25 November 2009

Lug Plan

Lugs are the big, flat, plastic bins that most bakeries use to deliver bread.  They are great for cooling the loaves and once they are emptied they compact together making for a great space saving tool.  They come in a variety of shapes, sizes and most importantly... colors.  Amy's Bread has three retail locations and each location is assigned a different color lug.  When the delivery drivers arrive to pick up the bread, they instantly know which stack goes to which store.  So, Thanksgiving rolls around and there is a lug shortage because there is simply too much bread to load into the every day quantity of lugs kept on hand.  This is where the Lug Plan comes into play.

The Lug Plan is infamous among management at Amy's Bread.  The buzz surrounding it starts months before the big day.  Basically, the plan states how many of which color lugs go to which store location and how many of which color lugs come back from each location in order to go out a second time. The first year I experienced said plan, it was made using an excel spreadsheet and it was little more than words and numbers.  At that time, there were only red, blue and the big, ugly, light blue lugs that only came out of storage for the holidays because they didn't fit into the other lugs.

During my last Thanksgiving at Amy's Bread, green lugs were added to the mix. [If I remember correctly, this was an ordering mistake.  No one actually planned on having a 3rd color]  There were 23 red lugs, 37 blue lugs, 12 ugly, light blue lugs and 15 green lugs.  I know this because I had to count them every year in order to help assemble the Lug Plan. The addition of the green lugs took the lug plan to a whole new level.  It went from basic spreadsheet to power point presentation.  The improved plan included arrows, colors, highlights, moving images, destination time stamps, dancing ladies and rocket ships.  It took weeks to create and quite some time was spent training a prodege to take over the next year's plan planning.  When all was said and done, the Lug Plan sat on my desk and all anyone needed to know was how many of which color lugs go to which store location and how many of which color lugs come back from each location in order to go out a second time.

This year at the Patisserie, I am happy to have a very small stack of light blue lugs that were rescued from behind a grocery store.  They are much more content now that they are cradling my yummy, organic, crusty bread than a yucky loaf of squishy Wonder Bread.

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