Lately I have been thinking about "Waves" as a metaphor. I can thank the catalyst for the idea from my daughter who wanted to make her school science project "What makes waves?" She was thinking it was boats make waves as they go by our house and go faster than they should for a no wake zone that many ignore. But, I also explained that there are many more waves created by the wind, creating wind waves.
They usually result from the wind blowing over a vast enough stretch of fluid surface. Some waves in the oceans can travel thousands of miles before reaching land. Wind waves range in size from small ripples to huge rogue waves.
She got it when I shot this video from our house.
This got me thinking about methods that could use waves. I implemented a big wave-picking system in Apple Computer Distribution when Apple hired me for my distribution logistics expertise, increasing productivity over 100%. The same ideas are being used finally in IT buying racks and containers of equipment, looking efficiencies in a wave-picking method.
Wave Picking is an application of a Short Interval Scheduling, to assign the workload into a intervals (waves) to allow management to coordinate the several parallel and sequential activities to complete the work. The Wave data includes the workload by order or function (case picking, repack picking, pallet movement, pick position replenishment, packing, etc.) providing management the information to calculate staff requirements and assign staff by function, with the expectation that the work in each function, within each wave, can be started and be completed at about the same time. There are two basic planning elements and benefits of Wave Picking.
- To organize the sequence of orders and assignment to waves, consistent with routing, loading and planned departure times of shipping vehicles or production requirements, etc, to reduce the space required for shipping dock handling to assemble orders and load; and
- To assign staff to each wave and function within a wave, with the expectation that all the work assigned to each wave will be completed within the wave period, providing management with the ability to monitor and manage performance throughout the day, and respond in a timely way to problems that occur, and more effectively utilize the staffing throughout the shift.
Another way to think about waves is being a surfer. Seth Godin just posted on "Surfing is the new career" and uses the wave metaphor as well.
Surfing is the new career
Three months ago I wrote about farming and hunting. It seems, though, that the growth industry of our generation is surfing.
Talk to surfers and they'll explain that the entire sport comes down to the hunt for that blissful moment that combines three unstable elements in combination: the wave is just a little too big to handle, the board is going just a little too fast, and the ride could end at any moment.
And explains how some are making their careers using a Surfing method.
We see successful musicians and writers do this all the time. Now, though, it's not unusual to watch someone surf in their development of shareware, or in the videos they post online or risks they take in their personal blog.
So many of the conversations I have every day could easily be replaced with, "so, where's the next wave? Tell me about your last one..."
This is actually a pretty good description of the method I use to figure out where there are Green Data Center waves. Checking out different areas, people who are doing great work, learning from others mistakes. Keep on moving and practicing.
Thanks to my daughter I think about waves more. Also, here is her video, since I already posted about her brother as inspiration, and she would be mad if she read my blog and I didn't say how she is an inspiration too. :-)