01 June 2021
01 May 2021
"Ships are safe in the harbor, but that's not what ships are for."
-John A. Shedd
An ultra-large Golden class container ship, Ever Given, became stuck in the Suez Canal on 23 March 2021 at 05:30 Coordinated Universal Time (UTC). The ship, operated by Evergreen Marine, was en route from Malaysia to the Netherlands when it ran aground after winds allegedly blew the ship off course. An investigation by Egyptian authorities, who own and operate the canal, is underway.
|Ever Given container ship, stuck in the Suez Canal. |
(C) University of Miami
The Ever Given, a ship as long as the Empire State Building is tall, completely blocked the canal for six days. After being freed and refloated on 29 March, the Ever Given made way for a backlog of over 400 ships to pass through the canal.
However, with a seizure of the Ever Given by Egyptian authorities and a pending $1 billion fine, the ship isn't going anywhere anytime soon.
Time is money
Where is the Suez Canal?
The canal cuts through Egypt, linking the Mediterranean Sea in the north to the Red Sea in the south. It's one of the world's best-known and most important waterways. Nearly 19,000 vessels passed through the canal last year carrying 1.2 billion tons of cargo. Around 13% of maritime trade passes through the Suez Canal, including a large proportion of the world's oil. (Suez Canal Authority; The Wall Street Journal)
|The Suez Canal.|
01 April 2021
"Nor yet be overeager in pursuit of any thing; for the mercurial often happen to leave judgment behind them, and sometimes make work for repentance."
In a recent survey of over 1,000 executives, more than half--in different industries--said their roles had changed due to the pandemic. Some 30 percent said their jobs have changed permanently according to Chicago-based WittKieffer who sponsored the research.
The study raises this implication--many leaders are being asked to do work they weren't previously trained or prepared to do. "While some are excelling in a new environment, other executives are struggling to find their place during the pandemic," the report stated.
© Bredholt & Co.
01 March 2021
"All endeavour calls for the ability to tramp the last mile, shape the last plan, endure the last hours toil."
--Henry David Thoreau
The term "last mile" or "kilometer," metaphorically speaking, is a familiar one for those in the cable television industry or supply chain management. For cable, it's all about getting service to the end-user.
Supply chains are set up to move goods from transportation hubs to final destinations (e.g., UPS, FedEx, Amazon).
The big jab
More recently the last mile concept is being applied to getting Covid-19 vaccines from Pfizer-BioNTech, Moderna, and now Johnson & Johnson manufacturing plants into arms. AstraZeneca is approved in the European Union, UK, and other countries but not the U.S.
|Moderna vaccine. (C) ABC News|
As of this posting, more than 245 million doses have been administered across 107 countries. The latest rate is 6.79 million doses per day. In the U.S. more Americans have now received at least one dose than having tested positive for the virus since the pandemic began. According to the Bloomberg Tracking site, 76.9 million doses have been given. In the last week, an average of 1.82 million doses per day were administered.
In terms of government agencies, the four stages of the vaccine process are authorization; prioritization; allocation; and distribution. After much trial and error, the last mile of the vaccine strategy, vaccination, is catching up with the first mile.
"Complexity is the enemy of speed," someone said. However, obstacles such as accessibility to the shots, are being unraveled with real-time experience.
Because the learning is in the doing, even tackling variants to the original coronavirus.
Every day health care officials, along with private enterprises and volunteers, are figuring out how to turn this unparalleled collaborative venture into a workable solution. There's a long way to go but progress, not success, is the better measuring stick.
The last part of the last mile, jabs in arms, is up to the individual who has the final say in this emergency supply chain. Keep that in mind the next time your organization launches anything.
Landing on Mars
NASA successfully landed its fifth robotic rover on Mars, Thursday, 18 February 2021. Perseverance touched down at 3:55 p.m. ET.
Launched 30 July 2020 on an Atlas V-541 rocket from Complex 41 at Cape Canaveral Air Force Station, Florida, Perseverance traveled 293 million miles to reach the red planet surface of Mars. The ability to explore other planets is made possible by the Ingenuity helicopter (drone) which is part of the mission.
Getting to Mars with help from a United Launch Alliance Atlas V rocket and interplanetary cruise stage was one thing, but slowing down from 12,100 miles per hour to a soft 1.7 mph at landing is another.
What about the last mile?
|Perseverance landing on Mars. (C) NASA|
The rover’s landing featured the typical “seven minutes of terror” that NASA engineers describe in any spacecraft attempt to land on Mars. That’s the time it takes to enter the Martian atmosphere and descend to the surface, and it’s named as such because it takes 11 minutes for any communication to travel from the rover back to Earth--meaning the time delay requires that the spacecraft and rover perform the landing autonomously.
Row, row, row your boat
News reports confirm that Jasmine Harrison from the UK is now the youngest woman to row solo across the Atlantic Ocean.
It took 70 days, three hours, and 48 minutes to row across the Atlantic Ocean--a 3,000-mile journey from the Canary Islands of the northwest coast of Africa to the Caribbean Island of Antigua.
At 21, Ms. Harrison is the youngest woman ever to row solo across an ocean. Her boat is 23 feet long, weighs about a ton, and includes a small cabin and a bunker that she slept in.
|Jasmine Harrison crossing the Atlantic Ocean. |
(C) The Times
- Avoid false starts. They ripple through a system all the way to the end.
- Don't celebrate too soon. Outcomes become clearer only as we get near that last mile.
- Identify a point person to be responsible for last-mile execution. To paraphrase, a successful launch has many sponsors but poor results are an orphan.
- Build flexibility into the organizational culture since it's better to bend than break.
- Use positive and negative feedback from frontline workers and consumers to make adjustments in the strategy.
- What emerges is often better than what's planned. A healthy ego can live with that idea.
01 February 2021
"No one likes to hear it, because it's dull, but the reason you win or lose is darn near always the same - pitching."
--Earl Weaver, Manager, Baltimore Orioles (Baseball Hall of Fame, 1996)
Nineteen sixty-one was a great year for Major League Baseball.
It was baseball's first expansion since the American League entered the major leagues. The Los Angeles Angels played their first season in the American League while the Washington Senators moved to Minnesota and the Twins played their first major league season.
The New York Yankees (109 wins) and Detroit Tigers (101 wins) put on an exciting race for the AL pennant with Detroit holding the lead for more than half of the season. The Yankees fought back and eventually won the pennant on the momentum of a three-game sweep of Detroit during the first weekend of September at Yankee Stadium.
On October 1st Yankee Roger Maris became the first person with sixty-one home runs in one season, dueling with a teammate, Mickey Mantle who hit 54.
New York went on to win the World Series defeating the Cincinnati Reds four games to one.
A bygone era
Major League Baseball players head to spring training this month hoping for a safe season inside a global pandemic. As teams gather in Florida and Arizona, we pause to remember Yankees’ Hall-of-Fame pitcher, Edward Charles (Whitey) Ford, who passed in October of last year at the age of 91.
Ford has been called the best starting pitcher in the long history of the New York Yankees; a six-time World Series champion; and one of the best left-handers of all time. According to sportswriters who covered the team, Ford relied on pinpoint control, mound presence, and maybe a slight trick or two. All within a slight five-foot-ten frame.
He finished his career with a record of 236-106 and a 2.75 ERA. Contributing to Ford's stature were 10 All-Star teams, the Cy Young Award, and World Series MVP in 1961. He was elected to the Hall of Fame in 1974.
Big day in Vehicle City
The news of Ford's passing brought to mind a once-in-a-lifetime meeting with the great pitcher in that magical summer of '61.
|Hall of Fame pitcher, Whitey Ford, New York Yankees.|
(C) Associated Press
The unlikely encounter took place during a grand opening celebration of The Yankee Stadium Store (a discount chain) at the Northwest Shopping Center located at the corner of Clio and Pierson Roads in Flint, Michigan. Whitey Ford was there along with All-Star teammate and catcher, Elston Howard, the first African American player on the Yankees roster.
First baseman, Norm Cash, who would become the American League’s batting champion that year with a .361 average, and pitcher Frank Lary, a two-time All-Star, known as the “Yankee Killer” for his success against the Bronx Bombers represented Detroit.
Veteran Tigers’ broadcaster, Van Patrick, who was succeeded in the 1960s by George Kell and Ernie Harwell served as master of ceremonies.
In the presence of greatness
The special guests, standing on a constructed platform in front of the new Yankee Stadium Store, attracted quite a crowd, according to the book, "Remember Flint, Michigan." The city and its surrounding areas, located just over an hour northwest of Detroit, was a solid fan base with the Tigers broadcasts available on WTRX Flint, WKMH Detroit, and eventually a long-run on WJR Detroit.
At twelve years of age and against great odds, my goal was to maneuver from the back to the front to get as many autographs as possible. What I hadn’t counted on was everyone wanting to do the same thing. With a smaller frame, I worked my way forward reaching the platform, only to be crushed by the crowd.
That was my first lesson about the perils of cutting in line.
On an unusually warm day and separated from my friends, I almost passed out. Whitey Ford noticed, came over to where I was leaning, and in an act of compassion lifted me onto the platform where I could breathe fresh air.
There I was standing in the presence of Elston Howard, Norm Cash, Frank Lary, and Whitey Ford--each with their own career achievements.
The last thing I remember before leaving the platform was a someday Hall of Fame pitcher offering to autograph my baseball. Whitey Ford's signature faded but sixty years later the memory of his kindness has only deepened in my mind.
In 2020 it was reported that in one 42-day span alone, five Hall of Fame members passed away: New York Mets pitcher Tom Seaver; Lou Brock and ace pitcher Bob Gibson of the St. Louis Cardinals; Cincinnati Reds second baseman Joe Morgan; and New York Yankees left-hander Whitey Ford. Detroit Tigers slugger Al Kaline died in April and knuckleballer Phil Niekro passed at the end of December. (The Wall Street Journal)
© Bredholt & Co.
01 January 2021
--H. G. Wells
"... no humanly constructed core idea or business endures forever in its original form."
o What needs changing or remaking?
© Bredholt & Co.
01 December 2020
"I try to find the good in every day with what we have been handed although it's sometimes hard to do."
--Rebecca J. Kurzon, M.D.
As the last page of the current calendar is on display, how should we go about assessing the unimaginable year 2020? A period in which a deadly global virus continues attacking vulnerable populations and those who are undisciplined in their social behavior.
Yes, Covid-19 fatigue is setting in with social distancing, wearing a mask in public (often below the nose), and hand-washing practiced less than nine months ago. The weather becomes a factor in some locations forcing individuals inside with less exposure to sunshine and fresh air.
How to assess?
Perhaps with the distance of time, we'll see the past twelve months as an epochal moment when businesses, governments, and educational institutions discovered they aren't in control after all. That a collective arrogance, what Jim Collins calls "a hubris born of success," came up against an uncontrollable force destabilizing our social systems and economic structures.
Essayist Eric Weiner observed, "The pandemic has made a mockery of our grand plans. Graduations, weddings, job prospects--poof, gone, rolling back down the hill like Sisyphus's boulder."
Thankfully there was help when we needed it. Our attention moved away from captains of industry and celebrities to the doctors, nurses, EMT personnel, grocery clerks, truck drivers, and delivery workers that kept society functioning during the early days of the pandemic--and still do.
An undesirable appointment
There are two types of appointments. The first you initiate by calling your doctor or dentist. Or scheduling your car or truck to be serviced. This is a routine of life.
The other is like meeting up with someone or something not previously planned. Think loss of employment or a death in the family.
A paradoxical season
Consider the following:o An economic turnaround is underway. The total U.S. nonfarm payroll rose by 245,000 in November and the unemployment rate dropped to 6.7 percent from a record high 14.7 percent in April of this year. However, the pace of improvement in the labor markets has moderated in recent months. According to the Bureau of Labor Statistics, notable job gains occurred in transportation and warehousing, professional and business services, and health care.
It's one thing to die from a disease, an accident, or old age. However, it's another thing to be scared to death. Follow the recommended precautions and pay attention to reliable sources of information about Covid-19.