I tell them Not sexy. But ESSENTIAL. Without us, nothing moves.

So, today, in spite of the fears, we need to stay at our posts; whether that be the office, the warehouse, the trucks – we help keep this world moving.

We’ve all seen this movie before and unfortunately already know what it can look like in “the end“. It can get pretty ugly.

We’ve already seen people standing in line for hours, and fighting for frigging toilet paper. And that’s even before things have gotten too bad (and who Really knows how bad it might/might not Actually get?)

But none of us want to find “how low can we go” as a community, a nation or a species. (I know I don’t 🙂

So helping those brave nurses and doctors get their supplies/keep functioning.

Helping those brave folks at all the Walmart’s and Wegmans stay open to provide food and necessities to their communities. THIS IS WHAT WE DO!

We are the sherpas. We are “the control towers” who help get people/things where they need to go, whether it is easy or, like now, when it gets hard.

Hang tough. One day at a time.

Keep America and the world rolling.
Keep the hospitals and stores open.
Help deliver the goods and the services required.

The world stops and falls apart without people like us.

It sucks right now without March Madness, and the NBA and NHL and MLB, St. Patty’s Day parades. It sucks. But the world still goes on without all of that.

And, as much as we enjoy them, those things are not truly Critical to our survival. Not at all. And those athletes we worship are not the REAL heroes (as they’ll be the first ones to admit).

WE—and the front line folks who will help get us all through this, who will keep the wheels turning and the shelves full and the hospitals functioning. Now it’s our turn. WE’LL be the heroes now.

Be safe. Be smart.
But let’s FIND A WAY to get ‘er done, guys. One day and one delivery at a time.

Hero Time!

-JB