Friday, September 09, 2005

And Just Where Do You Think "RED TAPE" Comes From?

Neal Boortz was on a few minutes ago extolling WalMart's ability to act faster than FEMA and I thought I'd next here some insightful analysis from him about how it is probably the most highly developed logistical system in the world, which has hundreds, if not thousands of outlets in any given state of the US. WalMart is the biggest dog driving Information Technology, too. You know why? If you want to play in their arena as a vendor, you have to do it their way. Their way is huge, so huge, because of the vast product network infrastructure, that they have to have something that effective to make it happen, and they do. The skillful use of IT has kept costs down, and delivery track records amazing. I'd say they could react so quickly because they have the "bases" and the established routes and cargo capacity doing the same thing pretty much every single day, and in most cases, it's just routine for them to do the 24/7/365 thing like it's no big deal. They are practiced. Good for WalMart. Home Depot and Lowes have similar capabilities, and I know from first person reports after the hurricanes last year, Home Depot flexed their system hard to make sure they were on time and on target, including have trucks stacked up in southern GA, just waiting for the storm to pass and the FL Troopers to give them the the go ahead to move south. Neal Boortz incorrectly proclaimed that WalMart did such a wonderful job, because it's a privately held company (there is some truth to this part) and because "THEY HAD NO RED TAPE!" You know, I can hove no red tape, but if I have no trucks, radios, computerized stocking systems and distribution networks, I couldn't hold a candle to WlMart, nor the governmental agencies. Why? because it really has little to do with "Red Tape" anyhow. What is "Red Tape?" To you who have not had the pleasure of serving within a government agency, it's all those forms we have to fill out, and then the forms and reports we had to fill out. The many signatures required establish what defines "Red Tape." All of those forms are the end result of procedures, which came to life as a result of something, more often than not, bad, occuring. In the case of the military, reports and forms and procedures are the reactionary result of accidents, or systemic shame. In the case of the non-military portion of the govenrment, I'd suspect many of those forms, reports and signatures are a result of the government getting ripped off, or systemic shame. Systemic shame in this context, is when some official does something from highly suspect, to plain old criminal. The forms, reports and procedures you love to hate, define the "Red Tape" term. Here's the real bottom line: They get there, to get in your way, directly, or indirectly, so you, the taxpayer, can have detailed oversight of where the money went and who approved or disapproved some action that now is putting a burr under your saddle. While it's not directly your fault, it is your fault, as you expect (not unrealistically, I'll concede) government officials to produce the trail of paper that got you/them/us to where you got unhappy. What's so wrong about that? After all, you hand over your tax dollars to the government and you expect it to be properly expended. In the process, procedures and policies and forms and reports are put in place so your questions can be answered. Do you think trhe Walton family will ever open their financials for your purusal? Yep, you got it right, fat chance.... Last year, after the four hurricanes crossed through Florida, it was discovered FEMA aid was paid to residents of Miami, where there was essentially no storm damage whatsoever. The "Red Tape" that seems so undesirable this moment as people try to help in Mississipp, Alabama and Louisiana will provide the path to nail the people employed by the government who were parties to the fraudulent claims, and also indentify the recipients for the monies. That's a good thing, right? So, give a rousing three cheers for "Red Tape," for it is the mechanism by which you can see what your government does to you, or not for you, and you can then make more intelligent decisions when you walk through life and what ever local, state and federal elections come next. The forms, reports, and most importantly, the signatures are yours for the asking through various levels of the Freedom of Information Act. Update 09/13/2005: I found this today regarding WalMart's data operation...simply amazing! Thanks to Mudville Gazette for the Open Post!

No comments: