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Route to Market & Supply Chain Blog

FMCG Humour: Supply Chain Communication Clarity

Posted by Dave Jordan on Wed, Sep 17, 2014

The United States of America, the US of A, Uncle Sam and the land of the three. No, not a typo but three visits to USA by yours truly, that is.  Two for business and one for pleasure but you cannot visit there without having fun even if it is after a bit of a boring day discussing the details of how to make better soap.

While I have many great memories from the trips there is something humorous that always stands out from each visit. During the first visit to San Francisco for an externally run training course I was told that my English was quite good. The second visit was to Chicago and here after a food fight in a restaurant I was brought a plate of frogs’ legs to make me feel at home.......

humpur_FMCG_SUPPLY_CHAIN_LANGUAGEThe most recent expedition was to West Point near New York City. Not even Jack Bauer could get me to reveal the reason why I was there. Strictly classified. Anyway, in every restaurant or bar bathroom was a sign stating boldly “Staff must was hands”. Well, I waited and waited but nobody came so eventually I washed them myself.

I recently blogged about the lack of clarity in general business language and here I take another look at how a few extended supply chain phrases and terms might have alternative meanings.

Sales are buoyant

The entire sales team is on a team building exercise on a boat

Volumes have softened

The freezer control on the ice cream warehouse has broken down

Service improvement

There is a new speaker system in the church

Operational efficiency

Hospital surgeons are working very well

Forecast accuracy

The weather guy got it right for once

Month-end peaking

Ordering a Chinese roast crispy duck soon after collecting salary

Stock control

A cheap remote for the TV

Capital investments

Buying a house in London or Paris or Rome

Quality control

Expensive remote for the TV

Sales remain buoyant

They are still messing around on that boat

Stock availability

Lots of gravy left over after the roast beef

Bill of materials

A guy called William from the RM/PM warehouse

Lost sales

Inevitable; we have called out the coast guard

Promotional planning

A rarely used HR tool

Transport provider

A taxi

Balanced scorecard

Golf - 74 shots on the front nine & eactly the same on the back nine

Factory gate prices rise

Now it costs more to put a barrier at the front of the factory

Pallet configuration

How an artist arranges paint


A psychiatrist singing an Eminem song

Stock take

Your FMCG warehouse has just been robbed

Pallet utilisation

How much of the pallet is covered with paint


How the boat captain feels as he finally brings the sales team back

While these are English, English-centric I am sure many exist in other languages. Why not share your alternative supply chain meanings below?

Click here for more supply chain lexicographic guffawing.

Image courtesy of Stuart Miles freedigitalphotos.net

Tagss: FMCG, Dave Jordan, Humour, KPI, Supply Chain, Sales, Inventory Management & Stock Control