The global supply chain is an impressive feat of modern management. The problem is that in its quest to squeeze out ever greater efficiencies with its "just-in-time" system of inventory it has left itself extremely vulnerable to large, rare and unpredictable events such as the recent Japanese earthquake-tsunami.
Such events are, of course, unpredictable but one way to prepare for them is to create a small 'just-in-case' inventory. It might not be efficient but, when it really matters, it could save a company's bacon.
If you are a slave to efficiency and "six-sigma" thinking, it might behoove you to unlearn your strict reliance on "just-in-time" inventory … just in case the unexpected happens sometime in the future.
P.S. I realize the cartoon doesn't really match the theme of this post … I just thought it was funny.