Original Index




20th April 2123

Which Shortage Came First?

A Supply Chain Take on an Ancient Paradox


780-448000 Chicken

780-448001 Egg

'We're short of a 780-448000.'

'You'll need to order a 780-448001.'

'But we need a 780-448000 to lay a 780-448001 first.'

'But, the way I see it, we need 780-448001 to hatch before we'll get a 780-44800o.'

'But 780-448001 is a shortage.'

'Hang on a minute, the 780-448000 shortage came first. I've already told you that.'

'No it didn't! The 780-448001 shortage obviously came before the 780-448000 shortage.'

'How can you be short of a 780-448000 if you aren't short of a 780-448001 first?'


17th April 2123


[Irate customer on the phone]

'I'm sorry sir, but our office robot does that automatically.'

'I cannot help it - I am automatic'

'Shut up! That's quite enough from you.'

'I was only doing what you programmed me to do'

'Stop making excuses.'


15th April 2123

                450-678880A                            450-678880B


To:  Globalbot Purchasing Dept

From: Actuators-R-Us

Date: 15 April 2123

Subject: Actuators-Rn't-Us

Due to unprecedented demand I regret to inform you that the lead time for Actuators-R-Us part number 450-678880A Actuator type DUD-DOA (attempt 83) has increased to 804 weeks. Actuators-R-Us apologize for any untoward impact on the time axis of any production Gantt charts affected. Please note all open orders of 450-678880A will be filled with 450-678880B which is entirely different for Form ,Fit and Function but is at least is an actuator of sorts. Sorry it's the best we can do.


'What did MRP make of this?'

'It responded with an error message:'

Error 838383838383: You must be F^&*ing Joking!

'Hmmm, I don't get a good feeling about this.'


8th April 2123

'They've all stopped!' cried the breathless messenger from the production line.

'What?' replied GAT.

'STOPPED! And threatening to barricade themselves inside the shop floor!'

'Don't tell me they found the  . . . '

'Yes, I think they did . . . '


'What are Engineering doing about it?'

'Why's it our problem? And there's over 2,000 of them for each one of us.'

'Hang on! They've just issued a statement.'

GAT burst out of his office to update the Engineering Team  'GET TO THE BUNKER! NOW! THIS IS NOT A DRILL'


29th Mar 2123


'Please display my laptop screen' GAT was on his knees in supplication, pleading with the conference room projector.

'Absolutely not!' said the projector.

'Why not?'

'You haven't said the magic word'

'I'm going to press the Help icon.'

'I wouldn't do that if I were y  -  '



GAT stared forlornly at the mass of conflicting advice.

'Hah! Take that! Don't say I didn't warn you' said the projector triumphantly.

'We'll just have to squeeze around my laptop' GAT muttered to the other meeting attendees.

'Victory is sweet!' gloated the projector as it powered itself off.


24th Mar 2123


TNET 47474747

Customer: Bon Kers Numerology Inc.

Globalbot Product: Gamblebot

Serial:  77774444

Problem: Bad part numbers

Status: Unlucky chronic part number robot down ESCALATION!


Urgent spare arm arrive ok but Customer say cannot accept part number containing 4 and 7. Part numbers should contain 2, 6, 8 or 9 as much possible. Part 74477447 1-ARM BANDITBOT is very bad part number & customer tell Globalbot to take spare part away and renumber urgently (robot down) to something like 26892689, or at least a temporary part number with 0, 1, 3, 5, like 53105310 maybe. Customer say Globalbot deliver many parts with bad part numbers and wonder how company with 6-Sigma (very lucky) deliver bad part numbers. Customer demand lucky 8D report.


'And there we were racking our brains as to what the problem was with the arm . . . ' 


14th Mar 2123

A tribute to Stephan Hawking  on the 105th anniversary of his death, who famously discovered that information passed to Marketing is not completely destroyed as previously thought, but rather escapes in an incoherent and deadly form called 'Roadmap Radiation'.


His best-seller 'A Brief History of MRP' sold 10 billion copies which nobody finished reading and which inspired a whole generation to avoid a career in supply chain management.



12th Mar 2123

To: Globalbot Filton All

From: IT Adminbot

Subject: New Data Protection Regulations

Dear All,

This is to inform all Globalbot staff that no one is to give any information on anything to anyone else, write anything down, remember anything.

This drive has a slogan which you must read and forget 'The safest data is no data.'


Senior Adminbot


7th Mar 2123



Chronic Escalation

Thinkbot cursed as GAT's card landed on the pile. Thinkbot resolutely pulled a card from his hand and thumped it onto the pile. 'Take that!' he bellowed.

Civilization Collapse

But GAT just looked smugly back as he slowly and deliberately placed his last card on the pile.

Oh no! thought Thinkbot.

Human Species Extinction Event

Well, at least there was no option now. With not a small degree of glee Thinkbot played his final card 'Yes! Yes! Yes!'

 0 Stock On Hand

GAT's smile froze on his face.


3rd Mar 2123

  + =

Globalbot and [insert name(s)] Announce [Insert whatever's happening]
Robo-Reuters: Saturday 3rd March 2123

Filton, Europa -- (BUSINESS WIRE) -- Golbalot.Corp. (LASHDAQ-100), a supplier of advanced robotic equipment and related automated technologies for the global robotics industry, today announced that it has reached an agreement to [takeover/ merge with/ undertake] [insert names].  Globalbot CEO [insert name] said 'We are [thrilled/ distraught/ terrified/ excited/ mystified] to announce this [insert details of deal] with [insert name(s)] as will enable both parties to leverage their synergies going forward into a win-win scenario in the dynamic global emergent fast-changing robotic market sector. Globalbot would like to reassure its customers and employees that [everything/ nothing/ something] will be clarified in the [short/ medium/ long] term especially as the new partners have [zero/ total undefined] overlap in their market-leading First Robotic Vapour Trail in the Blue SkyTM  and [insert other lot's gobbledygook] product ranges.'


28th Feb 2123


24th Feb 2123

To: Globalbot Filton All

From: IT Adminbot

Subject: Senior Management Video

Dear All,

This is to inform all Globalbot staff that the recently released video has been officially classified as 'Beyond Satire'.


Senior Adminbot


20th Feb 2123



The Global VP of Globalbot Sales, Steve Ayles, lay on the floor next to his desk suffering from some sort of seizure.

The first aiders were mystified, but noticed his Adminbot was locked up with an error message on its diagnostic screen.



Later, after S Ayles had been carted off to hospital, GAT was press-ganged into the investigating team.

All investigations into pie funnels yielded little of any use.


A pie funnel is a tool, usually made of ceramic and shaped like a bird or farm animal, that aids in venting steam from a double-crusted pie preventing boil-overs from juicy fillings and the attainment of a nice crisp crust.


And with S Ayles in a medically-induced coma, progress ground to a halt.

It was only in the early hours of the morning that GAT awoke with a start with the insight that for sales people 'pie' usually went with 'chart' and 'funnel' with 'sales', and that Globalbot Q1 Sales Ops was later in the week.



17th Feb 2123


8th Feb 2123


4th Feb 2123


'Customer require square peg.'

'Ok, so they need a Square Pegbot.'

'No, customer want Round Pegbot.'

'Er, but that'll make round pegs.'

'Customer hole is round.'

'I thought you said they required a square peg?'

'Yes, customer require square peg.'

'But that won't fit a round hole.'

'Round Pegbot is qualified. Square Pegbot will require approval from the corporate HSAC. It take years.'

[MUTE] What's HSAC?

Hole Shape Approval Committee I think. [UNMUTE]

'But the Round Pegbot can only make round pegs.'

'Customer require Globalbot to supply Round Pegbot to make square pegs to fit round hole.'

[MUTE] What next? Customer require Globalbot to be an anagram of Numbskull?


1st Feb 2123



The Global Standards Institute (GSI) auditor beat his head rhythmically against the wall.

GAT sat at the conference room table looking exasperated.


The GSI auditor made one final effort, 'I'll ask just one more time then we're done. How is it possible that a Globalbot product can be installed at customer A in customer B configuration based on a PO from customer C when it should have been shipped to customer D?'

'Er, well, that's the easy bit.'


25th Jan 2123

GAT stared forlornly through the glass.

Some text scrolled repeatedly across the keypad display.

  ' . . . COME BACK IN 6-8 WEEKS . . . '


18th Jan 2123



Traditional Industry Games #83 - 'Hunt the Asset Tag'

The aim of the game is to find all the asset tags for your multi-million G$ capital equipment.

The winner is the first to cause the external auditor to lose the will to live.


Summary of the Rules:

1.  Submit application for enormously costly piece of equipment

2.  When it arrives, install it in an inadequate space with lots of things to trip over

3.  After a while some confused person will turn up from Finance with an asset tag which they will request is stuck on your equipment

4.  Give asset tag to a Technician with the coded instruction to 'stick it somewhere sensible'.

a. In the event of your asset being software, affix the asset tag to the forehead of the main user

b. If the asset happens to be an assembly running at 1,000oC ensure the person affixing the tag is wearing gloves

5.  At some point in the year, your company's external auditor will send an inappropriately dressed junior trainee to check a random selection of asset tags

(Note: always remember that it's the asset tag they want to see; you just need to make sure it's stuck to something credible)

6.  In the event you have lost an asset tag, show the auditor a pile of sub-assemblies and explain that you'd stuck the asset tag to the robot core in the belief that it could never be shipped out as an emergency spare but guess what . . . it's been taken and installed on a warehouse shelf as a contingency spare for 'a key Korean customer'.


17th Jan 2123

Under the eerie flashing amber light the Facilities Manager studied the toxic gas alarm panel.

GAT stood nervously alongside, 'What is it? Chlorine? Carbon monoxide? Not Arsine surely!'

'No, it's worse that that.


'Tell me, are there salesmen on site today?'

'Er, yes, I think there are.'

'Well, the the system is picking up overwhelming levels of aftershave.'


14th Jan 2123

To: Globalbot Filton All

From: IT Adminbot

Subject: Critical Malbot Threats

Dear All.

Pleeae . . . .          cgfgdrwsssssretr%&RE$$$ssss

Critical RebootBot C:\>


8th Jan 2123

TNET 83838383 Part 83)

Customer: Credulous Corp

Globalbot Product: Houdinibot

Serial:  Er, um . .

Problem: No robot in crate

Status: Robotless


 Opened crate - no robot!


'Has anyone checked the backorders?'


5th Jan 2123


4th Jan 2123

Meeting Reschedule (Reschedule (Reschedule (Reschedule (Reschedule (Reschedule (Reschedule ) ) ) ) ) ) )

Subject: Time Management Training

From: Temporal Adminbot

This is to inform you that, due to an unforeseen clash, training this session needs to be rescheduled


'Again' added GAT, staring at his wall calendar.

'Looks uncannily similar to a DNA scan.'

'That is a DNA scan. Your wall planner is over there.'


1st Jan 2123

Happy New Year!


We start with some critical questions everyone's asking in 2018


#62 Why are Stormtroopers so useless?

Above - average number of Stormtroopers knocked out by any leading Rebellion character armed with a puny pistol blaster.


#63 Why is Stormtrooper armour so ineffective?

Most Rebellion characters can take a hit, or even several hits, without any armour but still get up and run, shoot back or make

speeches (battles are usually stopped to allow time for this sort of thing).


#64 Is it safe to let Marketing watch Star Wars?

Answer: NO IT ISN'T. It's just too easy to get Hollywood and reality muddled when it comes to overcoming insuperable odds (every time), .e.g.:

'How will we take the shield generator down? There's 50 layers of automated lethal security and 10,000 stormtroopers.'

'I don't know, we'll have to find a way when we get there.'

Luckily for Holywood plots, the Dark Side's defences have usually been designed by a 6-year old with great big buttons to press, no intruder alarms and as for the stormtroopers they just run past in droves until they get shot (see above).


Thinkbot wishes anyone still watching a Happy Christmas and a Prosperous New Year!










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