Sunday, May 27, 2007

Just In Time

Just in time management: One of the concepts I learned in the Friend's University Dregee Completion Program by which I earned my Bachelors in Human Resource Management about 10 years ago.

That means waiting until I'm out of hay to order the next bale, waiting until I'm out of grain to call the feed mill, waiting until the night before market to gather needed items.

But then the hay supplier has sold my reserved hay "out from under me"; it's pouring rain and the feed truck can't get into the barnyard without making horrendous ruts; I forget to throw a new container of recycled plastic grocery sacks into the truck for market.

I have learned that conventional "JIT" is a recipe for disaster on the farm. With living things depending on the outcome for their daily food and health care, I have a responsibility to have the necessities in reserve. Failure to do so can be the difference between crisis and routine. For example, in previous seasons I've always hoped that I wouldn't need to raise any orphan lambs. Therefore I haven't bought lamb milk replacer until I had an orphan. And that was, too often, a few hours after the feed store closed for the weekend. So then I would call around to shepherding friends to see where I could borrow some, and end up driving miles to pick up a few days' supply. Stressful for everyone.

This year I purchased a bag right at the beginning, so that I'd have it on hand. So far, I haven't needed it (though newest lambs are less than a month old). But if I do, it's there.

But when I think about the phrase "Just in time management", I can see it in a new way. The first analysis is, WHAT KIND of time? There is the clock/calendar time that the phrase assumes. But there is another kind of time, God's time, the time of being in the present...of being just (only) in (present) time (here and now). This is the realm where God is present in my life, guiding me in accord with His will, not mine.

Amazing things unfold effortlessly with this style of JIT management.

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