In an era where many cannot imagine an efficient supply chain operating without the benefit of technology, Mumbai India has an example of a lean, just-in-time, 99.99 percent accurate supply chain operating without any form of technology.
In India, “tiffin” is a packed lunch typically prepared for working Indian men by their wives after they have left for work. These tiffins are delivered by the dabbawalla, of whom almost 50 percent are illiterate. This supply chain delivers home cooked food to the office in time for lunch, and then returns the empty tiffin-boxes by the end of the working day. In a crowded city like Mumbai where merely boarding a local train is a huge challenge, toting a bulky tiffin carrier and delivering it on time is a daunting task.
Started in 1890, today 5,000 dabbawallas serve 200,000 customers in Mumbai. This involves 400,000 last mile transactions per day (including the return of empty tiffin carriers) with an error rate of 1 in 16 million transactions. This high rate of dependability earned this supply chain a six sigma designation and an ISO 9001 accreditation.
[Source: Logistics Viewpoints]
Paresh Dave for The LA Times:
Backed by more than $20 million in venture capital, Soylent has emerged as one of several popular start-ups hoping to change what and how people eat. Meant to be mixed with water or other liquids, the powder has enough fats, carbohydrates and other nutrients to replace a traditional meal, according to the company. People looking for a quick fix, such as software programmers in Silicon Valley, have become devotees.
Eat real food people?
In one study, some foods boost your immune system. In another, they weaken it. What’s going on? Apparently, we can’t measure people’s diet effectively and so the research is mostly irreproducible. This is a problem that plagues scientific research, too.
Gina Kolata writing for The Upshot:
Dozens of studies are publicized every week. But those studies hardly slake people’s thirst for answers to questions about how to eat or how much to exercise. Does exercise help you maintain your memory? What kind? Walking? Intense exercise? Does eating carbohydrates make you fat? Can you prevent breast cancer by exercising when you are young? Do vegetables protect you from heart disease?
The problem is one of signal to noise. You can’t discern the signal — a lower risk of dementia, or a longer life, or less obesity, or less cancer — because the noise, the enormous uncertainty in the measurement of such things as how much you exercise or what exactly you eat, is overwhelming. The signal is often weak, meaning if there is an effect of lifestyle it is minuscule, nothing like the link between smoking and lung cancer, for example.
If you want to become a vegetarian but waited for something to convince you, watch this.
Intense price pressure from retailers and discounters is forcing food manufacturers to purchase ingredients from all around the world, including preprocessed foodstuffs. This has resulted in enormous flows of goods, and once these products have passed through the hands of three, four or more middlemen before they reach manufacturers, it becomes extremely difficult to trace their origins. This jungle of cross-border trading gives criminals a golden opportunity to re-label commodities. After all, the authorities have little control over what is stored and transferred in Europe’s cold storage warehouses.
A prime example is Werk II, a refrigerated warehouse in the western German town of Neuss, which served as a gateway for a large proportion of the allegedly tainted frozen convenience food to enter the country. In December and January alone, at least 14 shipments were unloaded here, and then sent to supermarket chains. The concrete complex in the district of Norf serves as a transshipment center for goods from across Europe. A sign in German, English, French, Spanish, Polish and Russian directs delivering drivers to the reception office.
And you know they don’t lie.