Trying to guess

Inventory control is not always as boring as it sounds.

I once was in charge of ordering parts and verifying shipments.  I ordered an unusual oil filter for a customer. What I got was a little cellophane bag holding a single bolt.

Who sees “oil filter” on the order form and thinks that a bolt is a worthy substitute?

Another order requested six spark plugs. In came six pickup bumpers. Think about the difference in box size for spark plugs and bumpers.

I don’t know; I’d think the shipper would have noticed.

It wasn’t unusual for a part number to have a substitute. For example, a can of grease might originally be S102. Then it would have a substitute number, maybe S112.

The can of worms potential was incredible.

I ordered a case of S102. OK, the order form substituted to the new number: S112 and I got a case of fan belts. No cigar.

But here’s my favorite. Each part’s package, whether box or bag, had the pick ticket attached. That pick ticket was a computer-generated card which included our dealership name and the part number with description.

So one day I got in, pick ticket attached, a 2-foot square of cardboard.

I spent the rest of the day trying to conjure up the scenario that would have allowed a shipper to think a headlight looked like a flat piece of cardboard.

Inventory control is not always boring.


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