The Supply Problem
Jeremy Hatch

First it was dogs. Then giraffes. We weren't sure what would come next, after a pair like that, but we felt that the third stream would indicate the pattern for the future. We were a new company, testing unknown markets, and all we could do was collect data for the time being. But when the stream of giraffes dried up and was replaced with a stream of fish, of all things, delivered each morning in a fifty-pound sack, alongside the mail. . . well, what conclusion could we draw from that? There is no such thing as an aberration where every instance is aberrant. Predictability was clearly not a factor. We would just have to do our best with whatever came through the door.
The Marketing guys went ballistic when we presented this conclusion.
"What kind of company are we?" they shouted, in unison, at The Meeting. "What kind of image are we trying to project?" And each one of them fixed an accusing glare upon the Procurement guys. That is, us. In general. Me, in particular. The Majordomo of Supply.
Once more in unison:
"Where did the giraffes go? Our vendors are going to be very unhappy. And now it's fish -- fish now! Who does your annual review, anyway?" This to me.
There were complaints about the smell. That's when I knew our days were numbered.
Of course it wasn't our fault -- and certainly not mine, even though I had responsibility for The Supply. It was just bad luck. The whole enterprise was doomed from the fish onwards. The Supply changed every time we found the corresponding Demand. The Demand is always somewhere, but if you can't find it in time to recoup your investment it won't do you any damn good. Nobody can succeed with a Supply like that.